• Dr Kendra Clifford ND

Let's talk about common pain medications...

Updated: Jul 30


If you're experiencing chronic pain it's very likely you've been prescribed any number of pain medications, past or present. Typically pain medications fall into one of seven categories.


  1. Narcotics

  2. Antidepressants

  3. Topical

  4. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)

  5. Corticosteroids

  6. Muscle relaxants

  7. Anticonvulsants

Each class of medication has a different mechanism of action - meaning it works on a specific pathway in the body. Therefore can have a variety of different effects on the body. For example, NSAID's work by inhibiting cyclooxygenase enzymes (COX-1, COX-2). These enzymes are involved in the synthesis of prostaglandins. In the body prostaglandins can increase levels of inflammation.


Similarly, each class of medication has its own list of side effects. Narcotics for example can cause dizziness, confusion, nausea, constipation, euphoria, and/or slowed breathing. These side effects can be mild to severe, and can vary from person to person.


Lastly many medications can cause nutrient deficiencies. The anticonvulsant Lyrica can result in decreased levels of vitamin B12. Cobalamin (B12) is used in the proper formation of blood cells, and in healthy nerve tissues. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can result in anemias, and nerve damage.


Naturopathic medicine can help decrease your need for pain medications, decrease side effects from pain medications, and/or help correct nutrient deficiencies. We can do this by treating the pain through acupuncture, botanical medicine (ie herbal medicine such as turmeric), or through supplementation. To learn more about each class of medications click the class of medication above.


This post is intended for information purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice.

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