And now we can have a conversation about keeping kids away from drugs, both legal and illegal. Because I think that one of the factors which might eventually lead a child to consider taking street drugs is simply a comfort with taking drugs. Of course it’s not the only thing, but it might be a factor.
In general I would tell anyone not to take a bunch of medications unless you must take them to survive. Pain pills are medications you take electively. So if you have an ache try to wait it out before taking medications. If you injure something put ice on it and see how much pain you can take. Try to have peace with pain rather than seeking immediate relief through the use of pills. Just as they say that kids of alcoholics often drink or kids of smokers often smoke, I would say that kids of elective drug users (legal or otherwise) might be inclined to take drugs as well. They will develop a comfort around drugs and an ease with their use. So don’t let your kids see you taking medications until they’re older and understand why you take them. And secondly, never routinely offer them pills as a way to relieve their pain. Offer them an ice pack, a warm pack, some TLC…a hug, or a kiss to the boo boo.
Kids and old people have a very high tolerance to pain. So do animals. Frankly, I think we all have the potential to have high pain tolerance. A tolerance to pain would be a good survival mechanism. I have a horse that had an injury. But for a long time he never showed it. He and I competed and he worked hard without limping. One day it became apparent he was limping ever so slightly. When I had him evaluated and saw what his problem was, I wondered how he kept on working so hard in the face of such an obviously painful condition. Why didn’t he just say “no more” by limping a little earlier? If I go back to my Caveman Theory, I can answer this question. In his mind, if he limps, he shows weakness. Weakness means a predator singles him out for the kill. Horses don’t know they live in a protected environment. They always think a predator’s waiting out there to get them.
Over the millennia we have gradually lost our tolerance to pain because there are no predators and there are drugs and alcohol.
So back to kids. If you start them out thinking that the solution to pain is a pill, then they will come to believe…that the solution to pain is a pill. Not ice. Not a hug. Not rest, but a pill. Even Tylenol or Advil can become a knee jerk solution to pain. It can become the solution to a pain which may not even warrant a pill. Many people want medications for any and every discomfort, no matter how minor. Other people refuse pain pills even when I offer them.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. A pain pill cannot stop the source of the pain. It just dulls your perception of it. Now an anti-inflammatory can decrease inflammation and thereby help with the pain. But in the case of injuries, it is the broken bone or torn ligament which cause the pain and not so much the inflammation. You can’t fix the bone with a pill. You can only dull your perception of it. Often rest, elevation and ice can do just as much.
And taking a pain pill in order to work or play or shop is foolhardy. If you take a pain pill, you should then take the time to rest. The pill is trying to dull your mind to the pain… so if you’re going to bother to take one, then go ahead and let it dull your mind. Don’t take off to work…don’t drive or go off to school after taking a pain pill!
Watch for Part 3 soon!