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5 Natural Alternatives to Risky Painkillers

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By    |   Sunday, 24 Apr 2016 08:51 PM

Over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen are the drug of choice for treating arthritis in the U.S., as well as mild to moderate discomfort. But new studies show such medications are linked to 16,000 deaths and 100,000 hospitalizations every year.

Problems linked to such so-called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like Advil and Motrin, include digestive ulcers, kidney disorders, and excess bleeding tied to heart attack and stroke.

Dr. Charles Srour, a chiropractor and founder of Dox Supplements, tells Newsmax Health these alarming findings underscore the risks of NSAIDs, which prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year to require updated safety labeling changes warning that the drugs can increase cardiovascular risks as early as the first few weeks of use. 

“Every year, there are thousands of reported deaths linked to chronic use of NSAIDS,” he says, arguing that such drugs are overprescribed. “It is well documented that long-term use of this medication can result in deaths from heart disease, stroke, kidney and liver failure along with bleeding ulcers and gastrointestinal illness.”

While nothing “there is a time and place for NSAID use,” Srour suggests a range of natural remedies — including herbs, vitamins, exercise, and dietary supplements — are as effective at alleviating pain as the pills Americans pop by the billions every year.

The following five non-drug alternatives carry fewer risks and may be better options for long-term pain relief and inflammation control, he says.

Herbs: Curcumin, white willow bark, garlic, and celery extract are plant-based herbs that have all been shown to help ease pain and lower inflammation in the body. Studies have shown herbal supplementation can provide the same or better results compared to over-the-counter pain relievers. 

Fish oil:
Omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish (salmon, tuna, anchovies) have been proven scientifically to ease pain when taken on a daily basis. In fact, consuming fish oil (in foods or supplements) has allowed some people to replace or reduce their NSAID consumption, Srour notes. He advises getting approximately 1,000 milligrams a day.  In addition to easing pain, fish oil has demonstrated benefits with heart health, the appearance of skin, hair, and nails. 

Glucosamine: This compound has been used for decades to treat joint pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and overuse.  Glucosamine is often combined with chondroitin as a complex. Aim for a dose of 1,500 mg per day, Srour advises.

Pain-fighting foods:
Diets high in saturated fats, sugar, and other staples of fast-food menu items can increase inflammation and pain in the body. Conversely, a diet high in nutritious fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and probiotics can help reduce inflammation and discomfort.  Certain foods — including ginger, cherries, cranberries, and the Asian spice turmeric — contain anthocyanins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and other natural compounds that tamp down pain and block inflammation by inhibiting pain enzymes, just like NSAIDs.

Exercise: It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when you’re pain, but in fact 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day has a beneficial effect on the body when it comes to pain and inflammation. Exercise not only promotes blood flow and builds muscle, which can provide support for painful joints, it also triggers chemical endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers.

Srour says these natural alternatives are worth considering for the long-term management of pain before resorting to NSAIDs.

“That being said, not all things natural are safe so it is always recommended that patients do their own research and consult with their health care providers before taking any such products,” he notes.


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Painkillers such as ibuprofen — the drug of choice for treating arthritis and mild to moderate discomfort — are linked to 16,000 deaths every year. But a range of natural remedies are as effective at alleviating pain as the pills Americans pop by the billions.
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2016-51-24
Sunday, 24 Apr 2016 08:51 PM
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