Are Your Pain Meds INCREASING Your Pain?

Let’s forget for a second about the two major problems associated with opioid based pain killers, addiction and overdose.  The fact that those two complicating factors are present and increasing at an exponential rate as more and more people become medicated is commonplace knowledge these days.  People accept these risks because their doctors have told them that these drugs will help manage their pain, and pain is the problem today whereas addiction and overdose may be problems tomorrow.   But what if these pain meds were actually increasing your pain levels, making you more sensitive to your pain, and further increasing your dependence on them every day you take them?

                There is substantial evidence to support the fact that increased sensitivity to pain can occur from using opioids for chronic pain management.  It’s technical name is Opioid Induced Hyperalgesia(OIH), and it’s often overlooked as a complicating factor of pain management.  People may often confuse this as tolerance, and just assume that they are becoming used to the drug and need to take more to obtain the desired effect (which is extremely dangerous by the way).  The truth though, is that OIH is very different from tolerance and is actually a form of pain sensitization induced by the drug which occurs in the central nervous system.  In an article in the medical journal Pain Physician, Dr. Stanford Silverman summed it up best when he said, “pain is worsened with increased opioid dosing and is improved by reducing or eliminating the opioid.”  And regardless of the fact that there have been a large number of studies on human volunteers and reports that show increased pain sensitivity with opioid use, most people taking pain medication are not aware that OIH is even possible.

                So the question remains, if your pain meds carry with them a host of risks and may actually be causing you MORE pain, then why are you taking them?  Take a moment to consider the fact that there is an alternative, natural and drug free form of pain management therapy available to you right now; chiropractic.  Reducing pain associated with chronic conditions is what we do best, and our track record boasts tens of thousands of patients who have reduced and even eliminated their pain after their chiropractic treatment.  Call us at our Newark office today at 302-368-1300 to find out more about how we can help get rid of your pain without drugs, and without the associated risks of pain medications.


Silverman SM. Opioid induced hyperaglesia: clinical implications for the pain practicioner. Pain Physician. 2009 May-Jun;12(3):679-84.

Dr. Travis McKay

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