Tuesday 13 February 2018

The Potential Rebound Effect Of Painkillers

I have a small discussion to have about some of the negative effects of pain-management drugs. Before I begin, however, let me set the record clear: Painkillers, including opioids, have a necessary and vital role in our society and healthcare heavily relies on them in numerous circumstances. I'm not allowing this to go down one of those anti-pharmaceutical, all-natural arguments made by fanatics who buy detox cleanses and don't vaccinate their children.

I banged my head against my keyboard just from Googling this image.

However, I was reading some interesting points made concerning the opioid crisis. As it turns out, chronic use of the medications may actually work to prime the nervous system and increase pain sensitivity! Obviously, this begins a problematic cycle of continued use due to heightened pain levels which are now going to be more resistant to further treatment.

This isn't necessarily a phenomenon exclusive to opioids, either. Acetaminophen has shown to have a similar rebound effect when it comes to headaches.

This creates important considerations when it comes to long-term recovery from pain, whether it's the severe pain following a spinal surgery or the headaches resulting from stress and neck tension. We need to recall the responses that the body will have to these pharmaceutical pain-management methods and be mindful when transitioning away from one management technique into the more conservative methods that I, as a therapist, employ.

In short, we can't always expect a cold-turkey cessation of pharmaceutical use. At the same time, that  use requires an off-ramp.

Disclaimer: Athletic Therapists do not provide prescriptions nor instructions regarding the use of any medication. Addressing these issues is done with the advice of medical doctors with the therapist providing the guidance for the rehab process.


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