Pain Relief: The Drug Free Way To Feel Better Fast Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief: Guided Practices for Reclaiming Your Body and Your Life Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain
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Relieving Neck Pain

At one point in their lives, about 66 percent of people will suffer from neck pain. It is one of the most common pain problems experienced. The pain can range from mild and quick to heal, to severe and requiring medication and/or therapy. Even though the pain is limited to the neck region the causes can arise from other regions of the body and in particular, the spinal area. Treatment for neck pain is determined based on severity of the pain, its causes, frequency of occurrence and personal preferences.

Causes of Neck Pain

Whiplash

This is a sudden movement of the neck backwards and then forwards. It is commonly experienced during vehicle accidents but can also result from other situations such as physical abuse. The strain experienced by muscle ligaments can leave the neck with considerable pain. Symptoms of whiplash include neck stiffness, dizziness, blurred vision, irritability and a constant ringing in the ears. The suffering is such that a whole industry has sprung up, where lawyers pursue whiplash claims on behalf of victims of this affliction.

Torticollis

This is a condition that can cause very severe pain in the neck. The neck takes on a twisted posture where the whole head becomes tilted. Wry neck can be gotten genetically or can also be caused by serious neck injury. Symptoms include neck stiffness, frequent headaches, difficulty in moving the head and swollen cheek muscles.

Migraines

Migraines are frequently occurring headaches where the pain is usually limited to one side of the head. Due to the sharp pain and sensitivity to light and sound one may place the neck in a wrong position especially when sleeping. This can cause neck pain.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

An inflammatory disease that often affects the neck, thighs, hips and the shoulders. When it occurs it results in pain and stiffness of the affected body part. Symptoms include low appetite, anemia, fever, depression and reduced range of motion.

Cervical Spondylosis

As one ages, the bone and cartilage in the neck undergoes wear and tear. This results in old age neck pain. Other causes include injury, smoking, genetics and being overweight. Some of the symptoms to watch out for are pain in the shoulder, muscle weakness, headaches, neck stiffness and numbness in the arms and shoulders.

Treatment of Neck Pain

Neck pain due to common issues such as sleeping bad positions and low risk neck injuries usually disappears on its own. For more serious cases however, it is crucial that medical help be sought. The diagnosis will be performed through various techniques including x-ray, CT scan and MRI. After this, any one or a combination of the following treatments will be recommended.

Chiropractic therapy

In this form of therapy, the focus is on the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. It is used in managing pain in joints, bones and muscles. Thus it is highly beneficial in reducing neck pain. One of the most common forms of chiropractic treatments is the application of deliberate force on the neck to stimulate nerves and muscle tissues. Over time, neck motion improves and the pain recedes.

Osteopathy

Osteopathic medicine works to strengthen the body’s musculoskeletal system. Using techniques such as joint mobilization, deep tactile pressure and soft tissue stretching a neck pain patient can greatly benefit from this therapy.

Physiotherapy

Physical therapy or physiotherapy applies a wide range of treatment methods to maximize the range of body movement and thus reduce pain and inflammation. These treatment techniques include massage, exercise and electro-physical stimulation. Physiotherapy comes in handy in cases where the neck pain is either persistent or occurs frequently.

Prescription medications

Prescription medicines are usually recommended in addition to therapy. Some of the most common medication prescribed include muscle relaxants, antibiotics if there is an infection, corticosteroids and pain medication.
Other medical treatments commonly used include ice and heat therapy, use of a neck collar and traction. In other cases over the counter patches and topical creams can treat mild neck pain.

Surgery

In very serious situations, surgery becomes the last option for treating neck pain. Surgery is commonly recommended if the cause of the pain is a disease e.g. cancer, disability or a compressed spine.
You can also try some home remedies for non-serious neck pain. Try techniques like stretching your neck, using a heating pad, taking a hot shower, a self neck massage and sleeping on pillow designed to reduce neck strain.

Relieving Gout Pain

foot with goutGout is a common type of inflammatory arthritis that causes sudden burning pain, swelling in the joints and stiffness. A gout attack occurs repeatedly until the gout is treated. If untreated, gout can cause damage to your tendons, joints and other tissues. Gout is caused by excessive amounts of uric acid in the blood. Normally, a high amount of uric acid in the blood is not harmful. However, when the level of uric acid in the blood is too high, hard crystals may form in the joints.

