Painkillers can increase your pain

It's one of the dirtiest secrets of the drug industry: Common painkillers -- including the drugs like codeine taken by tens of millions of Americans every single day -- can actually make your pain worse with codeine side effects.

I'd say it's like adding gasoline to a fire, except the fuel for this blaze comes in the form of a time-released capsule.

As a result, the effect isn't immediate, and it's not obvious. It takes time -- weeks, months or years. It can take so long that you probably won't even blame the drug.

You blame yourself, or the condition causing your pain, believing that it's getting worse.

But the problem isn't your condition, and it's certainly not you.

It's your meds.

New research confirms that at least one painkiller, codeine, can increase your sensitivity to pain -- which explains why people who use the drug long-term for conditions such as headaches often battle more and worse headaches over time thanks to the codeine side effects.

And the pain doesn't end there, either.

Codeine side effects can also make you so sensitive to pain that things that never hurt before could cause you to double over in agony -- including brushing your hair or just being touched, according to the study.

As bad as that is, that's not the worst of it the codeine side effects. That comes next, when you increase your dose or pop more pills to deal with the increased pain.

Maybe that works for a little while... but then it starts all over again, this time with even more pain.

So you pop more pills -- and eventually, you fall into the cycle of addiction and everything that comes with it, including the risk of overdose and even death.

The new study focused on codeine side effects, but it's not the only drug that can lead to more pain. Many common painkillers have a notorious "rebound" effect -- which is why the best approach to pain is to avoid all the drugs if you can.

And if you try, you can -- because there are safe and natural solutions that can ease even the most stubborn aches and pains without making them worse.

While the best approach for you will depend on the cause of your pain, most people get anti-inflammatory relief from curcumin, MSM and bromelain. In addition, consider drug-free treatments backed by science, including acupuncture, cold laser therapy and chiropractic.