Recent research in pain medicine proves what many of us have experienced in our careers as pain patients: Pain spreads.
This is why it's vital to get sufficient treatment of acute pain as soon as possible, and also why getting the right combination of treatment and pain medication is very important for chronic pain patients.
By stimulating or causing pain in one part of the body scientists at the Laboratory for Musculoskeletal Pain and Motor Control at Aalborg University in Denmark have been doing studies that proved that pain from injured muscles spread to nearby muscles if left untreated. I read a Norwegian article about one of the studies. Several doctors had commented on the article saying "This is what we have know for ages, but great that you are proving it with research".
Many people can be critical of chronic pain patients use of pain medication, but the truth is that untreated pain will often increase in intensity and spread. So don't feel guilty about using your medication, as long as you're using it as your doctors prescribes. There are many things you can do in addition to taking medication, and that's what this blog is all about, but in my personal experience I'd say it's way better to start doing stuff besides your medication than cut your medication abruptly and try treating it with other methods.