If people need anti-inflammatory medicine like Advil, using it to alleviate moderate pain is OK, Dr. Todd Cousins, a pain management associate at Geisinger Gray's Woods, says. The standards for prescribing opioids are much different, he adds. Some people think that by taking more painkillers you get more pain relief, but this is a dangerous mistake that can lead to overdosing respiratory depression, if taken with other meds or alcohol, Dr. Cousins says. “Alcohol magnifies the effects of opioids, making it much more likely to overdose.”
“There are few ‘nevers’ in medicine, but opioids are reserved for very short-term use at the lowest dose possible,” Dr. Cousins says. Back pain is not an appropriate setting for this, he adds. Whether it is due to a sports related injury, strenuous activity, constant sitting or heavy lifting, back pain is very common, and so are several natural solutions for it.
Magnesium is a muscle relaxant; it can cause relaxation of chronically stressed and contracted neck muscle by partially blocking muscle tissue receptors. You can also try sleeping with a water pillow because it allows customizable neck support. Swimming and aqua-therapy in general can be very beneficial for chronic neck pain as well.
Unless you have a sudden headache that you can describe as the “worst headache of your life,” you probably just need to drink a lot of water. The most common cause of headache is dehydration. Not having enough water in the body means that the brain tissue is losing water, causing it to shrink and pull away from the skull, eventually leading to a headache.
Opioids are avoided for such chronic pain, especially among the elderly because of significant side effects they experience, Dr. Cousins says. One non-opioid type of pain management include injection procedures for joint pain, he adds. You can relieve arthritis with some exercises and certain foods.
Rest is the best medicine, but you don’t have to completely stop what you’re doing, Dr. Cousins says. “Maybe reduce the mileage and cross-train – get on an elliptical to alleviate some of the pressure.” There are many other exercises you can do to help sore muscles recover faster.
Many over-the-counter cough medicines contain active ingredients that are psychoactive (mind-altering) at higher-than-recommended dosages and are frequently abused for this purpose, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Dextromethorphan (DXM) is the dangerous ingredient. It can produce euphoria, dissociative effects and even brain damage, but when used recreationally. Cough medicine may contain other drugs, such as expectorants and antihistamines, which are unsafe at high doses and can lead to addiction.
Most people get Tylenol. This is the generic name for Acetaminophen. It can lead to liver toxicity, even though it’s not easy – you’ll have to be taking 4mg every day for days, Dr. Cousin adds. It is one of the most commonly used drugs in the U.S. for treating pain and fever, the FDA says. From 1998 to 2003, acetaminophen was the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S., with 48 percent of acetaminophen-related cases associated with accidental overdose. It’s sold over the counter, making people think that it’s safe and they take more than one. Also, acetaminophen is present in many cough and cold medicines, which people often take together.
Before you try medication, try breaking some habits that sabotage your sleep. The immediate dangers of sleeping pills range from minor fatigue to coma, according to the Addiction Center. Common problems linked to taking sleep aids include memory loss, lightheadedness and dizziness. A study linked certain popular pill like Ambien and Restoril with a nearly five-fold increased risk of early death. Even people who took fewer than two pills a month were three times more likely to die.
Valium, often used to treat people with anxiety disorders, fits in the benzodiazepines category of drugs. It is prescribed as a tranquilizer, a sedative, a sleep aid, and an anti-seizure medication because it acts on the central nervous system to slow down excessive electrical impulses in the brain. Alcohol is often mixed with Valium, enhancing its sedative effects. According to Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, benzodiazepines like Valium were involved in over 408,000 emergency room visits in 2010, and over 27 percent of ER visits involved alcohol. Valium is also extremely dangerous when taken with other drugs. Research shows running helps with anxiety disorders, so try that before meds.
You know diet and exercise are an effective way of losing weight and staying in shape. But many people try the shortcut and take diet pills. But they can cause serious harm, according to the FDA. The agency has found hundreds of products that are marketed as dietary supplements but actually contain hidden active and unsafe or understudied ingredients that are used in medicine to treat a specific illness. Studies have shown that they may increase the risk for heart attack and stroke. Appetite suppressant phentermine is a common ingredient. It is similar to amphetamine and can cause arrhythmia, palpitations and leaky heart valves after a lengthy use.
Chantix is used to help people quit smoking. However, it can make the effects of drinking alcohol much worse, leading to aggressive behavior or amnesia. There is also a risk of seizures. The drug has also been linked to suicides. The FDA has even issued a black box warning. Serious neuropsychiatric adverse events, including, but not limited to, depression, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and completed suicide, have been reported.