The overuse of medication by people who deal with back pain
Back pain is definitely a condition that is affecting the quality of life of a person. When the back is in pain, the person suffering from it has a low mobility, discomfort, a bad moral, and even gets into a situation where he or she may accept anything that will stop the pain. This usually happens when the pain lasts for several days, testing the patience and endurance of the patient. In such cases, many people start taking strong pain medication, to make sure that the pain will go away for sure. Also, when suffering from chronic back pain, taking medication becomes a regular habit, which is not healthy at all. Every type of drug has side-effects and it is damaging for the body, especially the opiates medication used for making back pain disappear.
The pain medication used for back pain
Painkillers or medication for pain are used by people throughout the country for alleviating different kinds of pain. Because back pain can be quite insistent and have a higher intensity than other types of pain, people tend to opt for stronger medication, to make sure that the pain will go away after taking the drug. Unfortunately, the number of people that take narcotic pain killers, also known as opioids, increased significantly in the past years. Patients suffering from chronic back pain are the ones that end up taking such medication, because their body develops a resistance to other, milder painkillers, and they start turning to something more potent to make the pain go away. But, the saddest part in this story is that together with the rise in the numbers of opioid users have also increased the number of deaths caused by this narcotic pain killer. People are not fully aware of the risks they are getting themselves exposed to when starting to take such medicine. This type of drugs may be found in various names on the market, an aspect we are about to talk in the following lines.
What is making more and more people to take opioids as pain medication for back problems? Is this drug so efficient in alleviating back pain, including the most severe of them? As mentioned before, opioids are narcotic pain killers, which mean that they act pretty much in the same manner as notorious drugs. In the article called “Narcotic Drugs for the Treatment of Chronic Pain: A Double Edged Sword”, written by Peter F. Ullrich, Jr., MD, a retired Orthopedic Surgeon, the action of opioids is considered to be similar with the one of heroin. The comparison was made because of the fact that opioids bind to the same brain receptor as in the case of heroin, which is the Mu receptor. After a patient takes opioids, his organism will start producing molecules that are similar to narcotics, inducing a feeling of well-being. Practically, they reduce the painful signals sent by the painful spot in our body to the brain, altering the brain’s perception over the pain. Thus, the patient starts feeling an improvement in his condition, as he no longer feels the bothering pain anymore. But, everybody should know that such effects have a limited effect, once the drug is metabolized and gets out of the system, its painkilling action will stop and the pain will return.
In the same article, written by Doctor Peter F. Ullrich, Jr., there is a mentioning about the addiction people can develop for opioids. This is one of the causes that make this medication so dangerous. Of course, the addiction is not a mandatory condition, as it is developed in time, if the patient does not respects the quantity and period of the treatment. For instance, if the treatment with opioids will exceed 4 weeks, with the drugs taken on a daily basis, the organism may start getting used to the substance’s presence. So, the person may start feeling the need to continue taking the drugs. If the person will stop taking the medication, the body will start manifesting withdrawal symptoms, which is a natural occurrence when it comes to narcotic pain killers. Also, when the body started getting used to it, it develops a tolerance, which makes the drug less efficient. When this happens, people that deal with chronic back pain will start increasing the dosage, to maintain the desired effect of the drug. Once a person exceeds the quantity of drugs prescribed by the doctor, that person will become an abuser. Also, the risks of taking an overdose increases significantly as well. This happens because many people believe that the medication is safe, since it was prescribed by a doctor, not being aware of the consequences of taking a higher dose or prolonging the treatment without talking to the doctor about it.
The damages done by opioids are greater than their benefits
Dr. Mercola states in his article, “For Back Pain or Headache, Painkillers Do More Harm Than Good”, that the use of opioids as treatment for back pain should be the last solution on the list. Unfortunately, for many people that deal with this problem, it is the first solution. Because of this and driven by their ardent desire to enjoy a pain-free life, many Americans end up being substance abusers, using opioids for treating their pain inadequately. Every year, the number of prescriptions for narcotic pain killers increased with 12.5%. This shows just how much the number of people that started using such medication increased as well. The numbers connected to the deaths caused by painkillers are grim as well, 30% of these deaths being caused by narcotic painkillers. Besides death, other risks connected to such medication are falls among the senior citizens, due to perception altering, frequent visits to the emergency room, and dependence on drugs.
What people don’t realize is that these painkillers are as dangerous and noxious to the body as heroin is. They believe that narcotic painkillers will help them, so they don’t see them as real drugs. But, to the human brain, heroin and opioids are one and the same. This means that the effects and damages done are similar. So, the question is, would you ever take heroin to treat back pain? If the answer is no, then why would you take opioid painkillers? Your brain will perceive them in the same manner, because they effects are similar.
The different names of opioids and their side-effects
Hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone, and tramadol are all opioids. They all have the same effect, even if their name is different. These opioids can be found in a number of medicine, as stated below.
Norco and Vicodin – content of hydrocodone
The most common side-effects of Norco are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness. Severe side-effects include hallucinations, confusion, agitation, and abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, seizures, difficult or slow breathing, and difficulty in waking up. The side-effects of Vicodin are the same as in the case of Norco.
Dilaudid and Exalgo – content of hydromorphone
The most common side-effects of Dilaudid are drowsiness, sweating, flushing, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and allergic reactions, like itchiness, rash, and swelling. Severe side-effects include hallucinations, abdominal pain, tiredness, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
Astramorph and Avinza – content of morphine
Besides the previously mentioned side-effect, other severe effects of Astramorph can be fainting and seizures. Also, the face, throat, and tongue can get swollen. The same side-effects are mentioned in the case of Avinza as well.
OxyContin and Percocet – content of oxycodone
The same side-effects can occur as in the case of the rest opioids.
Ryzolt and Ultram – content of tramadol
Besides the previously mentioned side-effects, Ultram can also trigger twitching of the muscles, unexplained fever, restlessness, loss of coordination, fast heartbeat, and troubled breathing, as an allergic reaction.
The facts about pain killers overdose are astonishing and well researched however the public and especially those with painful conditions often ignore obvious faces as they are willing to push the boundaries of legal pain medications. Besides the highly addictive nature of those drugs the damage to health and internal organ cannot be overstated. One would be well advised to be careful and be familiar of the dangers. The research of other pain reducing options is invaluable and can offer significant pain reduction lessening the dependence on drugs. Recently some incredible devices were invented such as the no compression belt called Zero Compression Back Brace . This patent pending device offers a hope to back pain sufferers where no hope was not previously available. Even if the result will be reduction in the dosage and reduction in frequency this back belt will be worth to have in your corner.