Advances in drug therapies and medical technology are both a blessing and a curse. Diagnoses are more accurate, diseases are caught earlier and treatment is more individualized than ever before. Many surgeries are now done with minimally invasive techniques and recovery times are significantly shortened. On the flip side, the use of prescription painkillers, antibiotics and over-the-counter (OTC) medications is quite high, creating issues such as drug addiction and abuse, liver damage and “superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotics.
No one wants to live with chronic or extreme pain, and today’s painkillers can make one feel well enough to function normally, providing a temporary respite. The ingredients in many prescription painkillers, however, are on the top ten list of substances that can cause addiction and lead to abuse. So even when the pain is gone, the body can continue to send messages to the brain that it still needs the drug and voilà–addiction.
Your body’s messages are continuous and important. You acknowledge messages about hunger, sleep, cravings, or that you have an itch. Pain is also a message. It’s the body telling you something isn’t right, that you need to stop doing what you’re doing, or it’s time to move because your muscles are crying out for a change in position.
Taking a pill to dull or numb the pain message doesn’t fix the root problem, it only addresses the symptom. While it’s good to feed hunger and scratch an itch, it may not be so good to silence pain with pills. The reality is, though, that pain medications are a part of many pain management plans. And, they do work. All medications come with adverse effects, though, especially with long-term use. The decision to use a specific drug therapy or OTC medications should always be made carefully and with full understanding of the risks.
If you’re living with chronic or temporary pain consider getting a second opinion when it comes to pills. Yes, they will make you feel better in the short-term but they won’t fix the problem. Letting your body heal itself through rest, changes in activity, chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture, for example, may take longer but will show you the long-term benefits of listening to all of your body’s messages.
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