If we see a sentence suggesting pain is good thing, most people would scratch their heads and think the author was playing a joke. Everyone knows pain is unpleasant and to be avoided at all costs. Indeed, it’s this attitude of wanting to avoid pain at all costs that’s lifted the US to the top of the world rankings. No matter what you might think of the competition, the US takes more painkillers per head of population than any other country in the world. It’s not clear exactly what the prize for winning is, but the obvious consequence is that we have more people abusing painkillers and so becoming dependent. This seriously complicates the treatment for the underlying cause. So let’s split this into two separate questions: why is pain a good thing? and why should we aim to treat pain without relying on drugs?
Pain works in exactly the same way as a burglar alarm. You fit one to your home and if someone enters without your consent, you get a warning. Well, it’s the same with pain. If a virus or bacterium gets into your body, you need something to tell you there’s a problem. If you get into an accident, you need pain to tell you exactly what injuries you have, whether you can walk or need an ambulance, and what treatment you are likely to need. Without pain, you might never know if you were falling ill, and you might make an injury worse if you continued to move with, say, strained muscles or broken bones. That makes pain very useful. The problem comes because once you know you are ill or have an injury, you want the pain to stop. Well that’s just plain wrong. Suppose you hurt your leg. Do you want to feel no pain so that, if you pick up something that’s too hot, you have to wait for the burning smell before you drop it? No! If one part of the body is hurt, you want want to know if the pain is spreading or growing worse. The pattern of the pain helps you monitor whether you are getting better or worse.
So moving on to the second question, as medial science stands, the only way to switch off pain completely is to make you almost completely unaware or actually unconscious. No matter what pill you take, you will feel a little pain so long as you remain alert. The problem with the strongest painkillers is that they are all addictive. The advantage of Tramadol an 627 pill is that you can take it in quite high doses for quite long periods of time and still stop without major withdrawal symptoms. You should always be in a treatment regime that allows you to continue feeling some pain and, more importantly, that you can stop without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. That means you must be planning for life without pills. If you assume you will have to continue taking pills for the rest of your life, consider the cost. If you take 3 pills a day at $1 per pill, that’s $1095 per year. This assumes you do not build up tolerance and need to take more than 3 pills per day. How many years do you want to spend this money on Tramadol?