We have all had the experience….
- pain in your back preventing you from picking up your kids
- menstrual cramps making it hard to sleep
- the ongoing headache that just won’t quit
And what do we do? Reach for our go to anti-inflammatory
- How safe are they?
- What are they really doing to fix our problem?
- How are they impacting our overall level of health?
Before we address these very important questions, let’s make sure we are all on the same page. When we are talking about anti-inflammatory medication, we are taking about non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). The most commonly used NSAIDS are
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
- Naproxen (Aleve)
- Aspirin (Bufferin, Bayer, Excedrin)
So how safe are they?
The FDA estimates that NSAID’s, (which includes aspirin, ibuprofen and tylenol or acetaminophen) account for a reported 200,000 cases of gastrointestinal bleeding, 107,000 hospitalizations and as many as 20,000 deaths each year.
Plus, NSAIDS can cause ulcers and other problems in your esophagus, stomach and small intestine, even when taken properly. A study published in the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology shows that “71 percent of those who were exposed to NSAIDs for more than 90 days had visible injury to their small intestine.”
NSAIDS may also decrease blood flow to your kidneys, impairing their ability to regulate fluid in your blood and resulting in high blood pressure, kidney damage, and ultimately kidney failure. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the regular use of aspirin is associated with a 2.5 times greater risk of chronic kidney failure than as that for nonusers of aspirin.
Finally, NSAIDS have also been proven to increase your frequency of headaches, and increase risk of heart attack and stroke, some of the very things we take them to prevent!
What are they really doing to fix our problem?
NSAIDS work on a chemical level to block enzymes called prostaglandins that promote inflammation. Inflammation can sometimes cause pain and a fever, but is also necessary for supporting the blood clotting, and protecting your stomach lining.
What this means is that taking NSAIDS might be temporarily reducing our pain, but they aren’t actually fixing the cause of your pain and are in fact slowing down your healing.
How are they impacting our overall level of health?
In addition to the very serious side effects listed above, NSAIDS lower your long term health.
We already know that taking just one dose of regular strength Aspirin affects normal blood clotting for as long as 7 days. Yes, just one dose, properly taken. Just imagine what a lifetime of use might do!
What are our alternatives?
Acute pain is not to be taken lightly and can be life disrupting. So what are our alternatives?
- Neuro-Structural Chiropractic Care: If you are taking NSAIDs regularly, we can help. Email Kristen to schedule an examination so that we can find the real cause of your suffering. Every day we have patients who are able to stop using NSAIDS and avoid surgery after receiving care here at Platinum.
- Omega 3s: Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory to our bodies and are the required building blocks for a healthy brain and nervous system. Here in the practice we carry only the best quality Omega 3s. Pick some up on your next visit.
- Ice: Using ice on the area of pain restricts the blood flow and can temporarily reduce your pain, inflammation, swelling, and nerve activity.
- Herbs: There are anti-inflammatory properties to many herbs such as turmeric and arnica. If you are experiencing a specific problem with pain and inflammation, let me know on your next visit and I can make a recommendation specific to your needs.