Let’s face it: pain is an inevitable human experience. At some point in life, even some of the otherwise healthy individuals experience pain, from body ache to scraped knees and migraines. Almost every day, we suffer from pain and ways to alleviate it. But our understanding about pain in this day and age is substantially different from how it was appreciated 200 or so years ago.
Back in the 18th century or even earlier, a number of people thought of pain as a message from nature that could cleanse their soul and allow them to be free from the chains of their sin. In fact, pain was seen as part of God’s will, which resulted in many people putting up with it and praying for relief.
Today, thankfully, our relationship, or comprehension, of pain is not as archaic. Over the last century, humankind have engaged in the relentless quest of pain elimination through the swiftest and most effective way possible; this is where medicines and painkillers come into play.
What is pain?
Like tasting, smelling and hearing, pain is a type of perception. Nevertheless, those senses inform you what is happening in the outside world, but pain tells you what is going on within your own body. Imagine that you have a toothache. Nerve cells around the teeth receive the signal that something is off the mark. The nerve network transmits this message to the spinal cord. From there, it shoots up to the brain. The brain then decodes the message and records the feeling of discomfort.
Occasionally these messages can be domineering and doctors use pain relievers to help those in need. Painkillers work with different biological systems; some of them stop swelling in the tissues while others inhibit the pain center in the brain and raise the pain threshold of the body. Depending on these mechanisms, painkillers are commonly divided in two categories: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines and weak or strong relievers.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines are primarily recommended in low doses to treat a gamut of conditions such as relieving pain, containing swelling, and reducing a fever. This group has existed for thousands of years; Hippocrates, the Greek physician, claimed that willow leaves and bark relieved pain and fever. It transpired that salicylate, a precursor to modern-day aspirin, was at play. Other known painkillers in this group include ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen.
Some of the most common painkillers include No-Spa tablet, Nuberol Forte, Danzen DS, Tonoflex-P, Nuberol, No-Spa Forte, Aspirin, and more. Per a 2006 study, four out of five Americans with heart disease use aspirin to control their condition. Furthermore, present research into these drugs is examining the likelihood that they can prevent breast cancer in older women.
The side effects linked with taking high amounts of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often mild and rare, including nausea, bloating, gas, and slight itching.
Nevertheless, abuse of NSAIDs — exceeding the maximum amount on a continuing basis — has been associated with more serious problems, such as ulcers and internal bleeding.
The reason? When opioids stop producing prostaglandins, they also reduce the protection that prostaglandins offer the stomach lining. In high doses, the drugs also can cause kidney damage.
Be aware that over-the-counter painkillers are for rare use and not for daily medicine. If you regularly use the maximum dosage of painkillers and do not feel relieved after a few days, it’s better to consult with your doctor.