Can Pain Medication Cause Osteoarthritis?

I have always condemned the chronic use of pain medication except for extreme cases. The reason being that pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. The idea and common practice of many individuals who take pain medication in order to be able to participate in physical activity boggles my mind. The fact that commercials advertise it for this use aggravates me even more. Why? The results of a recent study for a new pain relieving drug explain it perfectly.

Tanezumab is the new experimental drug that was the focus of the study I am referring to. It is a new class of drugs that are non-narcotic, meaning they work with fewer harmful side effects that are common with narcotic pain relievers. This is a good thing. The drug has been tested for its effectiveness on several different conditions including osteoarthritis and cancer related pain. The results so far have been phenomenal. Enter the problem.

Individuals taking the drug for osteoarthritis related pain saw significant relief of their symptoms. However, as a result of no pain, many of the patients in the study became highly physically active again. Normally you might say that is a good thing. But in this instance, the patients were engaging in physical activity without the ability to perceive their body’s signals screaming at them telling them to stop. As a result, a significant number of individuals in the study had to receive total joint replacements because they completely wore their joints out. Due to this negative side effect the FDA has suspended further testing of the drug for osteoarthritis related pain.

The point I want you take away from this study is that any pain medication, prescription or OTC, that is used to mask the symptom of pain in your joints can and will lead to an increased rate of degeneration/osteoarthritis. The pain is telling you there is a problem. If your car is warning you that you are low in oil, and you continue to ignore the dashboard signal, bad things are in store for your car. The same is true for your body. Through chiropractic care you may be able to restore proper function to your joints. When your joints are functioning properly they will handle the stresses and forces applied to them evenly and equally as they were designed to. In turn they won’t hurt and they won’t degenerate at an increased rate.