What to Do When Painkillers Don't Work

By Elizabeth Shimer Bowers
As first seen on EverydayHealth.com.
For managing chronic pain, opioid drugs may not be the answer. Here are ways to find relief without relying on a prescription.
Doctors prescribe more painkillers today than they ever have — writing three times as many prescriptions for opioids as they did 20 years ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Chronic pain is a significant problem affecting more than 100 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This puts doctors who treat pain in a tough spot. Opioids come with major side effects, including mental clouding, nausea, and the potential for respiratory depression, which can cause death. There is also a risk of developing a physical dependence on them.
To examine this issue, a group of panelists met in September 2014 at an NIH Pathways to Prevention workshop. They found that most studies on opioid painkillers for chronic pain were too short — some less than six weeks — and that there was evidence of increased risk for overdose and abuse. Continue reading>>

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