‘They’re pain killers, so they must work. They get rid of the pain’ - Wendy.
I can understand this sentiment.
In September 2016, a programme was released on BBC One: The Doctor who gave up drugs.
Wendy was on the programme and her story starts at 13:14. She seemed bubbly, smiley. Almost happy-go-lucky.
But she had been taking pain killers for 20 years for a painful shoulder. The pain had been getting worse.
The Doctor wanted to understand if the medication was really helping.
Wendy agreed to an experiment...
He took all of her pills away (and there was a lot!) and gave her pain killers for a fortnight. The trick was that some of them were sugar pills but she didn’t know which.
Wendy tracked her pain. It was erratic and with little pattern. Bad and good days throughout the 14 days.
At the end, the Doctor revealed that she had not been taking paracetamol for 10 days and no codeine for 5 days. The pain killers were not killing anything… except perhaps her liver and kidneys...
Wendy ditched the meds for an exercise programme to strengthen her shoulder and back. In doing so saving her vital organs from nasty side-effects.
Her pain improved.
13% of us in England (5.6 million people) are taking opioid painkillers like codeine. If this case study is anything to go by, we may be better off without them.
If you are struggling with pain and finding opioids are not doing the trick, or you have taken opioids in the past and would rather avoid that path, get in touch and see how I can help you.
Thanks for reading.
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Osteopath