Is a “No Pills, No Pain” Life Really Possible?

In a world of 24-hour pharmacies, easy to obtain prescriptions and over-the-counter medicine, it’s no surprise that the vast majority of the populace have become pill poppers. This phrase may have negative connotations, but it’s nevertheless true. For example, imagine you have a headache. What do you do about it? Put up and shut up, as the saying goes, or reach for that cheap and cheerful over-the-counter box of painkillers?

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The answer, for most, is that they reach for the pills. Nowadays, there are pills for everything – there are even pills to counter-act the side effects of other pills. It’s so simple and easy; pop a couple of small tablets from a foil blister pack, wash down with water, and voila! Everything is better. Or at least, that’s what the pharmaceutical companies would have you believe Buy Pain Medicines.

However, no painkiller is without its problems. There is a tendency for people to assume that if they can buy something without prescription it is relatively safe, but this is not the case. N-SAIDS, the primary drugs used for relieving muscular pain, can cause stomach ulcers if taken too often. Pop something containing codeine if you have a headache and you could find you feel worse than you did before, and probably lightheaded and dizzy, too. No drug, no matter how safe the packaging and manufacturers make it out to be, is completely safe.

Those who have experienced the unpleasant side effects of supposedly harmless pain medication will soon begin to seek other ways of banishing everyday pain problems. This often propels people into the hands of the so-called herbal market, replacing chemical tablets with those associated with more natural remedies. Yet one has to wonder… can they ever be as effective?

One of the biggest issues regarding herbal painkillers – as well as other, non-pill methods of pain relief – is that they are never as scrutinized as their chemical pill cousins. Chemical pills manufactured by pharmaceutical companies are subjected to endless rounds of testing, both for efficacy and for side effects. Only when declared safe are they released onto the medical market. The same rigorous testing is rarely applied to herbal remedies, largely because of their natural properties – properties which, we are lead to believe, mean they are safer.

In truth, herbal remedies are less likely to cause unwarranted side effects than those of a chemical nature – hence the lesser restrictions on their sale to the general public. Yet this advantage quickly changes itself, in that the lack of testing also means a lack of clinical data to analyze. It is therefore extremely difficult to understand if these so-called herbal painkillers actually do what they’re supposed to. Without full clinical trials, one can never be sure.

So much of herbal medicine is balanced on folklore and personal experience. One person has a friend tell them ‘this’ particular herbal remedy works, and they naturally believe their friend – so they try it for themselves. They then either find themselves sorely – quite literally – disappointed, or it does work. Let’s say for a moment that the herbal remedy does indeed rid them of their pain – is it genuine, or is it a psychological response whereby something ‘works’ because they believe it will? This is known as the placebo effect, and is the main way conventional doctors dismiss the claims of herbal remedies.

Essentially, there is no way of knowing if anything aside from conventional, chemical drugs can actually rid a person of pain. Perhaps the best method is experimentation – you may find one herbal remedy works better for you than others.

However, the most effective type of pain management is to restrict what you take painkillers for. The more you take conventional painkillers, the less effective they become. If you’re popping the Advil for a mild headache, the drug is not going to be as useful when you really need it – such as when you’ve had a tooth out, or broken a bone. This kind of tolerance lends itself to increasing the chances of side effects from painkillers; the very thing that turns most people toward herbal medicine in the first instance.

The less you take a chemical painkiller, the more effective each dose will be. Try and rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being a huge accident with severe injuries that are possibly life-threatening. A five would be a bad toothache following an extraction. If the pain you are experiencing rates any lower than a five, try not to take any painkillers. The problem is, this simple and easy solution is actually nothing of the sort. The only way to ensure painkillers continue to be effective and do not have negative connotations on your health is to limit the times you take them. This, and no herbal remedy, is as close as you will probably come to a pain-free-pill-free life.

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