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Short and long-term risks of taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories)

Monday, November 05, 2012 by: Melissa A. Bartoszewski, DC
Tags: NSAIDs, health risks, internal bleeding

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(NaturalNews) Do you take ibuprofen on a regular basis for acute or chronic aches and pains? Do you know that ingesting these medications consistently over short or long periods of time can cause life-threatening injuries? Most medications only mask symptoms and never "fix" the source of pain. Chronic NSAID use creates a vicious pain cycle while causing toxic effects on your body. Non-invasive, drug-less healthcare options are available to ease/eliminate aches and pains.

The facts

• Approximately 3,200 people die each year due to chronic NSAID use; over the counter medications that are deemed safe and effective

• The New England Journal of Medicine estimated that 103,000 patients are hospitalized yearly due to gastrointestinal complaints caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory use

• Costing $2 billion dollars annually

• 16,500 people with osteoarthritis/rheumatoid arthritis die due to NSAID use

• "This figure is similar to the annual number of deaths from AIDS and considerably greater than the number of deaths from asthma, cervical cancer or Hodgkin's disease" (ACA)

• Chronic NSAID use is the 15th most common cause of death in the U.S.

• Short-term NSAID use accounts for increased risk of GI complications than chronic use; taking NSAIDs for short periods of time is also dangerous

• "One double-blind trial found that 6 of 32 healthy volunteers (19 percent) developed a gastric ulcer that was visible on endoscopic examination after only one week's treatment with naproxen (at a commonly prescribed dose of 500mg twice daily--the same dose received from five non-prescription Aleve per day)" (ACA)

• The British Medical Journal concluded from a study, that patients who take NSAIDs consistently over time have greater risks of "cardiovascular events"

• "In the signals we saw, there was a two- to fourfold increase in the risk of myocardial infarctions [heart attacks], stroke, or cardiovascular death, and these are, clinically, considerable increases in risk." (Juni, Peter)

The American Journal of Medicine reported increased complications in patients with hypertension and cardiovascular disease among chronic NSAID users

How do NSAIDs cause ulcers, bleeding, heart attacks and strokes?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs stop two pain/inflammation/fever emitting enzymes (Cox-1 and Cox-2) from working. One of these enzymes (Cox-1) also helps to line the stomach and protect it from acid and bleeding. Short and long-term use of ibuprofen causes a disruption in the homeostasis of the stomach lining. Other risks include renal impairment, cardiotoxicity, and doubling the risk of miscarriage.

Natural ways to treat your pain

Chiropractic care offers safe, non-invasive treatments that address the source(s) of pain. Joint restrictions, muscle spasms, poor biomechanics/posture and dehydration are a few of the reasons a person can experience headaches, stiffness, tightness, etc. 80 percent of headaches are caused by tight muscles; therefore, taking an anti-inflammatory over the counter medication will only temporarily mask or partially relieve symptoms, while causing harmful, internal effects on multiple organ systems in your body. Chiropractors can reduce tension in tight muscles, perform spinal manipulation/adjustments to restore joint mobility, provide nutritional advice and teach the patient how to correct postural and ergonomic causes of pain.

Acupuncture has been around for hundreds of years and offers an all natural way to ease acute/chronic pain conditions, along with a whole host of other ailments.

Exercise produces endorphins, the body's natural feel good hormone that makes us happy. A body in motion tends to stay in motion; so get up and move and start feeling better today.

Dehydration can cause muscle tightness, trigger headaches, and decrease range of motion. Staying hydrated with water, instead of sugary, high/empty caloric beverages is a must in order to fuel your body.

Nutrition plays a huge role in how you feel. Consuming foods that are highly processed and contain multiple preservatives and toxins can trigger headaches and cause undue inflammation in the body, triggering a flare up and an increase in your pain symptoms.


Cardiovascular safety of NSAIDs BMJ 2011; 342 doi (Published 11 January 2011)
Taking non-aspirin NSAIDs in early pregnancy doubles risk of miscarriage, study shows
BMJ 2011; 343 doi (Published 9 September 2011)
Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5769

About the author:
Dr. Melissa Bartoszewski is a chiropractor at Big D Chiropractic in Dallas, Texas. She is a graduate of New York Chiropractic College. Dr. Bartoszewski is also a raw food and natural healthcare advocate. Follow her on Twitter at PolishChiro and be sure to LIKE her Facebook Fan page at https://www.facebook.com/bigDchiropractic for daily health, exercise, nutrition, wellness, chiropractic tips and much much more!

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