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Pain-causing pain-killers 

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

I’ve been learning a lot more about pain-killing drugs lately, but mostly the kind you can get without a prescription. The opioids are another whole world of risks and benefits. I stumbled on this good summary of how pain-killers can backfire and cause pain instead of treating it, which seems like a particularly important thing to understand:

Yes, the drugs used to treat pain can also cause pain. If you have been using opioid drugs for years and the pain keeps getting worse and worse, this vicious pain cycle could be a result of opioid-induced hyperalgesia. Because the opioids turn your natural pain relieving system off, your body is left without enough chemicals in the system as the drug wears off every four to six hours. This cycle causes a frequent roller coaster of up’s and down’s that sensitizes the nervous system to the point that you feel more pain. Not only do you feel more pain, you feel anxious, restless and have trouble sleeping. If this sounds familiar, then it is time to find an exit strategy off the opioid roller-coaster that you are on.

For four more pain-causing drugs, see “Top 5 Drugs That Can Cause Pain,” by Christina Lasich, MD.

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