Painkillers and How to Live a Healthy Life Without Them
I have complied information on the world’s most common and addictive drug…painkillers. This is a serious epidemic of addiction and it is spanning our country.
The effects that these drugs have on your body are increasing (You’ve heard the long list of side effects on commercials….the list is longer than the benefits you receive from taking the medication.)
While they have such damaging effects on your mind, body and overall wellness, there are ways that you can improve your health and ease yourself off the medications in order to obtain a healthy and pain free life. Read below to find out more:
Prescription painkillers should not be a first choice for treating common ailments like back pain and arthritis, according to new federal guidelines.
Prevention is urging primary care doctors to try physical therapy and exercise as an alternative.
The new recommendations represent an effort to reverse nearly two decades of rising painkiller use, which public health officials blame for a more than four-fold increase in overdose deaths tied to the drugs.
In 2014, U.S. doctors wrote nearly 200 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers, while deaths linked to the drugs climbed to roughly 19,000 — the highest number on record.
What are Painkillers?
Painkillers are band aids to put it simply, they are a groups of drugs and medications that are intended to reduce or ease pain.
Over the counter (OTC) painkillers – medications that can be purchased by the consumer without the need of a prescription, and prescription painkillers – those that require a prescription from a medical professional for legal purchase. They can also be categorized under their chemical type.
The following are the most common chemical types of painkillers along with examples of medications belonging to each category:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): Provides fever reducing and anti-inflammatory effects. Examples include Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen.
- Opiates: Psychoactive chemicals that function by decreasing reaction to pain, perception of pain, as well as increase pain tolerance. Examples include Methadone, Oxycodone, Morphine, Codeine, and Hydrocodone.
- Combinations: There are painkillers that are used in combination to provide pain relief through multiple sites of action. Examples include Percocet and Vicodin, which are a combination of opiates and acetaminophens.
6 Side Effects of Painkillers
Constipation is the most common side effect of painkillers, affecting up to 90 percent of patients, according to one study.
It can set in almost immediately, after only a day or two of use. Complications can range from uncomfortable hemorrhoids to life-threatening bowel obstruction. That’s why most patients are advised to take stool softeners, laxatives or both.
Painkillers often causes low levels of testosterone or estrogen, the male and female sex hormones.
People may experience erectile dysfunction, reduced libido, fatigue, hot flashes, menstrual irregularities, low energy, weight gain and depression.
Hormone imbalances can lead to more serious complications, such as infertility and osteoporosis. The best resolution is to STOP TAKING PAIN MEDICATION.
It may seem ironic, but use of painkillers can actually intensify pain in some people — sometimes within minutes of taking the drug.
Weakened immune system.
Your body’s ability to fight off infection weakens immediately upon usage, even if you don’t get sick for months later.
With no tried-and-true way to boost immune function, the best way to manage this side effect is to stop taking painkillers
Studies show that about 10 percent of patients using pain medication develop some kind of depression.
How Can You Recover from Painkiller Addiction?
Increasingly, coverage of the opioid abuse epidemic includes at least a mention of alternatives to drug therapies for chronic pain.
The popular Everyday Health website recommends that physical therapy and other non-drug approaches be seriously considered as a first-line pain treatment.
Similarly, a recent edition of Neurology Now calls for health professionals to “rethink chronic pain” through multidisciplinary approaches that include exercise prescriptions.
The role of physical therapy as a bulwark against painkiller abuse was also noted by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which recently met with APTA President Sharon L. Dunn, PT, PhD, OCS, and Mandy Frohlich, APTA vice president of strategic communications and alliances.
Many recovery techniques work to restore the brain’s balance of “happiness-inducing” chemicals like dopamine — a balance that drug and alcohol abuse disrupts.
Physical activity boosts the presence of these chemicals, too. Exercising douses the brain with dopamine, so we exercise more often to release more of it. Our fitness rises, and our mood rises, too.
But in recovering addicts, there’s an added benefit. Studies show that exercise and physical activity can actually help return dopamine levels to pre-abuse heights.
The act of practicing an exercise routine — and committing to completing some physical activity every week — also keeps the mind off using drugs.
If you think these benefits sound similar to those of more traditional treatment methods, you aren’t the only one. Drug rehab centers across the country understand how physical exercise can help addicts recover.
Many treatment programs include exercise in their recovery plans for this reason.
If you are struggling with addiction, seeking treatment and help is important. Contact your local addiction hotline to get the help you may need.
Physical therapy and exercise are always a positive way to redirect your addictions and can help ease the pain you may be feeling. Contact us at 901-221-2619 to see how our specialist can help you.
Sources: addictionhope.com, apta.org, health.clevelandclinic.org