I was researching something for a patient today and came across some startling numbers. It turns out that there are over 70 million prescriptions written every year for NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and over 30 billion tablets sold over-the-counter each year. WOW! That’s about 22% of the entire population of the US taking at least one prescription of these drugs every year.
This family of medication is so popular that many people forget just how dangerous they are. NSAID’s are responsible for over 107,000 hospitalizations and 16,500 deaths every year due to gastric bleeding and that is a very conservative number because it was only accounting for those taking these drugs for osteoarthritis.
Unfortunately, the public at large seems to think that these medications are as safe as candy and they are quite cavalier about taking them whenever they have the slightest ache. I even know friends who take them before they play a sport just so they won’t be sore after. Let me state unequivocally that post exercise soreness is not due to a drug deficiency!
So if taking these meds isn’t a great option, are there other safer options available? Absolutely!
Start with the Basics
If you read our recent post about the Healing Diet Reset program, you know that what we eat makes a dramatic difference in how much inflammation we have in our bodies. Foods like refined sugar, processed man made foods and even excessive intake of grains are pro-inflammatory while foods like grass-fed beef, wild caught salmon, vegetables and healthy fats are all anti-inflammatory.
Just about all exercise causes a short-term increase in inflammation but there is also compelling research that shows, if done right, exercise reduces chronic and systemic inflammation. So what are we to make of this seemingly contradictory information. Well it turns out that it depends on the type of exercise and maybe more importantly, how well we rest and recover between workouts. While overdoing exercise, especially on already inflamed tissues will simply increase the problem.
One of the best approaches to exercise that maximizes the anti-inflammatory response in the body are called High Intensity Intervals. These short bursts of intense workouts increase the production of human growth hormone and stimulate the production of chemicals that trigger the immune system to decrease inflammation.
Supplements and Herbs
There are some great natural anti-inflammatory foods and herbs that can be taken to further reduce inflammation. Probably the most well known is a compound called curcumin, found in the spice turmeric. Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. My patients often tell me that it works as good, if not better than their ibuprofen pills. And it turns out that it is great for your brain too.
When significant damage has already been done to joints or there is an acute injury there are some impressive new technologies that are available. Where typical injections such as cortisone have been shown to actually accelerate the degeneration of the joint, these newer approaches can actually speed the healing and even regenerate the lost cartilage.
“Prolozone” injections combine several ingredients that work together to stimulate a healing response in the tissues. We use a combination of Marcaine, dextrose, B complex and B-12 and ozone gas to provide concentrated oxygen and vitamins stimulate DNA and growth factors to repair the damaged tissues.
Stem Cell therapy represents the latest forefront of regenerative medicine and as the research continues to develop we are seeing increasing positive results and lowering costs to the public.
We routinely teach classes that are open to the public about the exciting developments in regenerative medicine so contact the office for upcoming dates. If you are suffering from pain, please reach out to us and discuss your situation. We’ll help you put together a comprehensive approach to address the cause and help you heal without the inherent dangers of drugs and surgery.