Myths about painkillers

Myths about painkillers

When it comes to prescription and Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Whether you’re searching for information about how they can help you relieve pain or the possible addictive effects, separating fact from fiction can be tough.
Myth 1: The more you take, the better they work
More does not equal better. It’s true that in the short term — after a severe injury, for example — two pills may be more effective than one at relieving pain. However, over time, taking too much backfires. Research suggests that chronic use of pain medications sensitizes a portion of the nervous system and modifies the way your brain and spinal cord interpret pain signals, then one develops a tolerance to the medication over time.

Myth 2: If you take them for a valid reason, you can’t get addicted
It can’t happen to me. I’m a good citizen. I’m a normal person. I couldn’t possibly get addicted.
Thinking this way is dangerous. Even if you start taking a prescription pain medication for a legitimate reason, you run the risk of addiction. It has nothing to do with moral character and everything to do with the highly addictive nature of these drugs.

Myth 3: Everyone who takes them gets addicted
On the flipside, just because you take a prescription painkiller does not mean you will become addicted.
It depends largely on your own personal risk of addiction. That’s why Doctors have to screen for risk factors: a family history of addiction, a personal history of alcohol and drug abuse, or certain psychiatric disorders.

Not everyone gets addicted, but everyone who takes painkillers for an extended time period will experience symptoms of withdrawal if they suddenly stop. It’s a natural reaction.
Myth 4: There are no long-term consequences

Addiction is not the only risk that comes with prescription pain medications. When you take them for extended periods of time, they can also harm your body’s endocrine system and throw your hormones out of whack, affecting everything from your libido to your risk of osteoporosis.
Myth 5: You should avoid painkillers altogether

There is plenty of scary information about painkillers. However, there are certainly legitimate uses.
In addition to treating the pain from acute injuries, a very small fraction of chronic pain patients see improvements in both pain levels and function from taking pain medications — especially when other pain management techniques fail for them.

For the majority of people, though, prescription pain medications should be a short-term treatment at most.
Myth 6: Pain medication can fix your pain.
This may be the biggest myth of all. Pain medications simply mask your symptoms; they don’t treat the root cause of your pain. The focus must be on making a diagnosis and addressing the cause of the pain whenever possible to help improve your function rather than just how you feel.

Are you moving better? Are you able to get back to work? These are important questions about function. So is the question of whether you’ve been making efforts to get better. For example, have you been following doctor’s orders and doing physical therapy to recover from an injury? Have you been losing weight if you’re suffering from weight-related joint pain or back pain?
KEY FACT: On their own, Pain-killers are not therapeutic. One needs to do the other things necessary for the well-being of their health.

By:Retšelisitsoe Nkhahle

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