Pain management and the dangers of NSAIDs is a common topic in my clinic.
There are many TYPES of pain; acute pain such as headaches, cramps and sprains; and chronic pain from injuries, arthritis, etc. There is muscle tension pain, surgery recovery pain, and pain from poor posture. Body aches from the flu, athletic or overuse pain, and more. Most are inflammatory in nature, often involving prostaglandins. Some are neurotransmitter related.
Different pains, different people, different results and side effects. Even the GOAL of pain management differs from one person to another. The graph below presents the traditional view of pain management, the pathway we want to avoid. While most people just want relief, others ask for actual solutions to prevent the pain, and/or to resolve the underlying problem. Here’s an area where natural solutions have an advantage.
Inflammatory Foods are Part of the Problem
Without question, the number one pain solution in my Clinical Nutrition practice is removing highly inflammatory and allergic foods such as grains, sugars and dairy (except butter and ghee). The results on many kinds of pain can be dramatic in some people. I have seen severe Rheumatoid Arthritis pain ease in a person already quite crippled; neurological pains dissolve; the end of headaches and menstrual cramps, and much more by incorporating the changes in my Diet For Human Beings, or the Paleo or Primal Blueprint Diet.
The Dangers of NSAIDs
Avoiding steroids, opioids and surgery often means a lifetime dependence on Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAID’s for short). These include prescription and over the counter products such as Advil and Motrin (Ibuprofens); Aleve (Naproxen); Aspirin; Celebrex; Mobic and more. All carry warnings of risk of stroke, heart attacks and stomach ulcers (bleeding). Additional side effects include heartburn, headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, high blood pressure, risk of miscarriage, swelling of the legs, and of course, kidney and/or liver damage. The risk of death is higher in the elderly, who often take these on a regular basis. Short-term use of 10 to 14 days is labeled on most.
Tylenol is not an NSAID, but it has its own risks, and it works only on pain, not inflammation. It is safer for kids than NSAID’s and aspirin.
Supplements for Pain Management
If the goal is to remove the CAUSE of the pain and inflammation, a Paleo Diet is the key first step. From there, we add supplements and therapies. Supplements can include: enzymes (on an empty stomach so they digest the inflammation, not dinner); Omega 3’s such as high DHA fish oil or krill oil ; glucosamine and/or chondroitin; high quality turmeric/curcumin; boswellia; white willow; and MSM.
For natural help for joint, disc and arthritis pain, try the Systemic Formula JOT for Joint, Disc, and Cartilage Support.
GABA for Pain Support
An underrated area of pain support is the neurotransmitter GABA. Known for help with sleep and anxiety, it also helps pain of various types. Play with the dose and timing that helps. Use our Passion Flower and/or Pharma GABA. Both are much loved by many of my Clients.
Natural Therapies for Pain Support
Therapies can include chiropractic, acupuncture, cranial-sacral therapy, massage, yoga and Homeopathy. TENS units and cold Lasers work wonders. Topicals can help too, including cold or warm packs and Arnica creams. Commercial topicals such as Bengay contain salicylates and may cause side effects if overused.