Just because everyone else that you know is suffering from some kind of pain doesn’t mean that you can pretend that your pain does not need medical attention. People who are experiencing pain, especially chronic pain, tend to tell themselves that it’s nothing serious and that a visit to a doctor is an overreaction. This is the common response of people who suffer from tolerable pain or pain that can be easily numbed by over-the-counter pain killers. They think that going to the doctor is absolutely uncalled for since they can make the pain go away by themselves anyway.
However, this kind of thinking lasts only until the pain starts to progress and becomes unbearable. This time, they make a mad dash to the doctor. But up until it gets to this point, people rely solely on over-the-counter pain medication to make their pain go away. At first glance, there is nothing wrong with taking over-the-counter pain killers. After all, they are sold over-the-counter because you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to buy them which means they are safe. But are they really safe?
Over-the-counter pain killers are safe only when they are taken the way they should be taken. This means that people should read their their labels first to check the maximum allowable dosage. Even more important than reading the labels is actually following what they say. In a survey, 50 percent of Americans admit to disregarding dosage instructions when it comes to pain killers, without giving much thought to consequences.
Another common indication on pain killer labels is the “no alcohol” sign. This means only one thing – that there should be no intake of alcohol as long as the medication is being used. Again, people completely ignore the warning and enjoy their alcohol. People who take over-the-counter pain killers should know that an overdose or constant use of pain killers cause liver damage. Also, many types of over-the-counter medications, when combined with alcohol, cause stomach bleeding. People in pain should take note of these consequences before taking two to three pills at a time and before grabbing a bottle of beer. Another important item on the label is the expiration date of the medication. People who are in pain sometimes rummage through drawers and cabinets and take whatever pain killer they can find without even checking if it’s not yet expired.
Taking pain management into your own hands requires you to be, at the very least, informed about the consequences and perils of misusing over-the-counter pain killers. It requires you to act responsibly by following instructions and paying close attention to all the information in the labels and literature of the medication. If you need some clarifications and asking a doctor is not an option, at least ask the pharmacist to explain it for you.
Seomul Evans is a senior Marketing Services consultant and Medical Practice Marketing expert for a leading Dallas Pain Management clinic.