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What do you do about pain?

is there anything you can just pop in your mouth to get rid of the pain, without risk?No. Pain is nature's way of telling you something wrong. It's powerful and not to be trifiled with.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

The FDA is on the warpath against pain relief. (Picture from CBS News.)

Tylenol. Vicodin and Percocet. Now Darvon.

The latest news on the pain relief front are stronger warnings on Darvon, and anything else containing propoxyphene. (Europe previously banned the drug.) The danger in this case is the risk of a simple overdose.

This follows a recommendation from an FDA panel that Vicodin, Percocet and other pain relievers that include acetaminophen be banned due to liver concerns. Tylenol had been considered completely safe, but apparently it's not.

So is there anything you can just pop in your mouth to get rid of the pain, without risk?

No.

Pain is nature's way of telling you something wrong. It's powerful and not to be trifiled with.

So aspirin can cause bleeding. Ibuprofen is  bad for the heart. Tylenol causes liver problems. The more intense the pain relief, the greater the risk. The more of any drug you take the greater the risk.

This is a tough message that goes against the grain of what most of us have been taught all our lives. Pain is something we want to avoid or to dull or to make disappear.

But that's not what pain is really about. Pain tells us that we've hurt ourselves. There is a cause for pain. Treating just the pain, ignoring the cause, can leave us worse off than before.

Whenever we make our political choices we cheer that the "grownups are in charge." These are some very grown-up decisions the FDA is making.

Like pain relief,  these grown-up decisions carry risks. Drug makers may push back against over-regulation. Consumers may be more sympathetic to the pain relievers than to those who say no.

The formula may be as simple as this. The opposite of pain isn't pleasure, or even relief. It could be death.

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