Gout is very common in men, people who drink too much alcohol, overweight people and people who eat too much fish or meat, especially meat with high levels of purines. Gout can also be caused by stress and some medications such as diuretics or water pills.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of gout include tenderness and redness of the skin, intense and rapid pain in your big toe, foot, knee, joint or ankle, and swollen joints. A gout attack can last for days or weeks and it can take a long period of time before it strikes again. Gout causes intense pain that develops rapidly to an extent that a feel of the bed sheet touching the affected area can be very painful. When you experience these symptoms, you should visit the doctor for diagnosis and gout treatment.

Treatment

There are several options available for gout treatment and relieving pain. When you have been diagnosed with gout, your doctor will prescribe some medications to relieve pain during a gout flare-up. The doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), indomethacin (Indocin), meloxicam (Mobic), celecoxib (Celebrex) or sulindac (Clinoril). The doctor may also prescribe over-the-counter drugs to reduce pain and inflammation. NSAIDs then treat the cause of the pain and, where pain is deemed sufficiently intense, narcotics can be used to treat the symptoms.

If you are already on NSAIDs, your doctor may recommend febuxostat (Uloric), allopurinol (Lopurin or Zyloprim), colchicine (Colcrys) or probenecid (Benemid). Allopurinol and febuxostat decrease the amount of uric acid produced by your body while uricosuric drugs increase the amount of uric acid eliminated by your kidney. When you start taking these medications, you may experience gout attacks because your body has not fully adjusted to gout treatment.

Natural Remedies

There are several home remedies that can relief gout pain. However, you should also take your medication. Alternative methods of gout pain relief include;

  • Use Ice - If the pain is not too intense, you can use ice packs or cold compresses to reduce pain. Cool the affected area for 20 or 30 minutes. Never apply ice directly to the affected area because it can damage the skin. You should wrap it in a towel or cloth.
  • Rest and Raise the Joint - Most people will probably desist from moving when experiencing a gout attack. Raise your joint on a soft object or pillow and do not do any vigorous activity to avoid knocking out your joint.
  • Drink Water – Dehydration can increase the amount of uric acid in your blood. Drinking enough water will enable your body to stabilize uric acid to normal levels.
  • Watch what you Consume – Foods rich in purines and fructose-sweetened drinks can increase the level of uric acid in your blood. Avoid eating seafood, liver and some vegetables that contain high amounts of purines. You should also avoid fructose-sweetened drinks and alcohol, especially beer.
  • Acupuncture is a natural means of pain relief remedy that can be used to treat the pain associated with gout.

How Acupuncture Can Relieve Pain

Acupuncture is a mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine. It has been in use for centuries for various health purposes. The practice of acupuncture is still very much in use today and is commonly used to relieve pain.

How it works

Acupuncture is done using long and very thin needles which are inserted at specific points of the body. It works on the principle of rebalancing energy life force flowing through pathways or meridians in the body. Also known as Chi or qi, this life force can be rebalanced by inserting the needles into various points on the body. In additional to bringing about relaxation, it can also help to reduce pain.

From the viewpoint of modern medicine, the act of inserting the needles stimulates connective tissue, muscles and nerve endings. This triggers the release of natural painkillers in the body. Its effectiveness in pain management has made it a popular alternative to western medicine. It can be either used as a full on pain therapy treatment or as a compliment to modern medical treatment.

acupuncture needles

What kids of pain can acupuncture relieve?

Even though acupuncture is a general mitigation therapy for pain, there are specific pain conditions that it is most effective in treating. They include;

  • Labor pain
  • Painful cramps during menstruation.
  • Low back pain.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Headaches, migraines and dental pain.
  • Joint pains and gout.

Research has already shown benefits of acupuncture directly connected to the reduction in severity of the above conditions.

Are there any risks?

Acupuncture is an all natural process and hence the risk of adverse effects is quite low. That being said, there are still some minimal risks that you should take into consideration before undergoing the treatment.

One of the common side effects is soreness. This is very common and you shouldn’t worry much about it. In addition to the soreness, there could also be some little bruising and bleeding at the points of insertion.

Another risk is that of internal organ injury in a situation where the acupuncture needles are pushed in too deep. But with a professional acupuncturist, this should be a very rare occurrence. Finally, there is the risk of infection if the instruments are not properly sterilized.

To minimize these risks and ensure that they do not contribute to other serious health problems it is important to check that you are the right candidate for acupuncture. Do not undergo it if you are pregnant (it could trigger labor), you have a bleeding disorder or have a pacemaker for electric acupuncture.

