Why Pain Medications Don’t Work

Jenny is a generally healthy, active woman in her mid-50’s with two teenage kids. One day while on her morning jog, Jenny felt a pop in her knee. It didn’t hurt, but it also didn’t feel right. While getting her kids ready for school, they noticed she was limping, which was very unusual for their upbeat mom. Before heading out the door, Jenny popped two Ibuprofen and forgot all about it.

6 months later, Jenny wakes up for her morning run but finds she has shooting pain going up the side of her thigh to her lower back. She decides to stay in bed for the morning and asks her husband to bring her two ibuprofen. She has lunch plans with her cousin and she doesn’t want to reschedule.

When she arrives to the restaurant, Jenny’s cousin, Linda, notices that her cousin, who usually walks in an upbeat sprint, was limping and moving much slower. Jenny greets her cousin and immediately jumps into conversation, but Linda is concerned and skips pleasantries. Jenny tells about her painful morning in bed and shares that she “doesn’t know what she could have done”. Linda pulls out her phone and shares a website with Jenny as she shares about the treatment she received for her feet which had gone numb 6 months ago. Linda was wearing sandals and her toes looked freshly pedicured. Not wanting to take the ibuprofen in her purse, Jenny dialed the number and made an appointment with the friendly staff at Whole Body Healthcare.

Why Don’t Pain Medications Work? Over the counter and prescription medications are meant to cover up the symptoms, not fix the problem. With enough medication, many people get used to living with their pain. You may be asking, how does someone, “get used to” their pain?

Here is a good analogy: Your kitchen is on fire. It starts as a small fire and no one else can see it. As long as you “cover it up” no one else will know. Eventually, the fire spreads and your neighbor sees it. They start knocking on the door to notify you, but you ignore them, because “you’ve got it under control”. The neighbor begins to panic as the fire grows, so he pounds harder on the door or may even throw something through the window to get your attention.

This is how pain works, by not fixing the problem, the pain gets worse, like the fire. And although it may be “contained” like the window, other areas of your body, seemingly not related, start to suffer.

We want to get to the root cause of the problem and fix it. This is way more ideal instead of covering it up. Many people believe that taking pain medication will “take care of it” and eventually they “get used to the pain”. Pain medications are designed to decrease messages to the brain so you don’t feel pain as strongly or possibly not at all, but it will not cure you.

The pills will fix my problem, is a misconception because the pain is still there. We have found that patients have to take more and more medication or up their dosage because their body has adapted to what they have been taking. Pain is a signal. It is your body saying something is wrong. And if you don’t fix the actual problem, the pain gets worse.

If you are struggling with pain please contact us today at (443) 446-5243.

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