LEWISBURG (WVDN) – Popular over-the-counter pain relief medicines, anti-inflammatories and steroids can offer short-term relief, but may leave users with long-term chronic pain or conditions.
A new study from McGill University found inflammation to be a crucial part of healing due to neutrophils, a white blood cell that helps fight infection and set the stage for tissue repair. When these neutrophils were blocked in mice with anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids, they experienced prolonged pain up to ten times the normal duration. The study determined interfering with neutrophils could lead to dangerous results including a higher chance of developing chronic pain.
“Inflammation is a normal part of healing but when that inflammation is blocked, healing is disrupted,” says Lori Gledhill, M.D. with Greenbrier Valley Primary Care. “The healing process is complex and it’s important to consider how best to get relief without causing longer-term impact.”
Depending on the type of pain you are experiencing, there are a number of low-risk options for relief that do not require medication. These include topical ointments, exercise therapy, acupuncture, massage, heat and cooling. A heating pad or warm bath can relax and loosen tense muscles and increase blood flow to an injury. An ice pack can be used to bring down swelling because it causes blood vessels to constrict.
“Consult with your physician before starting any pain medicines to determine what treatment is best for you,” says Gledhill.
To learn more about the risks and benefits of pain medicine or to find a physician, visit gvmedicalgroup.com or call 304-645-3207.