If you have an hour to spare, this is a great video on Acupuncture:

An Overview of Pain

pain sensorsNeedless to say, pain is a difficult term to describe and define. First, because tolerance and perception of pain vary from one person to the next, it is a very individual experience meaning that only the person feeling the pain can properly describe it. In addition, this phenomenon is not well understood in animals and humans owing to its complexity and inability to be measured. For instance, two individuals may undergo the same traumatizing experience yet they will each have a different description of the pain suffered. This thus makes pain difficult not only to treat, but to define as well.

Essentially, however, pain refers to the way in which our brains interpret signals or information about particular sensations being experienced by the body. These signals (information) about painful sensations are then transmitted to the brain via nerve pathways although the way in which they are interpreted by the brain as “pain” is determined by various external factors. Generally, there are two types of pain i.e. short term/acute pain and longstanding/ chronic pain.

Acute pain

Variously referred to as short-term pain, acute pain is that which is intense but short-lived and is usually an indication of an injury, impending danger (such as touching something hot, cold, or sharp), illness, or surgery. Acute pain also includes post-trauma pain, post-operative pain, and acute injuries. However, when the injury heals or the danger is removed, the pain usually disappears on its own.

Chronic pain

Longstanding pain usually lasts much longer than acute pain (usually 3 months or more) and can be severe or mild. When pain lasts for an extended period, it can affect every facet of someone’s life e.g. their independence, sleep, activity levels, relationships with friends and family, and their ability to work. All this can become overwhelming to the sufferer resulting in a vicious circle of distress and pain. Examples of chronic pain include conditions such as neck and back pain, neuropathic pain (nerve injury pain), headaches, pain related to illness, musculoskeletal pain, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (complex regional pain syndrome Type 1).

Treatment of pain

Generally, treatments for chronic and acute pain are quite different. In some instances, pain can be alleviated or stopped by a series of procedures or just a single one. However, chronic pain is often a constituent of a widespread disease process meaning that the specific cause can be difficult to identify. But once the factor causing the pain has been identified, treatment becomes possible thereby lessening the chances of a recurrence. In some people, such as those suffering from cancer, the specific cause of the pain cannot be changed although the pain may be reduced in order to help the patient cope with the effects of pain. This can be achieved through a combination of rehabilitation, psychological, and medical techniques and opiates or narcotics

Top Techniques a Physiotherapist Employs to Treat Pain

physioPhysiotherapy is a science-based practice that deals with the treatment of people affected by sport injuries, illnesses or disabilities. Physiotherapists are not those medics running onto a sports pitch to treat an injured player, but experienced doctors that use high end devices and techniques in order to treat a patient. Physiotherapy is a holistic approach that aims to focus on helping patients better manage pain by improving their lifestyle and making long-term changes.

At the core of this technique is the patient, who is responsible for his own care, through awareness, education, self-help, empowerment and willingness to participate in the treatment. People can benefit from physiotherapy at any time during their lives and can learn how to manage asthma, stroke, Parkinson’s, chronic heart disease, sports injuries, arthritis and cystic fibrosis.

As a science-based practice, physiotherapy makes use of theories, hypotheses and facts in order to determine the best way to treat each patient. This profession, rooted in medical science, is proud to have Galenus and Hippocrates as forefathers. However, the difference between today and ancient Greece is that now there are tens of physiotherapy and pain management techniques available. Here are the most commonly used techniques by physiotherapists from all over the world.

  • Connective Tissue Management - This technique is a form of massage specially designed to break up any resisting scar tissue in order to relieve chronic tension, improve posture and increase range of motion.
  • Soft Tissue Release- A very popular form of therapy used to treat muscular imbalances, relieve chronic pain and increase the recovery rate of muscular injuries.
  • Vestibular Rehabilitation – This modern type of exercise focused approach is designed to assist in decreasing disequilibrium and dizziness symptoms associated with various conditions related to the central or peripheral balance system.
  • Trigger Point Release – This technique used by modern physiotherapists is mainly used to treat muscle knots and muscle spasms. Trigger points are usually extremely tender to the touch, being able to cause a decreased range of motion. Using finger pressure, the physiotherapist will locate these points and deactivate them. Additionally, he will teach you how to move in order to keep these trigger points from recurring.
  • Cold Therapy - This pain management technique is extremely useful for acute sports injuries. Physiotherapists know that less blood flow helps to reduce inflammation and swelling, so they are using this technique whenever they want perfect results in a short period of time.
  • Ultrasound Treatment – This is considered by far the best physiotherapy technique, even though it is the most expensive. Using high frequency sound waves, doctors are able to speed up the healing process in torn muscles, ligaments or tendons.

