Dr Raghunath, Pain Management Specialist & Anaesthesiologist, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal
Have you ever felt like you have bad body ache or headache and the next thing you do is unwrap a pain killer from the strip? Or have you ever popped a pain killer that was advised to your friend or family member for a similar health condition? Well, you are not the first to do so! They are multiple ways of misusing medications. The major problem that a person can ever face is dealing with pain, that can be either mental or physical pain. A human realizes that they are in pain when an emotional sensory is associated with a body part damage. The pain can be caused due to innumerable reasons and this can vary from toothache to dealing with pain caused post-chemo treatments.
The common mistake most of us do when we are in pain is that we immediately try to deal with it with common painkillers like Ibrufene. But what are the side effects that it can leave on one’s body is a very important issue that most of us ignore all the time.
Since pain killers are reliving medications, most of us when in pain immediately pop one. Something a lot of people are not aware of is, they are different types of pain killers and they work as per the location and the intensity of the condition.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)
While Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to relieve pain, inflammation and fevers, opioids (more addictive than NSAID) are used to relieve chronic pains like pain caused post chemo-therapy and are not available without doctor’s prescription.
Pain, itself is a universal human experience and it is something that requires attention and properly prescribed medication, here’s why –
- The long term usage of painkillers can cause kidney failure and other serious conditions like chronic interstitial nephritis.
- Painkillers usually tend to calm the nervous system down, when used excess it can weaken one’s central nervous system causing neural damage.
- It can cause cardiovascular diseases like heart-strokes and other severe heart diseases.
- It reduces the ability to fight against infections, in other words, pain killers weaken one’s immunity system to fight against foreign bacteria/viruses
- Pain killers can also harm a person’s internal lining of the stomach. It can cause minor issues like stomach pain to major conditions like ulcers, gastritis and stomach bleeding/gastrointestinal bleeding due to perforations
- When taken in high doses, pain killers tend to affect the liver directly by causing repetitive medical conditions such as nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, sweating and diarrhoea.
- Constipation and indigestion are among the common side effects of using un-prescribed painkillers
- Excess usage of pain killers can cause anaemia, a condition where blood is unable to carry oxygen around the body
- Hypertension, allergies are minor side reactions in a body.
When a painkiller/reliever is consumed it interferes with pain messages sent to the brain via nerve endings, which affects the brain, spinal cord or injured areas. Since they directly act on the nervous system of the body, an un-prescribed/excess dose of mecication can cause deadly effects on the body as described above.
While baring with the pain for few can be quite a difficult task. Pain killers do relieve minor pains like headaches, body pains, common flu, period cramps etc. But if you are prone to frequent illness do consult a doctor. Because pain killers are safe only when consumed within healthy parameters and when prescribed by a physician.