Every man’s best friend.
If it is a headache, stomachache, or you are hurt in any other way; a painkiller can do you great.
But it can also hurt you more than help you.
I try to take painkillers only when I cannot either sleep or distract myself from the pain. When I was younger, I had an easier time just saying: it does not really matter, I will just take some medicine if it hurts a bit. Well, that was until I found out how stupid it is to take painkillers regularly if you do not really need it.
I have been looking around the internet (as you do) to see if it is only me who feels this way, or if there are really something about these painkillers. And I was happy (I think) to find out, it is not only me.
Most people know that high doses of painkillers- or medication in general – can be bad for the body. But it seems that small doses taken frequently are actually worse for the body than taking a lot over a few days (which you do if you for example got an injury that had to heal).
Prolonged use of painkillers would be if you take them more than three days in a week in the span of a few months – then it can be dangerous. If you take painkillers for a prolonged time, you might for example end up with a chronic headache – and that really goes against the actual use of this medication.
If we take these painkillers too often, our brain and pain system get used to it and can then either amplify the pain and either get chronic pain, or become immune against the medicine. This has been said in the article (I guess you can call it) “Dangerous? Here is the truth about painkillers.” This is written in Danish, but you will get it here too, in case you: 1. Can read Danish. 2. Want to translate all of it.
Now lets look at what is actually said here:
Both Rigmor Højland Jensen who is the leader of the Danish Headache Center on Glostrup Hospital, and Dorte Glintborg who is a pharmacist at the Institute of Rational Pharmacotherapy agree that it can be quite a problem if you take painkillers on a regular basis.
Rigmor thinks it is problematic if you take it often because you feel a bit of a tingle in the head or body. She is the one who stated it could be harmful if you take them more than three days in a week in a longer period of about 2-3 months (or longer).
A longer use of painkillers can increase the risk of chronic headache, increase risk of organ failure and problems with liver and brain even more than with people who take a single but high dose of painkillers. She points to a British study from the university in Edinburgh that is published in “British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology” where the researchers found that especially people with chronical pain as headache, muscle pain, rheumatic pain or stomach ache have a higher chance of getting these side effects.
She also stresses that the problem with taking painkillers too often is that your brain and pain system gets used to them and by this either amplify the pain, evolve chronic pain in the head, or become immune to the painkillers.
Dorte agrees. She understands it is necessary to take medication if the head is thumping or the back pain is unbearable. She recommends taking pills with paracetamol as these are better compared to NSAID medicine if you have chronic pain.
The usage of the NSAID medicine can apparently give stomach ulcers and blood clots while being harmful to people with reduced kidney function.
She asks people to seek a doctor if the pain has been there for more than two weeks, and stresses that even though these pills can be bought over the counter they can still harm you if they are not used in the right way.
Beside this, The Danish healthcare system also recommends only using painkillers for as short a while as possible, and as little as possible. If you use them more than 3-5 days, it should only be with the consent of your doctor.
Link to The Danish Healthcare system
I myself, have also felt this effect in action. When I took painkillers regularly, I found that they did not work quite as well, and I even experienced an increased number of headaches.
Though all people might have different tolerances for how much medication they can take – it might be a good idea to refrain from using medication if you can be without it. You of course need to take it if the doctor prescribed it (regarding chronic pain or perhaps you broke something) but be aware that you might not need to take them every single time something hurts just a little bit. That might save you headaches in the future (both literally and figuratively speaking) but can also save you money as medicine is not necessarily cheap.
I hope you learned something from this, and I would love to know if you know more about this subject as I find it quite interesting.
Remember; everything in moderation and you should be fine.
I hope you all have a happy life, one day at a time.