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Tramadol (Ultram): What You Need To Know

Tramadol or Ultram is a one-of-a-kind pain reliever. It is often misunderstood so we are here to fix that problem. Here, you will find a detailed description of Tramadol, how it works, and how to use it properly.

What Type of Medication is Tramadol?

Tramadol is not an opioid. Rather, it is an opioid like. Some may say that it is a synthetic type of opioid. Yet, the good thing is that it is not as addictive as an opioid pain reliever like Oxycontin.

Tramadol is a misunderstood medication according to an article By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing. In the beginning, it was an OTC (Over The Counter) medication, but since it has some opioid characteristics, it became and Schedule IV controlled substance according to DEA. Yet, studies have found no conclusive proof that Tramadol is addictive or fatal.

How Does Tramadol Work?

Before we discuss that, we need to have some understanding of how pain relievers operate in the human body. There are two basic types of pain relievers: Non-opioids and Opioids.


These are the OTC pain medications that you can buy at a pharmacy without any prescription. Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and Aspirin are examples. They work by blocking or neutralizing the pain chemical (hormone) called prostaglandin. No prostaglandin, no pain.

Prostaglandin is also responsible for swelling so medications like Acetaminophen or Aspirin work as an anti-inflammatory as well. Yet, non-opioids only work for low to moderate pains. If the pain is overwhelming (such as after a major surgery or serious injury), the level of prostaglandin is so high that the non-opioids can not block or neutralize it.

There is another disadvantage as well. Aspirin and Ibuprofen not only kill prostaglandin but also act as blood thinners (Won’t let form clots). If there is a major cut (Internal or external) and Aspirin is administered, it may cause severe bleeding. That is why Aspirin can not be used after a major surgery.

Additionally, prostaglandin signals the brain that there is a damage somewhere in the body. The brain then gets the pain signal and goes to repair the damage. If no prostaglandin flows, repairs also slow down. That’s why, for majors cuts and severe pains, we require the opioids.


They are the true healers. Opioids can handle moderate to severe pains, but they work slightly differently. They allow prostaglandin to flow, and in doing so, allow the brain to repair the damages.

How do they relieve pain then? Opioids alter the brain’s perception of pain. Simply put, they tell the brain “It doesn’t hurt”. However, this process of altering the brain’s perception comes at a cost.

First, Opioids slow down the heart rate to calm the entire body down. Patients may fall into a deep sleep during the healing process. Opioids may also cause medically induced coma and an altered state of mind where the patients may hallucinate or perceive a different reality.

All of those are fine while the healing occurs. Yet, due to its sensitive nature, Opioids must be administered very carefully by a health professional. Overdose (OD) can kill a patient or put him/her in a permanent state of coma.

Opioids are also highly addictive. Patients can easily get hooked to the altered state where there is no pain or worry.

What About Tramadol?

Tramadol is different. It is in-between an Opioid and a non-opioid. It can handle low-moderate-severe pains. Not only that, since it is not derived from opium, Tramadol is not addictive.

In the beginning, it might cause some drowsiness and sleepiness, but that goes away in a day or two. Patients using Tramadol can handle pain, stay awake, and go on with regular activities.

How to Use Tramadol

The most common is the capsule versions. Depending on the level of pain, age, and sex of the patient, doctors prescribe differently. However, there is a general guideline. We can only mention the basics for severe pain:

  • Age 13-23 (Male or Female): Maximum of 300mg a day
  • Age 24-65 (Male): Maximum of 400mg a day
  • Age 24-65 (Female: Maximum of 350mg a day
  • Above 65 (Male or Female): Maximum of 300mg a day

What types of pain can Tramadol Treat?

Since it is in-between, it can treat almost any kind of pain. From headaches, toothaches, menstrual pains to surgical pains and severe injuries, Tramadol can handle all. Yet, since it is still considered a Schedule IV drug in the USA, a prescription is required to buy Tramadol.

However, online pharmacies provide a solution to this problem. People can easily get it online if they can find a reliable online pharmacy. Check out our “Buy Tramadol Online” article to learn more about how you can order Ultram online safely. You can also read our articles on “Tramadol Side Effects” and “Tramadol FAQ” to understand this medication more.

Tramadol FAQ: 11 Frequently Asked Questions

Following is a Tramadol FAQ section where you can find answers to most of your questions about Ultram. What is Tramadol HCL? Tramadol HCL or Tramadol Hydrochloride is a synthetic pain medication that has a similar chemical structure as an opioid pain reliever. Don’t let the technical term ‘HCL (Hydrochloride). It is simply a kind …

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