Help, I’m in pain!

     Have you ever seen a house that was taken over by stray cats? It all starts with just one stray cat. You feed it. It has kittens. You feed them. They have kittens, and so on and so on and so on. You end up with around 50 cats living in, under, and around your house, waiting to be fed. You get more food because you are feeding more cats. It becomes an out of control situation. What happens if you don’t feed them? They come to the door, to your feet, and pester you to death until you until you do! They get on your nerves, they might even get mean, and scratch or bite you.
     This is an analogy to help understand what happens to our brain when we take narcotics for pain like Lortab, Vicodin, or Oxycodone. Our brains have receptors that tell us when we are in pain. For the sake of explanation, lets say we normally have 10 receptors. Drugs in the narcotic class are the only drugs that truly block those receptors to relieve pain. Narcotics taken for short periods of time are typically not a problem. But when we keep feeding narcotics to those receptors, they begin to multiply like stray cats. Where we once had 10 receptors that perceive pain, we now have 100, or 500, or 1000. So what do we do? We have to feed them more. They continue to multiply. What happens if we take that narcotic away? Those receptors attack more ferociously that any amount of cats ever could. This is physical addiction. Narcotics will actually change the chemistry of our brains.
     When I began having migraines and seizures, I was prescribed a narcotic to use when the pain could not be controlled any other way. I took it off and on as needed, only it seemed like I needed it more and more often. My pain tolerance got lower and lower. When I ended up taking Lortab for two months after a seizure, broken nose, and sinus surgery, I couldn’t go off of it without throwing up constantly. My receptors were out of control. At this point, any tolerance I had at all completely disappeared. I struggled as my brain and body screamed for relief. 
     When God healed me and I became free from all medication, a floodlight came on in my brain. I looked back over my journey and realized something about pain I’d never realized before. When I began using pain medicine off and on to relieve migraines, my headaches intensified. Then when I began taking it even more often, the headaches were unbearable. The increased receptors in my brain were causing my perception of pain to be worse. Now that I have been off all medication for over a year, the migraines that once sent me to a dark room in tears are now just headaches. They are unpleasant and aggravating, but they no longer stop me in my tracks. 
     True, full-blown addiction typically requires help. It’s a tough battle to win, but with God, nothing is impossible. My focus here is on the millions of people every day who take just one Lortab at bedtime to be able to sleep, or just one Oxycontin in the morning to allow them to be able to work. Taking small maintenance doses of a narcotic increases pain receptors just enough to increase pain perception. We may think it’s the pain that is worsening when it might just be the perception of pain is higher because of the receptors. 
     God created those pain receptors in our brain–just the right amount–because we need to perceive pain to know when something is wrong. He made us in His image. He didn’t intend for those receptors to torture us, but when we feed them too often, they grow. And grow and grow and grow.  If you are taking a low maintenance dose of a narcotic, you probably perceive your pain to be worse than it really is. If you can stop taking it long enough for your brain to get back to normal, I bet you’d realize the pain isn’t nearly as bad as it once was. Give it a try if you can. Believe me, I never thought I’d see the day that a migraine headache didn’t send me screaming to a dark, quiet room for the duration.


  1. Celeste,

    I really like the creativity of your blog layout, and the music fits your theme so well. I know someone who has been in chronic pain for years with three of his fingers having been cut off in an industrial accident. He went through similar things with his pain meds. Recently, through prayer and a TOTAL surrender he received his miracle. He is pain free and free from the meds. God truly does work miracles in our time!

    I’m following your blog and will check back often.


  2. Hey Dave, Thank you so much for following. Chronic pain is a horrible thing to deal with. I believe there is a need for pain medicine, but for chronic pain, narcotics land us in a worse place than we were originally. It’s awesome to hear about miracles such as your friends. I wish I had the answer for everyone. I do know that God knows our hearts. When we have the desires of our heart aligned with God’s perfect will, miracles can happen!

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