According to an article in Good Health in the Daily Mail some painkillers could make chronic pain even worse. Experts have said for a number of years that drugs don’t often work for chronic pain and can even make it worse. They have also said that opioid painkillers such as codeine, co-codamol, dihydrocodeine, tramadol and fentanyl can become addictive.
I have been on tramadol for years and my pain consultant wanted me to try and get off them so that we could try something else. The withdrawal wasn’t very nice especially the shakes but what shocked me most was that the pain did NOT increase as I came off them.
Opioid painkillers are derived from the opium poppy and they work on the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. They trigger chemical changes within nerve cells so they fire pain signals less often which then reduces the perception of pain. The downside is that as well as relieving pain, they can create a feeling of euphoria and this is why they can become addictive.
They are now saying that they may also make the pain seem worse – a problem known as opioid-induced hyperalgesia. Apparently it’s lack of alternative drugs that is the problem but pain clinics seem to be more aware of other types of drugs to try for pain.
When I had my lumber injections a couple of weeks ago and because I have managed to get my tramadol down from 400mg – 200mg my pain consultant now wants me to try and and get down to 50mg in order to try a nerve drug he thinks will help my pain more than tramadol does. I have always been keen to try an alternative and will diary how I get on over the next few months to write a post on it here.