Paracetamol: arguably the unwary most common go-to for relief against all headaches and body pains. It’s amazing how many people casually suggest paracetamol to their friends and family at the smallest complaint of pain. But did you know this seemingly harmless painkiller packs its own risks on the quiet?
First, most painkillers often just put a temporary veil on our symptoms and hardly treat the root causes of the pain which often require diagnosis and more effective treatment. Suppose one is suffering from regular joint pains which are a result of a vitamin or nutrient deficiency. While the obvious solution in such a situation would be changes to diet and lifestyle to correct the deficiency, one may be tempted to turn to painkillers which will only take away the pain for a while.
Second, frequent use of paracetamol for chronic problems, and high dosage especially, can result in a tolerance to the drug over time. With regular use of painkillers, the nervous system begins to show a desensitization to the painkiller, requiring higher dosages for relief. In the worst cases, over the long run, the use of pain killers in alleviating chronic problems can actually result in the pain getting worse or in withdrawal symptoms and addiction if one suddenly stops. Are you unconsciously building an addiction?
Thirdly, there is an established association between endocrine disruptions and the use of painkillers; extended use of painkillers can result in hormonal imbalances. In one reported study of more than 64,000 children and mothers in Denmark, researchers found that paracetamol use among mothers was associated with an increased likelihood of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. ADHD results in short attention span, hyperactivity and learning difficulties in the small percentage of children that it affects. While this finding needs to be taken with a pinch of salt because it is not solid ground to conclude that paracetamol actually causes ADHD, there’s no denying that the risk is there.
And now it gets interesting. Hormonal imbalances in many women are known to manifest themselves in headaches. And where do people turn when there’s headache? Paracetamol. To state the obvious, painkillers are being used by some to solve problems that they possibly create or at least contribute to.
So now would be a good time to ask yourself. Are you using painkillers too much? Are your painkillers killing more than just pain?