Narcotics Cause Chronic Pain: No Surprises Here…

by Chris Centeno, MD /

narcotics cause chronic pain

We are in the middle of an epidemic of deaths due to narcotics fueled by pharma. It’s become vogue again for the media to discuss this issue, since the death of Prince, but the problem has always been there. Now a new study out of my neck of the woods (University of Colorado) shows why narcotics, once taken by a patient for pain, are a self-fulfilling prophecy. Basically, the narcotics prolong the pain!

How We Got Here—The Pharma Wizard Behind the Curtain

I’ve blogged many times before about how pharma took cheap and old narcotic drugs and got fast FDA approvals by placing these powerful medications into new slow-release forms. They then hired university professors on the pharma dole to educate an entire generation of physicians that there was no reason to fear placing patients on narcotics. This then caused the proverbial narcotic-prescribing floodgates to open, with pharma raking in billions in easy profits. These new drugs were so powerful (just one dose can contain as much narcotic as 20 Percocet pills) that they were perfect to crush and snort or inject, as they were cheaper than heroin and provided just as good a high. As a result, we now have an epidemic of overdose deaths of epic proportions on our hands. As an example, approximately 20,000 Americans died in 2015 from overdoses of prescription narcotics (source:the National Institute on Drug Abuse).

The Concept That Narcotics Are a Reasonable Way to Treat Chronic Pain Is Falling Apart…

It’s amazing how much we know about how narcotics can cause central sensitization. What’s that? Patients who have been in pain a long time can develop amplified pain signals. Basically, the same amount of injury that would cause a small amount of pain in a normal person will cause much more pain in a patient who has “central sensitization.” Basically, the wiring that transmits pain signals gets screwed up, amplifying those signals. Narcotics can cause these amplified pain signals in patients in pain and in normal healthy people. In fact, babies born to mothers on narcotics also have this central sensitization problem. Even scarier is that past morphine administration cranks up later inflammation in animal models—meaning having had several doses of narcotics in the past causes more swelling when the animal is injured than it does when the animal has never before had morphine.

The New Study—Narcotics Cause More Pain

So we know that narcotics can amplify pain signals in patients with and without chronic pain. However, the new study added an even more disturbing dimension to the story behind how narcotics screw up pain signals. The researchers found that giving mice just five days of narcotics, which is common, markedly increased the duration of pain signals. Basically, mice who had their nerves injured who had narcotics took twice as long to recover as those who didn’t have narcotics. The mechanism behind this was that the narcotics put the cells in the spinal cord into overdrive, causing them to create inflammation.

The upshot? Pharma and the physicians who bought the university-manufactured story that narcotics should be routinely prescribed have likely created more than just an epidemic in overdoses. They’ve likely created an entire generation of patients whose pain is increased by the very medications that are supposed to be helping it! Only in “Pharmerica”!

Category: Latest News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 thoughts on “Narcotics Cause Chronic Pain: No Surprises Here…

  1. Sam

    Very informative – Thanks! Interesting insight into the role of narcotics in amplification of microglial cells activation and exacerbation of neuropathic pain! As Henry Ford once said: “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system (and its manifestation within pharma industrial complex, etc) , for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Sam,
      Good ole’ Henry was a smart guy!

  2. John

    It’s all well in good to condemn the use of narcotics and other pain killers, but when you are in pain, the last thing you want to hear from a doctor is I am not into that. In other words the concept of pain management is ignored because some people get hooked, but the reality is that the pain is still there. I’m sure a doctor in severe does not go without meds, so why should the door be shut on the rest of us because it the currents headline?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      John,
      Pain, and geometrically greater, pain that has been escalated by pain medication, is a horrific thing. While it is currently in the headlines, that isn’t what’s important. What’s important is it gets into the headlines so often because of the huge life altering problem it creates for trusting patients in pain, who are simply following Doctor’s orders. Thankfully, there are other solutions to pain that a reputable pain management physician can help with. http://www.regenexx.com/find-a-physician/ http://www.regenexx.com/avoid-drug-reps-office-like-plague/ http://www.regenexx.com/blog/very-scary-rise-in-narcotic-use/ http://www.regenexx.com/blog/need-another-nasty-high-doselong-acting-narcotic-like-hole-head/

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.