When is the last time you thought twice about taking an over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen?
Let’s be honest, have you ever thought about the potential side effects?
Believe it or not, acetaminophen is the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S.
And when it comes to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen?
Well, research has linked them to some pretty unsettling findings, too.
Acute pain vs. chronic pain
A new study published in Science Translational Medicine questions the conventional “wisdom” of using steroids and NSAIDs to treat lower back pain when other non-drug therapies fail to offer immediate relief.
Ultimately, researchers discovered that while those medications offer relief from acute pain… risk of CHRONIC PAIN heightens.
(Acute pain is defined by any pain lasting more than 12 weeks.)
Seems rather contradictory though, don’t you think?
Blood samples revealed higher levels of inflammation driven by neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that helps fights infection, among those suffering from lower back pain naturally. (Meaning they didn’t take medication.)
But it’s important to remember that inflammation is a normal, important part of pain.
In fact, neutrophil counts rise in the early stages of inflammation. They lay out the groundwork for our body to begin repairing tissue damage (which is why you feel pain).
So, artificially blocking this repair process through medication is actually quite detrimental…
So much so that researchers found doing so prolonged pain in mice… it lasted ten times as long!
And a separate analysis out of the U.K., analyzing 500,000 people, supports these findings. More specifically, those who treated their pain with NSAIDs began suffering from chronic pain between two to ten years later!
Mother Nature knows best
To me, it’s funny how many practicing physicians forget about the vital role of inflammation in the body. When in reality, it’s a key part of injury recovery.
And, as this study clearly shows, inhibiting it may result in higher instances of difficult-to-treat, chronic pain.
With the ongoing opioid crisis, physicians (including myself) have had to take continued education courses in pain management. These courses emphasize the notion that pain is a good thing… yet, clearly the message hasn’t seeped out.
This is similar to the idea that you shouldn’t allow your temperature to get too high. So, people immediately reach for acetaminophen or ibuprofen when a fever strikes. Yet, a fever is the body’s way of healing what ails it.
I chalk these things up to the American way of needing a “quick fix.” When will we ever learn to play to long game?
So, the next time your lower back hurts—because let’s face it, this is the most common type of pain—I hope you allow Mother Nature to run its course.
After all, there are safer, natural ways to get powerful relief than dangerous pills—from regular, carefully monitored exercise to smart supplementation.
I go into more details in the September 2020 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“Common, but deadly: Popular over-the-counter pain meds do more harm than good”). Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one!
Plus, for a detailed, all-natural plan to relieve and eliminate ANY type of acute or chronic pain, check out my Essential Pain Protocol.
Until next time,
“Discovery reveals blocking inflammation may lead to chronic pain.” ScienceDaily, 05/12/2022. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/05/220512092711.htm)