September 4, 2013 by Dr. Sana Keller
When a headache strikes…or a back ache…or just achy joints in general…what do YOU reach for? Below are the most commonly ‘reached for’ non-prescription pain relievers that are often taken without a second thought as to the potential harm they could cause, but can we afford to be so nonchalant about this? Each of the drugs below (and above!) come with a ‘black box’ warning, which is the strongest FDA warning and means that the drug carries a major risk of serious (possibly life-threatening) side effects. Read on for basic info on potential dangers of the most common pain relieving medications followed by some SAFE and EFFECTIVE options.
How about Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)? It’s derived from petrochemicals (not so good!) and has been linked to a significantly increased risk of heart attacks. Over 100 adverse health effects (side effects) of Ibuprofen have been documented including DNA damage, high blood pressure, miscarriage, anemia, hearing loss, heartburn, unusual tiredness, weight gain, bloating, liver damage, and abdominal pain.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol)? The FDA recently issued a new warning linking its use to potentially fatal skin reactions. Other known side effects increased risk of developing asthma and hearing loss, infertility, and liver damage. Acetaminophen is the leading cause of sudden liver failure in the US. A large-print warning is now being placed on the caps of acetaminophen-containing products (over 600 products) stating “contains acetaminophen—always read the label” due to the risk of liver damage and failure from ongoing or overuse.
Aleve (Naproxen)? Warnings for this anti-inflammatory pain reliever include increased risk for heart attack or stroke and serious bleeding from stomach or intestines. Other known side effects: nausea, dizziness, headache, heartburn, drowsiness, sun sensitivity, ringing in ears, swelling, difficult breathing, bruising, and abnormal liver function.
Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Ecotrin)? Some of the many side effects include stomach pain, bleeding in the stomach, reduced kidney function, bruising, liver toxicity, and ringing in ears (This information does not normally apply to the prescribed use of daily baby aspirin).
Yes, pain is real—and sadly, many people deal with it on a daily basis. Addressing pain is most effective when consideration of the entire person is a part of the process (diet, lifestyle, medications, emotions, stress, past health history, etc.). That’s one of the basic concepts of Integrative Medicine: realizing that each person is a unique individual with unique needs. Below are some SAFE and EFFECTIVE options for minimizing or eliminating pain. As you can see, it’s not about just finding another pill to take for a quick fix, rather it’s about working with a knowledgeable Integrative Health professional to develop the best plan specifically for you.
Ginger—Arnica—Turmeric—Boswellia—Cat’s claw—Magnesium—Capsaicin—White willow bark—Vitamin D—Omega 3 fatty acids—Anti-inflammatory diet—Gluten-free diet—Yoga—Creative Visualization—Acupuncture—Reflexology—Aromatherapy—and more.
I would be honored to work with you on your health goals, including pain relief. www.healthunlimited.biz
Photo credits: gotoaid.com & integrative-medicine-dc.com