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10 Things You Should Consider Before Taking Painkiller Drugs

10 Things You Should Consider Before Taking Painkiller Drugs

Approximately 13 percent of all Americans are currently taking prescription painkilling drugs. Additionally, millions of people take over-the-counter pain relievers on a regular basis. It is clear that painkillers have become a way of life for many people, but there are also numerous reasons why you should steer clear of this type of medication whenever possible.

1. Painkiller Drugs Can Be Addictive

Studies show that pain killers have the potential to be highly addictive. In fact, prescription painkiller abuse in the US has been tripling every decade since the early 1990s. This is a serious problem that can hinder every other aspect of your life, including your personal relationships and job performance. Therefore, before you accept an opioid-based painkiller for a chronic condition, it is wise to look into alternative options.

2. There Are Several Side Effects Associated with Painkillers

Painkillers are linked to a long list of side effects, including depression, constipation, a weakened immune system, and hormone imbalances. It is also possible to damage your liver and brain by taking painkillers for an extended period of time. In other words, even if you must take painkillers from time to time, make sure that you do not allow yourself to begin relying on them as an everyday source of pain relief. Ideally, the only people who would take prescription painkilling drugs daily would be those who are suffering from a terminal illness.

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3. Synthetic Painkillers Can be Just as Harmful

Many people equate painkillers that have been derived from the natural opium poppy with the negative aspects of this type of medication, but the synthetic versions, such as oxycodone and Vicodin, have the potential to be just as addictive and harmful. Of course, it is important to understand what synthetic drugs actually are. Synthetic drugs are chemically laced substances that may be sold with a prescription or over-the-counter.

4. Non-Synthetic Over-the-Counter Medications May be Good Enough

No one wants to deal with chronic pain, but you also need to consider your overall quality of life. Over-the-counter painkillers can cause complications if they are used daily, but the majority of them are safer than their prescription counterparts. If possible, utilize over-the-counter medication in place of powerful painkilling drugs such as morphine. This may extend your life, and it can help keep you from developing concentration problems.

5. Alternative Treatments Are Helpful for Pain Management

Before you agree to take oxycodone three times a day for pain management, make sure that you investigate your alternative options. A prime example of an alternative treatment for pain is massage therapy. In fact, numerous massage therapy studies have highlighted this option’s potential for treating and managing pain, along with several other symptoms that are associated with medical conditions such as cancer and fibromyalgia.

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6. You Could Die from Taking Prescription Painkillers

Painkillers may help you feel better temporarily, but they come with a high risk factor. Shockingly, 45 Americans die from painkillers every single day, and another 30 are hospitalized due to an overdose. The reality is that it is all too easy to end up taking a larger dose than required, and this could quickly lead to serious medical complications or even death.

7. Painkilling Drugs Are Not Actually Very Effective Against Long-Term Pain

If you have a broken bone or are battling a terminal illness, you will most likely experience a high enough level of relief from painkillers to take them as prescribed. Interestingly, research has concluded that opioid pain pills are not very effective for long-term, chronic conditions, including arthritis, nerve pain, and lower-back pain. For these problems, it is better to use alternative, non-drug treatments and other types of medication.

8. Alcohol is Off Limits with Painkillers

It is important not to mix most prescription medication with alcohol, but this is especially vital if you are taking painkilling drugs. This even applies to a daily glass of wine, which can actually provide you with some much-needed benefits. Combining alcohol with painkillers can have a negative effect on your central nervous system, and this may lead to depressed breathing and a fuzzy-headed sensation.

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9. Extended-Release Painkillers Are Not Safer

A prevalent myth about painkillers is that extended-release capsules are less harmful and not as easy to get addicted to. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to back up these claims. Instead, you should ask your physician to start you with a short-acting opioid if prescription pain pills are a necessity. This will enable you to treat the pain without putting a more concentrated dose in your body.

10. Painkillers Do Not Resolve Your Pain

The only thing that painkilling drugs do is mask your pain. In other words, if you do not take steps to have the root cause found and fixed, you could end up needing pain pills forever to hide the symptoms of the real problem. This is another reason that many people turn to massage therapy, because it provides pain relief and can address any muscular root causes.

Ultimately, prescription painkillers should only be taken when they are absolutely necessary. When possible, it is best to turn to natural methods for managing pain, including foods and spices that have proven anti-inflammatory properties. By following this approach, you can avoid numerous complications and safeguard yourself from the potentially devastating consequences of developing a drug addiction or suffering from an overdose. Be sure to discuss your concerns with your physician, and do not be afraid to request an alternative treatment plan.

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Featured photo credit: By Tibor Kádek (Kandy Talbot) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons via commons.wikimedia.org

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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