Drug Free Pain Management Techniques

Infection, surgical incision, and nerve injury are some of the major causes of pain. Pain can be either short-lived (acute pain) or last much longer in the case of chronic pain. Pain can make a person lose concentration on the work at hand, leading to poor performance. Pain is mainly related to conditions such as headache, shingles, low back pain, osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, and nerve damage. Every day professionals come up with different methods and drugs that promise incredible pain relief. However, not all these techniques can be used by all since different people have different genetic make-ups. The use of natural and drug-free methods of pain management is the best alternative since it is safe to all.

Ways of Managing Pain without the Use of Drugs

Exercise

Pain-ManagementDoing some healthy exercise is the easiest and least expensive way to alleviate pain. It works by releasing endorphins, a naturally occurring neurochemical in the brain that has analgesic properties. In addition, exercise improves bone health and sleep, increases body flexibility, controls weight, strengthens the body, and boosts energy. It is advisable for patients with rheumatoid arthritis to do aerobic exercise regularly such as jogging, bicycling, swimming, and walking instead of driving. Other important exercise includes strength training such as gardening and lifting weights. All these activities strengthen the abdomen and back muscles, keep the circulatory system healthy, and improve endurance.

Healthy Diet

Eating healthy food prevents body tissues from responding to injury or infection characterized by swelling, redness, and pain in joints and muscles. The best food to eat includes soybeans, whole foods, lean meat, and fish. Other examples are vegetables and fruits such as, broccoli, lettuce, sweet potatoes, summer squash and carrots. It is best to refrain from foods with added sugars; canned food packed in syrup, and processed foods such as soft sodas, French fries, pastries, refined white flour, and candy.

Acupuncture

It is a traditional Chinese medicine involving the insertion of thin needles at strategic points through the skin. This action balances the flow of energy (qi or chi) that flow through pathways (meridians) in the body. These needles do not hurt at all. This technique has become very popular in pain management such as fibromyalgia, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and chronic breakdown of cartilage in the joints. Acupuncture is frequently used in conjunction with physiotherapy as a means of pain relief.

Hot and Cold Therapy

Heat therapy dilates the blood vessels, which facilitates the flow of blood and supplies nutrients and oxygen to various parts of the body. This action relaxes sore muscles, tendons and ligaments, and reduces muscle spasms and pain in joints. The best way to apply this pain management method is by relaxing in a hot bath or by using heat wrap.

Cold therapy works by contracting blood vessels and slowing down blood flow to an injury thus reducing inflammation, swelling, and numbing deep pain. One should apply a cold wrap, ice, or gel pack for about a day or two after an injury.

Massage Therapy

It is a pain management method that involves techniques such as deep circular movement, kneading, pressure, and tapping. Research shows that massage increase endorphins levels in the brain, thus making the person manage chronic pain effectively. In addition, massage relaxes muscles, improves blood circulation and facilitating muscle soreness recovery from physical activity. This practice is crucial in cancer patients and those who have had heart bypass surgery.

Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a technique designed to minimize one’s usual distractions, increase concentration, and heighten responsiveness to suggestions to alter a person’s feelings, physiological state, thoughts, and behavior. It is very effective in treating various psychological and medical conditions including pain management. In a research done of 18 published studies, three-quarter of the participants experienced both acute and chronic pain relief from this technique. Hypnosis alleviates pain ranging from backache, fibromyalgia, headache to cancer pain.

Meditation (Mindfulness)

Meditation uses relaxation techniques to keep mind focused on the present, aiming at easing stress, anxiety, insomnia, and pain. Scientists argue that the degree at which one can perceive pain is what matters in pain management. Researches show that individuals who do not regularly meditate find pain to be more pleasant since they spend more time anticipating pain and its effects. Meditation involves practices such as deep breathing to boost relaxation, cognitive-behavioral therapy that aims at focusing on positive thoughts, concentration on positive visual images, and contemplative walking.

Laughter Therapy

Laughing is another common technique used to raise endorphins levels in the body to relieve stress and pain. It also facilitates steady movement of blood to various parts of the body, improves the digestive system, relaxes the body muscles, and boosts the immune system.

