The Side Effects of Pain Pills on the Body

Find out what these medications are really doing to you

Unless you’re incredibly lucky, you – like pretty much everybody else – experience pain on a regular basis. It may not be severe, but things like headaches, backaches, or joint or muscle pain are extremely common. This is why the health aisle in the supermarket has rows and rows of pain medications, and chances are good that your medicine cabinet contains quite a few of those products.

While a couple of pills can be good for relieving pain for a little while, did you ever stop to think about the other things they may be doing to your body? In some cases, they could actually be doing more harm than good. Here are some medications people take often and their possible unwanted side effects.


Taking aspirin on occasion doesn’t usually cause any problems. However, if taken frequently – and more than the recommended dosage – this can lead to stomach issues, including indigestion and ulcers. Too much aspirin may also result in kidney damage.


Even if you don’t seek out acetaminophen, you may be taking it anyway, as it is found in many cold medicines. If too much of it is taken, this can hurt the liver. Drinking alcohol while taking acetaminophen raises the risk of liver damage.

Ibuprofen and naproxen

Like aspirin, both ibuprofen and naproxen are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). And because they all have similar qualities, taking them can result in the same problems, namely stomach or kidney issues.

Prescription pain pills

If over-the-counter medication isn’t working, typically the next course of action involves getting a prescription for opioids, which are stronger painkillers. These could include hydrocodone, OxyContin, Demerol, or codeine. These opioids are prescribed because they do a very good job of blocking pain. However, they do come with an assortment of negative attributes, with perhaps the worst being that they are highly addictive. They also do a number on the body, causing a variety of ailments, such as:

  • Constipation. One study found that as much as 90 percent of people who took opioids suffered from constipation, and it happens almost right away. Most patients are advised to take things like laxatives because constipation could lead to hemorrhoids or even bowel obstruction.
  • Weakened immune system. As soon as someone starts taking opioids, their immune system becomes compromised. The medication harms the body’s ability to ward off infection, which means illnesses are much easier to catch and they stick around longer.
  • Imbalanced hormones. Opioids have been proven to lower levels of testosterone in men and estrogen in women. As a result, both sexes could have decreased libidos and lower energy. Men may experience erectile dysfunction, while women might have irregularities with their menstrual cycles.
  • Increased pain. Most of the time, opioids are very good at treating pain. However, they can produce the exact opposite effect in some people, causing them to have worse pain.
  • Depression. Another common side effect of opioid usage is depression. A study conducted by St. Louis University took a look at 100,000 people who were prescribed opioids for things like arthritis, headaches, and back pain. Researchers discovered that 10 percent of them developed depression after taking the medication for only about a month. Prior to taking opioids, none of these people had ever gotten a diagnosis of depression.

The better alternative to pain pills

The good news when it comes to pain relief is that pills aren’t the only solution. Often the best way to treat pain is by focusing on exactly where it is, and the best way to do this is with a roll-on pain reliever. CopperGel is a topical pain reliever that is clinically proven to help with joint and muscle pain and arthritis. Instead of swallowing pills and hoping they do their job (not to mention having to deal with the side effects), with CopperGel, you can apply it just where you need it.

The direct application of a topical pain reliever also allows you to apply only as much as you need to get relief. It’s a smarter choice – especially for dealing with specific pain in muscle groups or joints. Questions or concerns? Please get in touch. You can send an email to or just fill out our online contact form.

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