We know painkillers and we sure use them a lot: to deal with a headache, backaches or other sorts of pains. It is not unusual to have a bottle or two of painkilling tablets stocked in your cupboard at home. When you complain of pain, the normal thing for anyone to tell is to go take a tablet or two of painkilling drugs. However, apart from their abilities to kill excruciating pains, many persons do not know other facts that surround painkillers. Today, I will share 9 amazing facts about painkillers that you probably have no idea about. But, first of all, do you really know what they are?
What are Painkillers, Really?
As the name implies, painkillers are drugs that kill pain. They are also referred to as analgesics and aim at creating relief from different types of pain. Analgesics act in several ways on the nerves; thus curbing your ability to feel pain. Analgesics are not to be confused with anesthetics. Anesthetics have a temporary effect and have the ability to totally eliminate sensations.
Painkillers basically come in three types. Paracetamols, Anti-inflammatory drugs, and Opioids such as morphine and oxycodone. These differ in some way in terms of the kinds of pains that they deal with. Now you know what painkillers are. Here are 9 surprising facts about them that you have probably never heard of.
Fact 1: They Are not the Best for Long-term Pains
Even though they are called painkillers, they may not just be effective in dealing with long-term pains. Painkillers work better when it comes to dealing with short-term pains that may arise from a fracture or a surgery. They may also be helpful when it comes to pains that arise from terminal illnesses like cancer. However, painkillers are quite helpless when it comes to long-term pains such as nerve pains or arthritis. In fact, medical practitioners recommend that natural pain relieving methods should be used for treating chronic pains. Persons who use pain-relieving drugs for chronic pain confess that they still suffer intermittent pain despite the taking the drugs.
Fact 2: Painkillers Don`t Work Well with Wine
If you are on a regular dosage of painkillers, the drinking wine at night may not be a good option. You need to be careful with what you combine your painkillers with especially if you regularly take opioids. Consuming your painkillers with alcohol is a deadly mistake that can spell doom for you. Usually, alcohol gives a fuzzy effect. Unfortunately, many painkillers give a similar effect too. A combination of these two leaves you more impaired and puts you at a higher risk of experiencing opioid death.
Still on alcohol, the diuretic qualities of alcohol increase your risks of getting dehydrated and may cause you to become uncomfortable or increase your body temperature.
Fact 3: Painkillers Can be Addictive
Painkiller addiction is quite common among many unsuspecting persons. Continuous use of painkillers can get you addicted so much that you become totally dependent on them. Painkillers contain addictive substances that make it uneasy for you to quit them even if the pain you use them for has subsided. There are also possibilities of overdosage as persons often ratchet their doses and take more quantity than was recommended. Men are at a greater risk of becoming addicted to painkilling drugs than women.
Fact 4: Leftover Pills Can be a Problem
Last week, I visited a doctor friend of mine. Some hours into the visit, I developed this terrible headache all of a sudden and I needed a painkilling tablet. Even though he had a bottle of analgesics at home, he refused to give me a tablet from it. According to him, I could suffer from an overdose if he let me take it. Our bodies have different tolerance levels for pain relieving tablets as influenced by a variety of factors. As such, a dosage that is ideal for one person may just be an overdose for another person.
In addition, it is not advisable for you to resume taking the leftovers of a pain-relieving drug; even if the same symptoms crop up. If you do this, you may just overdose on your own prescription.
Fact 5: What Happens to your Kidney?
Prolonged usage of pain-killing drugs can affect your kidney negatively. The liver is in charge of detoxifying your body. This means that the kidney cleanses your body system of toxic substances. Unfortunately, pain-killing drugs contain a number of toxic substances. When you take these drugs continuously, you increase the workload on your kidney and this can lead to cancer and other health-related issues.
Fact 6: Disturbing your Hormones
Painkilling drugs can affect your hormones and hormone secretions by destabilizing the balance in the body’s internal system. In particular, pain-killing drugs affect the production of sex hormones like testosterone and oxytocin. This can, in turn, disrupt women’s menstrual cycles and cause erectile dysfunctioning in men. It may also slow down your sex drive and limit sexual desire in both men and women.
Fact 7: Higher Risks of Having Constipation
This may sound like a strange one but painkillers actually make you more susceptible to constipation. Experts say that painkillers speed up the rate of dehydration in your body and this leads to constipation.
Fact 8: Painkillers can be Poisons
It’s funny how there is a thin line between drugs and poisons. Your painkiller can become a poison if you take an overdose. In addition, once your painkiller crosses the expiration line, it becomes extremely lethal and consuming it can spell doom for you. Painkillers constitute a variety of chemical substances that become poisonous once the drug crosses its expiration date.
Fact 9: Painkillers Can Actually Make the Pain Worse
Your pain-killing drug may just go South sometimes and worsen the pain that it is supposed to stop. The side effects that come with taking some painkilling drugs such as flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, and digestive disorders can worsen the condition of the patient and put such person in a more terrible state of pain.
What Alternatives Exist?
So, you want to cut back on the painkillers but you do not know what other healthier methods exist for you in terms of dealing with the pain. Well, here are a few options which you can explore. If you are suffering a chronic back pain, regular physical exercises plus physical therapy and a massage may be extremely helpful. For headaches and migraines, reducing your consumption of alcohol, cutting back on stressful activities and engaging in relaxation therapies could be extremely helpful for you. In cases of fibromyalgia, cognitive behavioral therapies plus regular exercises can help to reduce the pain and fatigue that come with the condition.
For persons suffering from arthritis, yoga is a great way to ease the pain. Also, low-impact exercises like taking a stroll or riding a bike can help to improve your locomotive functioning. It is advisable for persons suffering from the arthritic condition to avoid high-impact activities like racing or physical sports.
You can also explore other natural treatment methods like herbal treatments.
Certainly, pain is an awful condition that is almost impossible to bear. It is important that we make use of painkilling drugs under prescription. Avoid self-medication and dosage. Learn to dispose of unused pills safely; you could visit your local health care center to learn the methods for safe drugs disposal. More importantly, explore other natural methods to combat the pain.