Painkillers- Friend or Foe?

Non-steroids anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as celecoxib, ibuprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen are over-the-counter drugs and also available on prescription to relieve pain, fever, flu, and menstrual cramps among others. The fact that their use is to treat small ailments means that they are consumed as often as needed. Nowadays, more and more people take these painkillers as a fast remedy to a temporary pain problem. Nevertheless, the ultimate question remains, is there cause for worry about increased risk of a heart attack when taking common painkillers?

New studies now link high doses of common painkillers such as ibuprofen and diclofenac to heart attacks. According to the British Medical Journal, which analyzed more than 450,000 people who took painkillers on a regular basis, about 61,460 suffered from heart attack. The research analyzed the ingestion of five common painkillers, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, celecoxib, and rofexocib and found increased risk of getting a heart attack lay between 24% and 58% when consuming the drugs as compared to when not using them. Generally, although the increase in risk is relatively a small number they are still significant from a public health viewpoint due to the widespread use of these drugs. Further studies analyzed the health records of about 8 million people, at the average of 77 years who used non-steroids anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). According to the results, people who used these drugs a fortnight before were at a 19% higher risk of getting admitted for heart failure. The increased risk differed in some patients with diclofenac drugs being higher and slightly lower for ibuprofen.

The relationship between heart attack and NSAID medicines has been existent for several years. Partly because, these drugs have the ability to cause the kidneys retain excessive salt, a factor linked to increased risk of heart failure. Besides, doctors have always cautioned against prescribing these drugs to patients with high risk of heart disease.

Natural Remedies to Relieve pain

Unfortunately, heart and joint problems in the elderly have been known to co-exist. Similarly, it is not possible to avoid pain and the use of common painkillers. However, this is not absolutely true especially with the existence of more viable natural remedies.

Exercise. People who maintain a good aerobic record improve most of their pain conditions. In fact, doctors assert that during exercise, the body releases its own painkillers such as endorphins that interact with brain receptors to change the body’s perception of pain. For the elderly and people in extreme pain, doctors recommend starting slowly and gradually increasing the workout activities.

Fish Oil. Due to its anti-inflammatory elements, naturopathic doctors have recommended fish oil as a natural remedy to pain. Patients who took fish oil, have reported reduced pain and stopped the use of common pain relievers.

Turmeric is also a great pain reliever taken two daily in tea or capsule form.

Heat and Cold Therapy. Both heat and cold therapy have been recognized to play a significant role in pain relief. For instance, if you have an acute injury, doctors recommend putting an ice cube on the affected area to reduce swelling. Alternatively use heat in persistent back spasms or a warm shower.

Lastly, do not forget about meditation. An easy approach to this is to sit still and comfortably and control your thoughts from wandering off. Eventually, you will feel refreshed, reinvigorated and with less pain.

2 thoughts on “Painkillers- Friend or Foe?

  1. Hi Wendy,
    I am one of those who are quite reliant on painkillers… well that and frequent massages. My problem is on my neck and back. I always get this neck & back pain especially when I am very stressed or tired. I am beginning to cut down on these painkillers and started exercising again. I did notice a difference. I think I will take a look on your other recommendations as well!

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