This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Drugs are to be employed as little as possible for the purpose of securing relief from pain. One reason for this is that in general they do nothing toward removing the cause of the symptom. Another still more important reason is, that, being simply palliatives, a tolerance of their pernicious influence is soon acquired by the system, so that their effect cannot be obtained without steadily increasing the size of the dose. It is through this means that the majority of opium-eaters, hashish devotees, and chloral users are led into the fatal snare. As a general rule, too, the drug employed for the relief of pain when it is long-continued creates a disease often worse than that which it is attempting to cure. In cases of extreme suffering which are not relieved by any measures which have been mentioned, and especially in cases in which the pain is due to an acute cause, which can speedily be removed, or when the patient is suffering from a malady, the nature of which renders it incurable, opiates or any other drugs which will secure relief from suffering may be very properly employed, but should be used entirely under the supervision of a careful and intelligent physician. Nothing could be much more pernicious than the habit which many people have of keeping in the house some anodyne preparation, which generally contains more or less opium, in readiness for use on short notice, whenever any member of the family may happen to have pain, no matter how trifling may be the degree of suffering. One of the greatest obstacles to be overcome in the treatment of opium-eaters is the lack of fortitude on the part of the patient, a condition which has been brought about by the constant yielding to the disposition to avoid pain, no matter of how slight a character. It is possible for a person to receive injury from the strain upon the nervous system, occasioned by severe pain, but as a general rule, much more injury is done the patient by the drugs employed for the relief of pain than would be occasioned by the pain itself. The drugs which are generally employed for relieving pain not only do not reach the real seat of the disease, but by their paralyzing effect upon the nerve centers, in some degree interfere with the restorative efforts of nature, thus putting a real obstacle in the way of recovery. Opium is especially damaging in this particular. It also has a well-recognized tendency to produce constipation of the bowels, inactivity of the liver, and, in fact, of all the other excretory organs, thus interfering with nutrition and producing a feverish condition of the system. It should be only resorted to as the last of all means for relieving pain. Belladonna, gelsemium, Indian hemp, and other allied remedies, are much to be preferred to opium, although they are somewhat less effective in action. Painful surfaces may frequently be relieved by the application of a solution of glycerine in water or by the employment of simple mucilaginous lotions of various kinds, as linseed tea, slippery-elm water, etc. A solution of tannin in glycerine of moderate strength is sometimes very effective as a means of relieving pain.