Long Life and Health
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Taking Pain Pills May Shorten Your Life

People experience all kinds of pain. It can be temporary, sporadic, or chronic. Just about any part of the body can experience some type of pain. If severe, you may need prescription pills for pain, otherwise; over-the-counter (OTC) pain pills may be all you need to reduce pain.

Nearly any kind of pain pill has the potential for some side effects, but most people will not experience them. When taken as directed – usually short term – there is no problem. Serious health problems can occur when taking painkillers – even over-the-counter ones for any length of time. These health problems can shorten your life.

All pain pill bottles warn about how long it is safe to take them and the recommended dosage. Exceeding the dosage or taking them for longer than the recommended time can lead to organ damage. 


Acetaminophen is probably the most well-known as Tylenol. This popular medication has a recommended dosage of two tablets every four to six hours (up to 6 per day), with a maximum daily dosage of 4,000 mg per day. An excess of this amount can cause liver failure and kidney damage. Be careful not to exceed this amount because acetaminophen is contained in over 600 over-the-counter and prescription medicines.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medications (NSAIDS)

Although similar to acetaminophen, NSAIDs can also ease pain and reduce fever. They are in popular OTC medicines such as Advil, Aleve, aspirin, and Motrin. A difference between NSAIDS and acetaminophen is that NSAIDS can also reduce inflammation. They also have limits: no longer than ten days. There is a risk of stomach ulcers, bleeding, and kidney disease.


More powerful than OTC medications, opioid prescription drugs can stop much greater pain. Usually only prescribed for a few days, they are often given after surgery. Addiction may begin to occur after one week. Most accidental overdose deaths occur from people using opioids. 

Alternative Methods of Pain Relief

Besides taking pain medications, there are several ways to help relieve less than severe pain. They may also help you avoid organ damage from long-term use and enable you to live longer. Sometimes, these alternatives may be more beneficial to relieve pain than pain relief pills. Some of them are also free.

Hot and Cold

When you have an injury or temporary pain, putting an ice pack or hot pad on the hurting spot can help bring some relief. When heat does not work, try ice. 


Although your pain can make you not feel like exercising, keeping moving can help bring relief. It may not sound intuitive, but exercising can help relieve pain – including when you have arthritis or fibromyalgia. Keep the exercise gentler and not excessive. Walking and swimming, or riding a bike, may be helpful. 

Mind-body Techniques

Techniques such as meditation and mindfulness can help you reduce stress, which can aggravate your pain and worsen it

Listen to Music

Music can not only help you relax, but it may also help relieve pain. Classical may be the best kind for this purpose. 

Therapeutic Massage

Sometimes a therapeutic massage can help relieve pain. These experts can find the source of pain and often work the muscles to obtain the desired relief.

Physical Therapy

Therapists can help rebuild muscles and increase your strength, range of motion, and mobility. They know plenty of exercises that can help bring relief. 

If you are taking prescription pain pills, or a lot of OTC, you need to talk to your doctor and see if substitutes are available. If needed, they may also be able to refer you to pain specialists or therapists. They may be able to help you get back on your feet and active again – which may also increase your longevity.

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