New Research Indicates that Blocking Inflammation May Lead to Chronic Pain


A new study from McGill University indicates that the use of anti-inflammatory medications to treat pain could potentially lead to long-term issues, including chronic pain which is difficult to treat. Researchers found that neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that helps to fight infections, are a key component in fighting pain. As pain ceases, there are evident changes in blood cells, specifically neutrophils.

Inflammation, according to this study, is surprisingly an important factor of tissue repair. Interfering with this process, specifically by taking anti-inflammatory medications, could actually worsen pain over time. Mice, with neutrophils blocked during this study, had prolonged pain that lasted up to 10 times the normal period. Using anti-inflammatory medications, while effective early, showed the same results.

Another analysis in the United Kingdom showed that individuals who took anti-inflammatory medications for pain were more likely to experience the pain two to 10 years later, unlike their counterparts who took other medications, such as acetaminophen or antidepressants. This study could initiate a change in the treatment of acute pain. Additional research, including clinical trials, are needed; however, there is evidence to support that preventing inflammation in the short-term could cause chronic pain later.

Additional source: Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News