by Ruth A. McKinney, DC
Pain isn’t always a bad thing. It’s actually your body’s way of telling you when something isn’t right. Pain that has been present for only a few days is considered acute. Chronic pain lasts much longer, usually at least several months or longer. Either way, it’s important to pay attention to these warnings and take appropriate action.
Numerous over the counter and prescription medications are available for pain relief. While it’s tempting and easy to turn to these, they come with a price. The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) warns that people who take NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen) have a higher risk for stroke and heart attacks. The risk increases the longer these drugs are used. NSAIDs are also linked to stomach ulcers and bleeding.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is used to treat fever and pain, but it doesn’t reduce inflammation. While it’s gentler on the stomach, it much easier to overdo this over the counter medication. It is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States. Hundreds of products contain acetaminophen, and combining them can cause inadvertent overdose.
Stronger medication is available in the form of opioids. They safely help control acute pain, such as pain you experience after surgery. Side effects include constipation, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and addiction. Opioids are among the most dangerous prescription pain medication because they are so addictive.
Everyone experiences pain differently. Pain can impact us on a physical, psychological and emotional level. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends trying different methods of pain relief including non-prescription remedies and procedures as first steps.
There are many types of pain, and many types of relief from pain. It’s not a one-size fits all process. Many health care providers offer effective alternatives for treatment of acute and chronic pain. For musculoskeletal problems Chiropractic care is extremely effective at managing the cause of pain. Treatment in a Chiropractic setting might include manipulation, therapy modalities, and exercise.
A number of easy do it yourself treatments are also available. Topical creams and gels containing menthol create an icy hot sensation that blocks pain signals from reaching the brain. Depending on whether the condition is acute or chronic, cold or hot packs can block pain signals. They also reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to promote healing. In addition, research also shows that exercise helps to reduce pain levels.
It’s important to understand the full range of options for muscle and joint pain relief – and the associated risks and side effects. Even if being pain free isn’t possible, it’s critical to use the safest, most effective solutions for your circumstances.
To learn how Chiropractic provides safer pain relief call our office at 423-485-8480.
When it comes to your health, we’ve got your back!