Eli5- trapped nerve in shoulder, do painkillers allow us to release the tension from pain?


So why does painkillers allow our muscle to be free flowing? Is it cause when we’re in pain our muscles try to protect itself so it keeps tense? Or does the painkiller heal it a bit

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Different types of pain killers for example NSAID’s have an entirely different methodology of action to an opioid so the type of pain killer is fundamental to the question.

>Is it cause when we’re in pain our muscles try to protect itself so it keeps tense?

Exactly. When you injure something, your immune system responds by creating inflammation in that area. It gets red, swollen, hot and hurts. These are defense mechanisms designed to help healing and also prevent you from moving or harming said area further.

Normal OTC pain killers work by reducing this inflammation and hence reducing the pain you feel. They do not however help the biological process of healing the injury.

The shoulder is a complex joint with nerves and muscles interacting with bones and a squishy cushion (lubricating sac called the bursa). When you have an impingement, trapped nerve, bone spur, or the like, these elements rub together in ways they are not meant to and become irritated and inflamed. There’s less room to move freely, so your range of movement shrinks. Taking anti-inflammatory painkillers act on inflammation and reduce it, which creates more space in and around the joint and returns some range of motion. The pain is reduced because the bones are no longer rubbing against tender, swollen flesh. The inflammation itself is an response to direct your immune system to a problem or threat in your body and work to resolve it.