NSAIDs: The Painful Truth Behind Painkillers (Infographic)

March 6, 2016 Updated: March 7, 2016

Are you or someone important to you suffering from pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, headaches, or a physical injury? Chronic pain can be very crippling, and it’s natural for anyone to seek ways to relieve it. Millions of Americans who suffer from chronic pain take painkillers and believe it to be one of the primary methods for pain relief.

Today, 60 million Americans rely on a class of painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, unaware that these medications can actually cause more harm than good.

NSAIDs Side Effects: The Risks They Don’t Tell You About

Numerous studies link NSAIDs to detrimental side effects. Each year, over 100,000 people given an NSAID prescription are hospitalized, and about 15,000 succumb to death.

In 2000, Vioxx, a potent non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, was released in the market. A year before Vioxx was approved, I already warned the public about the cardiovascular risks associated with the drug. It took four years and 60,000 deaths (due to heart-related side effects) before warnings were heeded and Vioxx was removed from the market.

But it didn’t stop there. In 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautioned the public that NSAIDs, such as Cox-2 inhibitors Bextra (which was removed from the market in 2005) and Celebrex, along with other over-the-counter varieties like Aleve, Ibuprofen, and aspirin, all potentially lead to cardiovascular problems, GI bleeding, kidney problems, and increased blood pressure.

Pregnant women were especially warned against using NSAIDs. A study reported that prescription and OTC non-aspirin NSAIDs, such as diclofenac, naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), and ibuprofen (Advil), increased their risk of miscarriage. These drugs suppress the production of prostaglandins that are needed for successful implantation of the embryo in the womb. 

Other pregnancy-related side effects linked to NSAIDs include heart problems in the offspring, low amniotic fluid, and prolonged labor.

Be Pain-Free… Naturally!

The bottom line is, using a drug can come at a dear cost for your health. The good news is there are many other ways to get rid of pain without resorting to NSAIDs or other painkillers.

There are several natural approaches to addressing chronic pain. My newest recommendation is astaxanthin, due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties. Other natural anti-inflammatory options you can take, which will not induce any health hazard, are:

  • Ginger – Works best when steeped in boiling water as tea or grated into vegetable juice
  • Curcumin – Active compound of the spice turmeric 
  • Omega-3 fat from high-quality krill oil
  • Bromelain – An anti-inflammatory enzyme that naturally occurs in pineapples
  • Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO) – Found in fish and dairy butter, this is used for relieving carpal tunnel syndrome and ganglion cysts
  • Evening primrose, black currant, and borage oils – Contain the fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which helps relieve arthritis pain
  • Cayenne cream – Derived from hot peppers
  • Yoga, acupuncture, meditation, hot and/or cold pack application, and even the simple act of holding hands

More than anything, I firmly believe having a healthy lifestyle will eliminate the need for pain-relieving drugs, as your lifestyle choices can contribute to or help prevent any chronic condition. The first crucial step is completely avoiding NSAIDs and other painkillers – as well as other unnecessary drugs and medical procedures.