Opiates, or painkillers, are go-to drugs that many doctors will prescribe when a patient feels pain from surgery or chronic back pain. Though painkillers for back pain they are very effective at temporarily relieving pain, they may actually cause more pain in the long run according to Jianren Mao, a physician and pain researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Mao has studied the phenomena called opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH) for over 20 years; “At high doses, opioid painkillers actually seem to amplify pain by changing signaling in the central nervous system, making the body generally more sensitive to painful stimuli.” Too much of the drug can change the way our central nervous system signals pain.1

Though the condition can be debilitating, OIH’s existence makes sense. As anesthesiologist Martin Angst explains; “Pain causes us to recoil from a hot stove and to stay off an injured leg while it heals.” With high doses of opioids masking pain, our bodies compensate by making our nerves more sensitive to pain, “your biology fights back and says, ‘I’m blindfolded to pain by all these chemicals. I need to be able to sense pain again.’”2

Higher sensitivity decreases the threshold at which a chronic back pain sufferer can handle pain before having to reach for the bottle to find relief. As you can imagine, this process can cause a cycle of painkiller use that can have serious consequences.

Risk of dependency

With a lower threshold for pain, the body requires increasing doses of an opiate to get the same effect. This may keep patients who need to taper off the drug dependent on it since it will be very difficult to manage pain without opiates. Any long-term use puts you at risk of addiction, even if the substance is used as prescribed.

Physical dependence and addiction are clinical concerns. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Opiate abuse has become an epidemic; “In 2014, more than 28,000 people died from an opioid overdose, and at least half of those deaths involved a prescription opioid.”3

Besides dependence, common side effects of opioid administration include:

  • Sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Respiratory Depression

With the risk of dependency and many other side effects, the key then would seem to be to target back pain at its source without painkillers so that your body can feel natural relief.

Natural Relief for Chronic Back Pain Sufferers

If you suffer from chronic back pain, ask your doctor about inversion as the alternative to painkillers or surgery. Decompression of the spine while inverting on a Teeter is a natural, relaxing form of back pain relief. It reduces pressure on the discs that can pinch nerves and cause radiating pain. Studies show that inversion can prevent the need for more extreme procedures to reduce back pain.

A published preliminary pilot study compared two groups of sciatic pain patients scheduled for lower back surgery. All patients received physical therapy while one group also used a Teeter on a regular basis for 30 days. At the completion of the study, those who used the Teeter showed a 70.5% reduction in the need for surgery!4

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Teeter – The Natural Solution to Relieve Chronic Back Pain

Inverting daily on a Teeter is one of the very few ways you can reduce back pain naturally. Inverted traction takes the pressure off the spongy discs in your spine so you can decompress – this helps reduce pressure and back pain. Our inverted decompression products are registered with the FDA. Teeter is indicated for chronic back pain and related conditions, including Sciatica.

1. http://www.iasp-pain.org/PublicationsNews/NewsletterIssue.aspx?ItemNumber=2104
2. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/11/why-painkillers-sometimes-make-pain-worse
3. Secretary, H. O., & Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA). (2016, March 24). Opioids: The Prescription Drug & Heroin Overdose Epidemic. https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/
4. Preliminary controlled study, 24 patients, various Teeter models used 3x/week for four weeks, up to six 2-minute inversions/session. “Inversion Therapy in Patients with Pure Single Level Discogenic Disease: a pilot randomized trial. Manjunath, et al. Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.”