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Painkillers can increase duration of chronic pain


NEW YORK,U.S(TNO) The short-term decision to take painkillers can have devastating consequences of increasing pain and making it lasting longer than usual, warns new research. The findings could explain the explosion of painkiller addiction in the past few decades.“We are showing for the first time that even a brief exposure to opioids can have long-term negative effects on pain”, said lead researcher Peter Grace, Assistant Research Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the US.The researchers found that opioids like morphine paradoxically cause an increase in chronic pain in lab rats. “The results suggest that the recent escalation of opioid prescriptions in humans may be a contributor to chronic pain,” Grace said. The study showed that just a few days of morphine treatment caused chronic pain that went on for several months by exacerbating the release of pain signals from specific immune cells in the spinal cord. “We found the treatment was contributing to the problem”, Grace noted. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that a peripheral nerve injury in rats sends a message from damaged nerve cells to spinal cord immune cells known as glial cells, which normally act as ‘housekeepers’ to clear out unwanted debris and microorganisms. The first signal of pain sends glial cells into an alert mode, priming them for further action.





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