We all have experienced pain at some point in our lives and have used pain-relieving medications to get comfort and heal the pain sensations in the body. Experiences of pain are different for different people based on the threshold of their pain. In some cases, they are mild and will heal on their own, but in some cases, pain can be severe and will need medications to heal. Pain killers, also commonly known as pain relievers, are types of medications that are mostly used to reduce the pain in a particular area of the body and provide relief from the ongoing pain. Pain killers are some of the most common medicines that are used by people, and often as an instant relief as well.
But do you know that using pain relievers for a long time and in high doses can have a significant negative impact on your overall health and well-being? Though pain relievers help to ease the pain and discomfort that you might have faced from any injury or a health disorder, surgery, or after developing chronic conditions, it can have several negative health impacts.
Pain and pain reliever medicines:
Several types of pain-relieving medications are commonly used for easing pain and discomfort, some of which include narcotics, analgesics, and other pain medicines. There are various factors based on which one must choose pain relievers to reduce pain, such as the intensity and the severity of the pain, how chronic your pain is becoming, the level of discomfort, and so on. Some of the most commonly referred types of pain relievers that people use for reducing pain and body aches include the following:
1. Over-the-counter or OTC medications, that are usually available in medical stores and clinics and are accessible by any adult individual for immediate pain relief.
2. Prescription medicines, the ones that are prescribed by an experienced medical practitioner and are only accessible with a physician’s prescription. These medicines provide faster and more effective relief from pain and these types of medicines are also important for treating severe cases of pain, such as chronic pain (The occurrences of these kinds of side effects keep differing from one person to another).
Both these types of pain-relief medicines are used for relieving pain symptoms and they also help in easing symptoms of discomfort in the body and physical distress. But, what no one tells you about, is the side effects of these types of medicines. For instance, over-the-counter or OTC medications can have allergic side effects, and sometimes the more severe side effects include stomach upset, bruising, dizziness, and so on. These kinds of drugs that help in relieving pain can have potential side effects on the overall functioning of your body and can lead to health hazards if you do not use them cautiously.
Certain pain medications might not cause any severe side effects, but most of them are prone to cause health adversities and in such conditions, you are most likely to experience side effects of pain medicines that could be mild, limited, or severe and intolerable from taking those medications.
Common side effects of pain relief medicines:
There are various types of side effects one can experience from painkillers. Some of the most common side effects of pain relief drugs, for instance, opioid pain relief medications in most cases are:
- Digestion problems and stomach upset
Opioids are often considered one of the most powerful prescription pain medications. Opioid medications are essential in treating severe and short-term pain, especially in case of post-operative pain or pain that develops after severe traumatic injury. But there are some adverse effects of opioid medicines such as:
- Chronic use can result in mental health issues such as depression
- Risks of addiction
- High risks of substance abuse
- Gastric problems
- Risks of sexual dysfunction
Apart from opioids, there are other types of pain medicines as well, such as Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs can also result in side effects such as nausea and vomiting, along with digestion problems. Moreover, it is also stated by experts that if these pain relief medicines are not discontinued after some time, then they can lead to severe gastritis. Other pain medicines such as Acetaminophen, are also likely to cause side effects, particularly when these medicines are taken in too high doses than recommended. The usual health adversities of Acetaminophen pain relievers are disorders and malfunctioning of the liver. So, healthcare experts nowadays are becoming much more aware in case of prescribing pain relief medications to avoid these types of side effects.
It is mostly due to this reason that medical professionals have now recommended that a person who is suffering from pain symptoms must try to take the least dose of such medicines that are effective for easing the pain and discomfort in the body. Apart from that, the patient must continue the medication for the shortest time possible to evade the side effects of these pain drugs. Besides, it is also essential to understand the effects of these drugs on your health and know how it would become easier for you to manage these side effects as soon the moment they begin to appear in the body so that they are not able to do greater harm and can be treated in due time. Once you start noticing the side effects of pain drugs, consult a healthcare professional as soon as you can for faster treatment of these side effects.
Side effects of pain relief medications often vary in terms of severity they cause on the health of various people. For some, the effects can be less severe, while for others the effects can be long-term.
The less common but serious Side Effects of pain relief medications:
Some side effects of pain medicines are less common but these effects can be significantly serious. Some such types of side effects include sudden changes in vision and appetite, weakness in the muscles, lack of memory and problems related to confusion, frequent mood swings, muscle weakness, unintended loss or gain of body weight, digestion problems leading to heartburn, and many other health issues. If you start to notice any of these side effects after using pain medications, you must either stop the pain medicine or seek an expert opinion at once.
The long-term and more Severe Side Effects pain relief medications:
Different types of pain relievers can have fatal and long-term effects, the most common of which are dependency and addiction. Apart from these, other conditions may develop such as damage in some of the major organs of the body, bone loss, gastrointestinal issues and problems related to digestion, hormonal imbalances, cognitive decline, mood swings, mental health issues, breathing problems and issues in the respiratory that might develop gradually over time and the levels of severity of these diseases differ from one person to the other based on the type of pain relief medicines they are consuming and in what doses.
The other long-term side effects, especially of prescription pain relievers can be more powerful because prescription pain relievers are stronger drugs than over-the-counter drugs. Some of these side effects include:
- Dryness of mouth
- Problems with vision
- Mild to severe exhaustion
- Lack of sleep or insomnia
- Sudden mood swings
- Unwanted loss of body weight
- Urination problems.
What are the best ways to manage and minimize the side effects?
The best possible way to manage and minimize the side effects of pain medications is to seek expert opinion. Whenever you are feeling you are having pain in your body, do visit a medical practitioner to get it treated properly and follow the doses of medicines as prescribed by the physician. Even if you face any side effects of the prescribed pain drugs, do report to the healthcare professional as soon as you can for immediate treatment. Apart from these, you must maintain a healthy lifestyle, stay hydrated, do exercises regularly, get enough rest and sleep, consider complementary therapies, have a healthy and balanced diet that is rich in nutrients, and consume medications and supplements as prescribed by the doctor.
What are the ways to find the side effects of pain drugs that you are considering?
It is very important to identify the signs of any side effects or allergic reactions to drugs and you must take immediate steps to see an expert if you have the following conditions:
- Shortness of breath or breathing problems
- Rashes, redness, irritation, and itchiness of the skin
- Skin hives
- Swelling of the mouth and/or face.
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