We're talking about analgesic medications and how they can have both a positive and a negative impact on how your muscles function. Analgesic medications are simply medicines that are used to alleviate pain. You may have seen them marketed as painkillers or pain relievers. Technically the term analgesic refers to any medication that provides pain relief without putting you to sleep or causing you to lose consciousness. There are many different types of medications that have pain, relieving properties. Some people tend to lump these all together, but they're different groups or types of medications.
Some common names you might have heard of are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as NSAIDs. These include things like Aleve and Advil. Another group is narcotic opioids, like oxycodone and morphine, and then another common group or non-opioid analgesics typically falls into that category are things like acetaminophen or Tylenol. In many cases, the effect of treatment of chronic pain may include one or more of the analgesic medications I previously mentioned.
However, the use of analgesic medications can be potentially challenging for physical therapists because they're faced with a paradox. On the one hand, an analgesic medication may alleviate pain, which you may think makes it easier for people to move and function. Yet, on the other hand, these medications may negatively impact the physiology of your muscles, nervous system and other parts of your body. Here to talk to us about analgesic medication is Dr. Bahar Shahidi.
Bahar is a physical therapist and a researcher investigating how analgesics impact muscle physiology, pain as well as physical function. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of California at San Diego. Her academic background includes a Bachelor's in Chemistry, a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy and a PhD in Neurophysiology. Her research focuses on muscle physiology changes in the presence of chronic spinal pain.
In this episode, we discuss how analgesic medications impact clinical outcomes in people with chronic low back pain, exercise responsiveness, how to time the use of analgesic medication relative to physical therapy treatment, and balance medication use and exercise for optimizing patient outcomes. Let's begin and meet Dr. Bahar Shahidi and learn about how analgesics impact muscle physiology.
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