“Painkillers Don’t Work For Chronic Pain” Says N.I.C.E

Throwback to June 2022

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has advised that Painkillers don’t work for those with Chronic Pain, and therefore aren’t recommended to be used to treat it.
Instead, they recommend Anti-Depressants, Exercise, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance Therapy, and Acupuncture. While some chronic pain patients have used, or do use, these methods – they’re not a sure thing for everyone and shouldn’t be used as pain relief and certainly not the only form of pain relief.

Their definition of chronic pain is anything with no underlying cause or

“pain (or its impact) that is out of proportion to any observable injury or disease.”

NICE – National Institution for Health and Care Excellence

Which isn’t even remotely close to the definition provided by the NHS – the doctors – themselves.

Chronic or persistent pain is pain that carries on for longer than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment. Most people get back to normal after pain following an injury or operation. But sometimes the pain carries on for longer or comes on without any history of an injury or operation.

NHS Inform

Chronic Pain is when the pain lingers for longer than 12 weeks, as stated above by NHS Inform. Sadly, this can mean some of us are on painkillers for months, years, or indefinitely. Is it a good solution? No, because it’s not a solution at all. But sadly, a lot of people with chronic pain are suffering from undiagnosed or undiagnosable illnesses, or illnesses that have yet to find a resolution for.

Stating that Painkillers don’t support those with chronic pain is like saying toothpaste doesn’t assist in dental hygiene.

Some painkillers can cause other medical issues – whether that be renal failure, liver failure, stomach ulcers, or addition. But with every medical procedure, or treatment, there is a risk.

For example, a woman – who wishes to remain anonymous – aged 65 was diagnosed with arthritis in 2015 after suffering five years of chronic pain in her knees. She was dismissed due to being overweight; even though her family had a history of early-onset arthritis, with some family members developing the disease as early as 15 years old. She was provided with Ibuprofen and Paracetamol to take daily.

In recent years, she had a stroke and had to be taken off the Ibuprofen due to it interfering with a medication the stroke clinic had provided her. After being removed from the contradicting medication, she went back to her GP for another prescription of Ibuprofen due to her arthritic pain getting worse.

Her previous dose was three 400mg ibuprofen tablets a day, every day.

The GP prescribed her two 400mg ibuprofen PER WEEK. An under dosage of nineteen tablets a week.

This GP prescribed her a dosage that is used for people with occasional pain, not chronic pain; and has refused to put the medication back on repeat prescription.

But, don’t worry. The doctor offered an alternative medication to assist with her pain – Amitriptyline. Instead of providing the medication which the patient had previously been on for the same reason, he offered to provide a new medication. One that is used for treating Low Moods, Depression, and Neurological pain…

Of course, she does have mental health issues. But wouldn’t you, if you were unable to walk around your own house without being in debilitating pain?

Her pain is not Neurological. It is physical, with a physical cause that has been diagnosed.

What I find most interesting is this – the guidelines suggest they don’t want people taking painkillers for chronic pain anymore and one of the main factors for that is that they don’t work on chronic pain and that there are too many risks for long-term use.

Please explain how the risk of a stomach ulcer in a 65-year-old with no past history of stomach issues, ulcers or the likes, is riskier than putting a stroke patient on an unnecessary anti-depressant that is known for causing blood clots, unusual bleeding, easy bruising, and episodes of passing out.

It’s simple – GPs are now following the N.I.C.E government guidelines which states long-term painkiller use is no longer recommended. And while long-term painkiller use can be harmful to some, it is a lifeline for others.

Chronic pain needs to be treated per case. This has been said time and time again by doctors who specialise in chronic pain, and by those who suffer from it.

As someone who doesn’t use painkillers long-term, due to them not being effective for my condition, that does not mean that it’s the same for everyone else. Others with similar symptoms to me may use paracetamol, while some use opioids. Some, like myself, may find them completely useless.

But it’s down to that person, their protocols, and what works for them.

The government should not have a say in what medications are recommended for chronic pain sufferers to use. They should not have a say in what is recommended for pain, full stop. It should always be down to the health care professional and the patient.

If you wish to help the cause and commission for N.I.C.E to review their abhorrent guidelines on Chronic Pain – please click the button below and sign the petition.



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