Is Your Ibuprofen Killing You?

Over the counter painkillers have become part of our everyday lives and chances are you have some sitting right in your medicine cabinet. These NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen, Aleve, and Motrin, among others, are generally marketed as being safe ways to deal with general pain.

In this post, discover:

  • If your pain-relieving medicine is actually safe for you
  • Harmful side effects of painkillers
  • Alternative solutions to pain

Although we have been warned about taking too much, as it could cause damage to your liver, the majority of people pop these over the counter pills without a second thought, with many of us taking over the recommended amount every day. Whether you have a headache, arthritis pain, or inflammation, we are told to take a dose of a NSAID and move on with your life pain-free.

HOW SAFE ARE PAINKILLERS?

A new study published in the March 2017 issue of the European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy (EHJ-CVP) is making some waves recently. In this study, they found that taking these over the counter medications can increase your chances of having a heart attack by 30%. This number only goes up if you are already unhealthy or older of age [1].

One of the scariest parts to this is that this increased risk of a heart attack doesn’t come after long-term use or by abusing the drugs, but rather this concern comes after under a week’s worth of use, and the risk only increases the longer you take it.

While most people may be unaware of the side effects of these little, seemingly harmless, pills, they can actually cause major problems and should be taken with caution.

RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS OF NSAIDS

When you take NSAIDs, you are risking more than just your heart, and it could result in other negative side effects.

These side effects include stomach ulcers, bleeding, and upset stomach, kidney problems, high blood pressure, swelling, rashes, or allergic reactions [2].

Some of the side effects have been reported to land people in the hospital and even cause death due to gastrointestinal bleeding. The FDA reported that there are over 103,000 hospitalizations and an estimated 9,400 – 16,500 deaths every year occur in relation to NSAID-related gastrointestinal bleeding [3].

While we all want to get rid of pain, the side effects and the risk of cardiac arrest may not be worth the risk. Instead look for an alternative, more natural way of dealing with the pain. Depending on what is causing the pain in the first place, there may be other solutions that will not only get rid of the pain you feel but also not kill you or make you sick in the process.

In this case, the possible side effects are, for the most part, worse than the pain it may be relieving.

NATURAL NSAID ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS

When it comes to pain, the first thing you need to do when treating it is to understand why you are having the pain in the first place.

One of the biggest reasons we take painkillers is to get rid of joint pain and this can be caused for many different reasons, such as being overweight, inactivity, or injury.

Oftentimes losing weight and regularly exercising can help alleviate pain that is occurring within your joints, much like physical therapy. If you don’t already have your own workout routine you can join a program like Elite, where you will be given workout routines and instructional videos on a rotating calendar to make sure you are doing them correctly and safely. Doing an exercise incorrectly, or pushing ourselves past our physical limitations, can result in unnecessary pain for which we may turn to NSAIDs for. 

Physical therapy can be another great option for a pain that is re-occurring, especially if it is a result of an injury.

Making sure to eat a healthy nutritious diet can also help to alleviate some pains that we may be turning to NSAIDs for, including headaches. Often times headaches can be caused by lack of nutrition or by eating something that can trigger pain. To make sure you are eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet, you can easily have a nutritionist put together a Custom Meal Plan for you so that you know your body is getting the nutrition it needs to stay healthy. This will not only make sure you are getting the right nutrition, but it will also help you to cut down on body fat, which in turn, will help to lower joint pain that you may be experiencing.

Overall, living a healthy lifestyle by making sure that you are eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and not storing excess body fat can help to alleviate many of the pains that we turn to, effectively eliminating the need for taking, or even overusing, these over the counter NSAIDs.

If you do decide to turn to NSAIDs don’t take more than the recommended amount and if you find yourself needing to take them for days at a time, consult your physician.

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