Pain is an all-too-common part of the human experience, from the moment we are born we experience pain to various degrees, and in different frequencies. One could imagine, since we have been around for a while, that we have found ways to help relieve or dull the sensation of pain or eliminate it completely. In the age of modern medicine have we a few differenttypes of painkillers available.
How many you may ask? There are roughly eight types of painkillers which are commonly prescribed or administered and depending on the situation these medications are administered for mild pain, acute pain, or chronic pain. These medications are powerful and should be used responsibly even though you have likely had an encounter with a few of them in your lifetime.
First off, we have nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory’s. These medications work by reducing inflammation and pain in affected areas, working for targeted pain relief. Another common variety of pain relief medication are opioids, these essentially work by altering the chemicals your brain receives to interpret pain. A medication that works similarly to this is muscle relaxants, which work by targeting muscle groups and nerve endings, dulling the message sent to the brain by these nerves.
Acetaminophen is not what you would describe under typical types of painkillers, although it does increase your tolerance for pain greatly. However, it has no anti-inflammatory properties, so it should not be your first choice for bumps or bruises. A much stronger painkiller group of painkillers are corticosteroids which can be injected into muscle groups, or into bone to relieve pain caused by conditions like arthritis.
Lastly, we have medications such as anticonvulsant, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety drugs. These medications alter your neurochemistry, often affecting the way your brain perceives pain rather than relieving pain from the affected area. They are often used for neurological or behavioural abnormalities like (as their names suggest) seizures, anxiety, and depression.
How do painkillers work?
Well, depending on the medication and the application different types of painkillers work in different ways. There are various types of pain, which can affect different parts and are interpreted in different ways by our bodies.
Pain medications like anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants work by affecting the way your brain perceives pain, and they are typically not used for physical injuries. On the other hand, we have medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory’s, opioids and muscle relaxants that provide pain relief directly to affected areas like large muscle groups and smaller joints.
Corticosteroids are what we would consider strong painkillers, these medications are used to treat individuals in a great deal of pain. They are administered intravenously directly to the muscle or bone mass being affected and work rather quickly to provide targeted pain relief for those affected.
Are there natural pain relief medications?
If you are not too keen on the aforementionedtypes of painkillers, you are in luck. There are various natural and herbal pain relief medications you can buy in store or over the counter at your local pharmacy.
The great part about these medications is that none of them requires a prescription and they work adequately in relieving mind pain. Therefore, if you are in need you can pretty much grab any of these off the shelf at your local wellness centre or pharmacy.
Before the advent of modern medicine, our ancestors were forced to find far more accessible ways to dull the pain of injuries and stresses on the body. One of the more common examples of this can be found in the lavender plant. It can used in many forms, including essential oils which have been found to decrease pain associated with migraines and headaches.
Rosemary and Eucalyptus are more examples of naturally occurring painkillers, which can be refined and applied directly to the affected area. They have also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be distilled into the form of essential oils for your convenience.
Do pain relief medications have side effects?
This is a bit of a tricky question. The side effects of painkillers can range considerably depending on the individual. This does not mean that there are not common side effects to commonly prescribed painkillers. However, even these are infrequent and can be linked to extended use or adverse unanticipated reactions.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory’s (NSAID’s) for example have been recorded to cause stomach ulcers if used for prolonged periods of time, this being said extended use has also been documented to cause trouble breathing and/or heart problems. It is safe to say that this medication should not be used other than directed and only for the prescribed period time.
Opioids are far less likely to have any of these side effects. In fact, one of the most common side effects of long-term use of these medications are dizzy spells or feeling lethargic once they have metabolised. This is to be expected in a medication designed to relax your body. The only other more frequent side effect is possible constipation from long-term use, due to the way the medication interacts with your system.
Acetaminophens are not what you would call conventional or strong painkillers, they just alter the way in which you brain interprets the sensation of pain which relieves one of the stress and physical symptoms. These types of painkillers come with virtually no side effects, but if they have been prescribed to you should not consume them with alcohol. Extended use and mixing these medications with alcohol in your system can affect your liver.
Should I buy pain medication?
Well, this is entirely up to you, but is dictated by the severity of the pain and what alternatives have already failed. Some cases and circumstances make medication mandatory for immediate relief. Studies show people take pain medication for various reasons, whether it be forchronic pain, minor, headaches, surgical procedures, lifestyle illnesses or even neurological disorders.
The purpose of pain medication is and always has been to grant us a moment of reprieve from conditions that would affect our ability to function effectively in our personal and professional lives.