A question that I am asked a lot is “should I take pain medications” when someone comes in with an issue. My personal feeling is that pain is an indication that something is going on that needs attention. The allure of pain medications is that it quickly and easily reduces pain but perhaps to the point where we may end up continuing to do something that maybe we shouldn’t. An example might be low back pain. If the low back begins to be sore, often more times than other perhaps a joint is not quite moving properly or or we are sitting or moving incorrectly overstraining a muscle. If we take the pain meds, it will allow us to continue moving or sitting incorrectly or to leave a joint jammed or similar. Pain is an indication that change needs to be made and we have to be aware of that.
The times when medications are good is when pain affects our ability to go about our day or affects our sleep or has become so great that it is unmanageable. For example, the pain keeps the person up at night or they aren’t able to go out to buy some groceries or similar.
Sometimes if there is local pain because of tightness in a muscle, if you can stay at home, icing 3-4 minutes on and then 10 minutes off is an excellent way to deal with the discomfort. I suppose this blog entry is an effort to have you consider what reason you are taking the pain medications and that you don’t rely on them totally giving you the ability to be accountable and make any changes that can create long lasting effects with reduced pain, whatever it might be.
A big side effect of the NSAIDS (most common groups of drugs) is their affect on the liver and kidney. Here is some information on NSAID pain medication.