 

Differences between Opiates and Opioids

Opiates and Opioids, both are used as analgesics as they cause the CNS(Central Nervous System) depression. Their molecules attach themselves to the Opioid receptors, which are found in the brain, gastrointestinal tract and other organs of the body and it leads to low perception of pain, confusion, constipation, slow breathing, nausea. The effects and their degree vary according to the amount of drug taken.

Opiate PoppyOpiates are the alkaloids extracted from the Poppy plant. All the active ingredients of the opiates occur naturally and are not synthesized chemically. There are certain inactive ingredients present in the extracts from the Poppy plant as well, such as, Papaverine, Noscapine, but they do not have any effect over the CNS. The chemically altered Opiates are called as semi-synthetic Opioids. Opioids that are fully synthesized chemically are called as synthetic Opioids. The main difference between the Opiates and the Opiods is that the Opiates occur naturally in the Opium poppy, whereas the Opioids are prepared chemically, at least partly. Examples of the Opiates include Morphine, Thebaine, Codiene. Examples of Opioids are Heroin, Nicomorphine, Oxymorphone, Methadone, Demerol.

Opiates and Opioids produce similar effects on the body. Effects vary according to the doses, for e.g., low doses prove to be very effective pain-killers and higher doses produce effects like Euphoria, deep relaxation. Both of them are extremely addictive and withdrawal can cause diarrhea, cold sweats, insomnia, depression and more such effects. Although, the opiates and opioids are different from each other, the term ‘Opioids’ is often used to describe the drug that attaches itself to the opioid receptors present in the brain, peripheral sensory neurons and other organs. The term ‘Opiates’ is also sometimes used as a synonym for the Opiods, but it is limited to only the active ingredients of the natural occurring alkaloids.
At times, the medical professionals use the term ‘Opioids’ as a broad term to describe any drug that attaches to the opioid receptors. Opioids can be classified into four broad categories,
– Endogenous Opioid – They are called endorphins and they occur naturally in the body. – Opium Alkaloids – They are called Opiates and they occur naturally in the opium poppy. – Semi-synthetic Opioids – They are chemically altered opiates, for e.g., Oxycodone. – Fully-synthetic Opioids – They are synthesized chemically, for e.g., Methadone.

Narcotics And Pain Management

NarcoticsWhenever you have a mild muscle ache or headache, an over the counter pain reliever is usually the best remedy. However, if your pain is more severe, the doctor might recommend something that is a bit stronger, usually a prescription opioid.

What are Narcotics?

Opioids are a special type of narcotic pain medication. If not used correctly, they can lead to some very serious side effects. As a result, you should always ensure that you take the necessary precautions whenever you use them.

How Narcotics Work

Opioids narcotics work by conjoining to the opioid receptors found in the spinal cord, brain and other parts of the body. They reduce the sending of pain messages, which in turn reduces the feelings of pain. Opioids can be used to treat moderate to severe pains that do not respond well to other kinds of pain medications.

Types of Narcotics

The following are some of the most common opioid narcotics available:

  • Codeine: This particular drug is only available in generic form.
  • Fentanyl: This includes Duragesic, Actiq and Fentora.
  • Hydrocodone: This includes Norco, Lorcet, Lortab and Vicodin.
  • Meperidine: This is mostly Demerol.
  • Hydromorphone: This includes Exalgo and Dilaudid.
  • Methadone: This includes Methadose and Dolophine.
  • Oxycodone and naloxone.
  • Oxycodone: This includes Oxyfast, OxyContin, Roxicodone and Percocet.
  • Morphine: This includes kadian, Avinza, Ora-Morph SR and Ms Contin.

The doctor may prescribe most of these narcotics to be taken by mouth. However, Fentanyl is also available in a patch that allows the medication to be absorbed through the skin. In addition, some other opioids such as oxycodone are usually combined with Tylenol to form one pill. Examples of such drugs include:

  • Percocet: This includes acetaminophen and oxycodone.
  • Norco, Lorcet, Lortab and Vicodin.

Before you start taking any of these drugs, you will need a prescription from your doctors. He or she can adjust the dosage to help control your pain.

In some situations, you may receive around-the-clock doses to help you manage your pain during the day and night. In addition, you doctor may also prescribe some opioids to be taken as needed. This means that you will only take them if you experience any breakthrough pain. This type of pain comes about despite of the round-the-clock doses.

While you are on opioid pain medication, the doctor will check in on you regularly. They will need to ascertain how your pain is responding to the drug, whether or not you are experiencing any side effects and to ensure that you are taking the drugs properly. In addition, they will also want to determine whether you have any medical conditions or potential interactions that could increase the risk of side effects. These conditions usually include sleep apnea, kidney problems or alcohol use.

