One topic which comes up frequently in our office is that of painkillers.Often when people come in for their first visit, they admit they’ve been taking painkillers to help deal with their daily pain.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were first introduced in the 1960s and quickly became the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the world, with more than 100 million prescriptions issued annually in the United States alone, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

NSAIDs include:

  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)

NSAIDs work by inhibiting prostaglandins, which are chemicals in the body that trigger inflammation. If you’re taking one of these, you should be clear what the dangers are, and understand that just because something is “over-the-counter” doesn’t mean “safe”.

NSAIDs Side Effects & Risks

We won’t be going over the mild NSAIDs side effects here, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, among others. We are more concerned with the long-term implications associated with these drugs. Long term NSAIDs side effects may include:

  • gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding
  • GI ulcers
  • liver damage
  • kidney damage
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • hypertension
  • increased risk for heart attacks and strokes
  • leaky gut syndrome

In our chiropractic clinic, we see many people that experience pain and a large percentage of these individuals take Ibuprofen to help manage their pain. One might wonder whether the pain that patients experience is due to or exacerbated by the Ibuprofen. While Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs have been shown to reduce pain in the very short term, there is no report in research for any long term effectiveness with any NSAID treatment.

Chiropractor Care in Omaha

In principle we, Balanced Body Acupuncture & Chiropractic in Omaha, NE, are not against the use of NSAID drugs. We believe in looking for the cause of the inflammation. When comparing chiropractic to NSAIDs, research shows chiropractic to be effective short and long term at treating the problem, not just masking conditions.

Alternatives to NSAIDs:

  • Chiropractic care. Chiropractors are highly trained in getting to the root of your aches and pains and helping to eliminate them. Chiropractors restore joint mobility. This reduces pain, inflammation and muscle tension while helping increase your range of motion and restore function. Chiropractic care also works to prevent injuries from occurring and helps improve sports performance. The list goes on!
  • Tumeric, black pepper extract, and ginger. These have anti-inflammatory effects like Ibuprofen, but they also have anti-oxidant properties that break down existing inflammation. You can eat these or take them in supplement form.
  • Capsaicin. Capsaicin is the active component of chili peppers, and can be used as a topical remedy to reduce nerve, muscle and joint pain.
  • Valerian Root. often called “Nature’s Tranquilizer” helping to relieve insomnia, tension, irritability, stress, anxiety and reduce nerve sensitivity which alleviates feelings of pain.
  • Massage. Everyone loves a massage! Massage or soft tissue work helps to alleviate muscle tension, allowing you to move easier and feel more relaxed.
  • Exercise. Exercise is so important for joint health! Many chronic NSAID users take it for their arthritic aches and pains without realizing the unintended consequences of taking NSAIDs. When you have arthritis, mild to moderate exercise can decrease your pain and stiffness, improve your range of motion, strengthen your muscles, and increase your endurance.
  • Weight loss. Obesity and being overweight can put additional tension and stress on joints that are weight-bearing. It is also difficult to exercise when you are carrying around additional pounds, which can lead to more stiffness and pain making it harder to exercise.
  • Heat & cold therapies. Remedies such as hot and cold packs and hot baths can promote relaxation and decrease muscle tension.
  • Meditation. This is especially helpful in people with chronic pain. Chronic pain is exhausting, both mentally and physically. Meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety levels, which help to reduce inflammation in the body.

Dr. Travis Baker, is here to help you out of pain and help you to improve your function with safe, gentle effective, low risk therapies and nutritional/supplemental counseling.


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