The Troublesome Side-Effects of Long-Term Pain Pill Use


Discussions of pain medications can stir up some strong emotions and opinions, especially with the proliferation of the current opioid epidemic. Nevertheless, it seems like the easiest solution to even the slightest hint of a headache is popping a dose of an over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller.

If pain relief isn’t quick or strong enough, it can be tempting to double or triple the recommended dosage. Unfortunately, daily and persistent use of OTCs isn’t a viable long-term solution. Although they’re not prescription painkillers, OTCs can be harmful, especially when taken over a long period.

Negative Implications of OTC Pain Pill Use

There seems to be the belief that a pill you can buy over the counter is inherently safe. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, unintentional pill overdoses represent some of the most common types of calls people make to the Poison Control Center every year.

Acetaminophen, the primary ingredient in many OTC pain medications, is the leading cause of liver failure and toxic hepatitis, inflammation of the liver. Also, extended use of OTCs can cause serious side effects, including high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart attack, stroke, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Users of prescription painkillers usually fare much worse. Addiction to opioids and other narcotics is a widespread problem in the U.S. Long-term narcotic use can even worsen your pain.

A Healthier Way to View Pain

Perhaps the most significant problem with long-term use of OTC pain pills is that they don’t really get rid of your pain. They only serve to mask the real problem or bring short-term relief.

If you have chronic pain, trying to get rid of it without understanding its source doesn’t serve you. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. While it’s ideal not to live with pain, treating any symptoms that emerge should go together with exploring the cause, not just dulling the pain.

More Holistic Approaches to Treating Your Pain

Popping an OTC pill doesn’t have to be your only solution to persistent pain. Many local natural remedies like stem cell therapies and other regenerative treatments exist. More importantly, effective pain management requires a multi-pronged approach that includes nutrition counseling, activities like stretching, and supplementation.

A professional at Blatman Health and Wellness Center can help you identify the cause of your pain. Once they do that, they’ll help you develop a comprehensive treatment plan to eliminate your pain once and for all.

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