I would like to talk briefly about the purpose of pain and when to seek pain relief. This article is not targeted at those who already have some sort of chronic pain which has been resistant to all forms of treatment. I will leave that to the pain specialists. However, I would like to speak to people who might unknowingly be heading down the path of chronic pain.

TV commercials

There is a TV commercial here in the US that shows people doing all kinds of acrobatic moves and then it says “what pain?” It makes me cringe and this is why. Pain is really not your enemy. Your body is trying to tell you something. Sometimes it just wants you to slow down or it is telling you that something is really wrong.

Take for example, you wear a new pair of shoes; you come home in the evening and your knees or ankles are swollen. Should you take a pain reliever and wear the same pair of shoes the next day or should you wear something more comfortable and let you joints heal naturally? The same question goes to an athlete who sprains or tears a muscle. Should you take a pain reliever and play the next game or should you rest that muscle and let it heal naturally?

I know this is a very touchy subject in a society where the winner takes it all and there is no room for second best but if we are to be truthful, pain relievers should only be taken to relieve discomfort on a short term while the real source of the pain should be addressed.

Personal experience

Let me share a story with you. A few years ago, my son had three of his wisdom teeth removed. The dental surgeon said he would be giving us a prescription for Oxycodone with acetaminophen for the expected pain after the surgery. As a pharmacist, I knew the problems of oxycodone addiction and I told him that my son would just be taking ‘over the counter’ acetaminophen.

The surgeon then insisted that we should at least take a prescription for acetaminophen with codeine just in case the pain is unbearable. Codeine is also addictive but less addictive than oxycodone. I reluctantly accepted the prescription but did not take it to the pharmacy.

After the surgery, I took my son home and allowed him to sleep off the anesthesia (he was still groggy). When he woke up, I gave him 2 tablets of 500mg ‘over the counter’ acetaminophen and another 2 tablets 6 hours later. I made sure he did the warm salt water mouth rinse as directed by the surgeon and by the next day he was fine with no ill effects.

Pain Killer addiction

A recent health news headline said most teenagers who get addicted to opioid pain killers do so after they have their wisdom teeth removed. I wonder how many of them were pressured into taking an opioid pain killer when they could have just taken an ‘over the counter’ acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

So if you have had a tough day at work and you came home with headache, instead of reaching for a bottle of pain killers, why not turn of everything try to go to bed and see if it helps. Your things to do list can wait.

Talk to you soon.

  1. I love this post! I actually do have chronic pain, and I still believe that pain is not the enemy. It is just a warning sign from our bodies telling us there is a problem, or that we are on a path of healing. It might not be pleasant, but it’s all a part of the human experience to go on all of life’s ups and downs. Sometimes taking pain killers can be detrimental, because we can forget the pain exists, and then we do things to set our body’s healing backwards. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I totally agree that people today are too quick to get relief from any pain through pills and drugs that can easily become addicting. There have been many people that have become addicted to such drugs, with terrible outcomes, even death in some instances.

    A certain amount of pain is something you have to learn to deal with, as uncomfortable as that may be. Your suggestion that people seek an alternative such as resting is a good one. There are other natural remedies out there too like teas, perhaps some wet cool rags on the pain points, or maybe herbs and such that can help.

    I find it alarming that dentists are prescribing such powerful and addictive pills for kids who have their wisdom teeth pulled. I think you made the right decision with your son, and hopefully, he is doing fine once again. This is a good example for us all.

  3. Dear Olufemi,

    Thanks a lot for the informative and helpful post. I must say I found your post highly uplifting & educational and sharing from your own experience adds more value to this post.

    My father-in-law is having this problem for everything he takes pain killers. I often insist the problems and side effects the pain killers will bring but he is addicted to it and its really hard to change his mindset. Even his brother and his wife are addicted to pain killers because of him.

    I feel very bad, for everything they need tablets and visit doctors. He often says if I go and visit a doctor get an injection and tablets I will be fine or then only I will be alright. It is always good to avoid pain killers for small discomforts and minor pains. 

    After reading your post I can say pain is good actually it is helping us. Once read about CIPA (Congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis) and realized the importance of pain. If we don’t have pain it will lead to disasters. 

    You have provided helpful insights in this post and thanks for sharing!

    Much Success!

    Paul

  4. My first thought when I have pains is always to take a pain reliever. I have become very used to this that I might actually be addicted. I have no idea if I am but I am just used to doing it. I have not really thought of stopping because it has actually become a part of me. After reading this I think I am going to have to slow down. I just hope these painkillers that I have been taking do not have side effects that I am probably not aware of. I really hope they don’t. 

  5. I have been taking Depons for like 1-2 years everyday because my head was hurting. Of course i understood this was wrong and i should find something else to do. 

    Because i was eating too much and sitting all day, i thought the cause might be the excess food. 

    I also added some normal walking routine and it’s now OK. No headaches or any problems. I know always try to find other solutions and not revert back to taking depons.

    I don’t really “buy” if i see any commercial so much exaggeration is there to give you false hopes.

  6. Is it true that pain killer medication is addictive?  No one want’s to be in pain it sucks!

    And I can see why people get addicted to the stuff!  If you have pain all the time and you can take something that solves the pain, why would you put up with it.  Just take the meds!

    I hate pain and so does everyone. We all have pain sometime in our lives and putting up with it can be harmful for your mental health!

    But pain is there for a reason, it is there to guide you to better health, so just masking it is probably bad!

    Thanks for the great topic! 

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