According to McGill University and colleagues in Italy, using anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids to relieve pain might increase the chances of developing chronic pain. Unlike medication therapies, normal recovery from a painful injury involves inflammation, and blocking that inflammation with these medicines may lead to harder-to-treat pain.
The practice to treat pain with anti-inflammatory medications has evolved for decades. However, we found that a short-term solution might lead to longer-term problems, according to Jeffrey Mogil, a professor at the Department of Psychology at McGill University and the Chair of Pain Studies.
The difference between people who are becoming better and non-existent
In a research published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers investigated both humans and mice''s pain mechanisms. They discovered that neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that helps the body battle infection, play a key role in healing pain.
We observed significant changes in genes in people who were suffering from lower back pain over time. Changes in blood cells and their activity seemed to be the most important factor, particularly in neutrophils, according to the Professor of Medicine and Canada''s Excellence Research Chair in Human Pain Genetics.
Inflammation plays a crucial role in resolving pain.
Neutrophils are dominant in the early stages of inflammation and are paving the way for tissue damage. Inflammation is believed to be dangerous to interfere with it, according to Professor Mogil, who is also a member of the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain.
The pain was reduced by ten times the normal duration by experimentally blocking neutrophils in mice. Anti-inflammatory medicines and steroids such as dexamethasone and diclofenac also produced the same result, although they were effective early on.
Those findings are supported by a separate analysis of 500,000 people in the United Kingdom that showed that those who were taking anti-inflammatory medication to treat their pain were more likely to suffer pain two to ten years later, an effect that was unknown in those who were taking acetaminophen or anti-depressants.
Considering a standard medical treatment of acute pain
A study suggests that it might be time to examine the way we treat acute pain. Fortunately, pain may be transmitted in other ways that do not involve being infected with inflammation, according to Massimo Allegri, a physician at the Monza Hospital in Italy and the Ensemble Hospitalier de la Cote in Switzerland.
According to Professor Diatchenko, pain resolution is actually an active biological process. These findings should be followed up by clinical trials directly comparing anti-inflammatory drugs to other pain killers that relieve pain and pain, but do not inhibit inflammation.