Pain Reliever Roulette

“Over-the-counter pain relievers are effective in the short term, but they can cause arthritic changes in joints, internal bleeding and even death.”

This will come as no surprise, but in fact “pain” is the most common reason for people to seek medical advice, and pain medicine is the most frequently purchased over-the-counter medication.

Acute pain is something we may experience from injury, and is usually short term as the body heals. Chronic pain, often due to a degenerating condition, as the name implies, is prolonged or long term.

If you experience pain what do you do? Unfortunately many people turn to NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs sold over the counter at the local drugstore. The term NSAIDs may be foreign, you might be more familiar with the brand names: Naprosyn, Aleve, Advil, Motrin, or Nuprin. The problem is that these medications have a long term price tag that most people are not aware of. NSAIDs are effective in the short term but they can cause arthritic changes in joints, internal bleeding and even death.

But wait a minute Dr. Godo. I am taking an NSAID to help with my arthritis. Unfortunately, most people don’t know that NSAIDs block the ability of the cells in cartilage to make new cartilage. Unless we are making new cartilage to replace the old we are actually encouraging arthritis.

A friend of mine who did research in the late 80s told me that when you want to give laboratory animals arthritis to test the anti-arthritic drugs, just give them NSAIDs. They may have a better way to give arthritis to animals these days but the point is clear, NSAIDs caused arthritis in healthy animals.

But it gets worse, according to the July 27, 1998 issue of the American Journal of Medicine, “Conservative calculations estimate that approximately 107,000 patients are hospitalized annually for NSAID related GI ┬ácomplications and at least 16,500 NSAID deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone.”

What is exciting is that researchers are developing natural alternatives that seem to work as good or better. Natural alternatives can be the answer for someone with chronic pain without the dangerous side effects of NSAIDs. Dr. Godo offers many pain reducing strategies.

Chances are they will use one or more in combination to get the fastest results. For example, you may have heard me discuss vitamin D in many contexts; but according to the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, December 9, 2003, vitamin D deficiencies have been indicated as a cause of chronic pain. Further confirmations came from the January 2003 edition of the journal Spine. It showed 83% of the 299 patients studied with chronic low back pain in Saudi Arabia had abnormally low levels of vitamin D. After treatment, clinical improvement in symptoms was seen in the groups that had low levels of vitamin D and in 95% of ALL the patients in the study. Vitamin D deficiency can also be a cause of inflammation, which can further contribute to pain.

Instead of NSAIDs, you can take natural botanical compounds which can be helpful based on your condition and pain level. One that has been a favorite of mine for years is called Sculacia. It comes from TWO different plants skullcap and catechu from Acacia.

This botanical compound provides an all natural patented blend of two different classes of flavonoids that inhibit the expression of pain producing enzymes. These enzymes are the bad guys that all the drug companies gear up to inhibit or reduce. The beauty of this blend of flavonoids is that the “harmful” enzymes are inhibited but it does not block “health promoting, anti-inflammatory” enzymes. Sculacia by Biotics Research Corporation supplies an all natural blend for the joint pain associated with osteoarthritis along with natural blends and a variety of different supplements. Dr. Godo can coach you how to eat healthier, how to use movement and physical therapy to safely reduce inflammation and pain.

We notice more and more in the media how healthy alternatives are becoming the trend. Did you know your clinician has been on the forefront of natural medicine long before it became fashionable? Take advantage of their expertise, ditch the pain and learn to live life well.

Dr. Jason Godo