You should never stop taking or change your opioid medication without first checking with your doctor. In case the pain medication is not working the way it’s supposed to, your doctor may opt for a different kind of dose.

When you no longer need the medication, your doctor will help you to get off of them slowly. Your body will need time to readjust after a long period of use. If this is not done, you may suffer from some withdrawal symptoms.

The Hazards

Even though prescription medications may help to alleviate pain, patients need to be aware of the risks. Narcotics used for short-term pain have far less risks because doses can be halted before the patient becomes habituated or tolerant. However, those taking narcotics for long-term chronic pain are more susceptible to such situations. They can easily abuse the drug or develop an addiction.

Some of the other side effects that may result from taking pain medications include impaired judgment and drowsiness. As a result, you should avoid drinking alcohol, operating heavy machine or driving while under the influence of narcotics. In case of any itching, you can reduce the dosage or talk to your doctor about switching your medications.

Some people may also experience incidences of constipation. This problem can be sorted out by drinking more fluids, getting more exercise, consuming foods with extra fiber or the use of stool softeners.

In addition, withdrawal symptoms tend to be quite common once you stop taking a narcotic. They can include a strong craving for the medicine, insomnia, yawning, diarrhea, mood swings and restlessness. All these may be avoided with a gradual decrease of the medication.

Endorphins And Their Role In The Human Body

Endorphins are chemical neurotransmitters that transmit electrical signals in the nervous system. There are more than 20 endorphins present in the human body. They are found in the pituitary gland, other parts of the brain, and throughout the nervous system. Their release is mainly triggered by pain and stress. Their levels are also affected by taking anabolic steroids, heroin, alcohol, and other opiates. The name endorphin is derived from morphine, meaning pain killer, and endogenous, meaning within. They belong to neurohormones class of biochemical that acts by modifying how nerve cells respond to various transmitters.

Functions of Endorphins

Endorphins Control Pain

Endorphin MoleculePain receptors situated in the skin produce nerve impulses that travel up the spinal cord, thalamus, and eventually reach the motor and sensory cortices. The impulses signal the motors to release excitatory neurons that contain transmitter substance P. The transmitter substance P is part of neuropeptides located in the neurons on sides of the dorsal horns. It functions as a major transmitter of pain. The dorsal horns house endorphin neurons that release encephalin. Encephalin produced from the endorphin neurons inhibit the production of substance P by separating the receiving surface of a transmitting neuron and the terminal end of the host neuron. The receiving neuron, therefore, receives less excitatory stimulation resulting in reduced transmission of pain impulses to the brain.

They Reduce Stress

Several studies have revealed a behavioral linkage between endorphins release and stress. Adrenocorticotropin and Beta endorphin, the classic stress hormones originate from the same pioneer molecule located in various parts of the body. They are found in hypothalamus, other parts of the brain, and several peripheral tissues such as the gastrointestinal tract and placenta. Their release triggers the expression of pro-opiomelanocortin gene in the pituitary and its peptide-products are immediately released into the circulatory system in response to stress.

They Promote the Release of other Hormones

The impacts of narcotic analgesics on the release of hormones by the pituitary are evident with the endorphins. They promote the release of prolactin, a growth hormone, anti-diuretic, and inhibit the production of thyrotropin, follicle stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone.

Endorphins And Behavior

The limbic system has prominent structures such as the hippocampus, cingulate cortex, amygadala, and septum pellucidum. All the mentioned structures function together with hypothalamus to integrate emotional reactions. The limbic system also contains the highest amounts of endorphins and opiate receptors. The association of endorphins with social began in 1978 when several experiments were done. One of the experiment involved the administration of morphine to young guinea pigs and puppies. The young animals reduced their tendency to cry when separated from their mothers. Distress from separation was reduced in the injected animals. This implicated the impacts of endorphins in controlling emotions and behaviors.

Endorphins and Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a form of mental disorder that involves delusions, frequent hallucinations, agitation, and disorientation. There are several experimental observations that demonstrate possible association between schizophrenia and endorphins. One such experiment is where animals portray a catatonic-like state when injected with endorphin supplements. Other studies also show high endorphin levels in cerebrospinal fluids of people with the condition.

In addition to the above mentioned roles of endorphins, they also modulate appetite, enhance immune system, and regulate “runner’s high” condition.