Vail Daily column: Healthy ways to deal with inflammation
July 12, 2010
Inflammation is a natural response to an injury. Anyone who has ever been injured or burned, fallen down, been stung or bitten is at least on some level familiar with inflammation. Most people today generally take (NSAIDS) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Tylenol, Aleve, Motrin, Advil, Ibuprofen or aspirin to treat their pain, which can include headaches, backaches, muscle pain, strains, sprains, menstrual cramps etc. It is estimated that Americans consume $2 billion dollars per year in NSAIDS painkillers. But NSAIDS should not be taken for long periods of times or daily. Studies show that NSAIDS actually cause 70 percent of acute liver failure when taken long term or combined with alcohol.
NSAIDS have also been shown to raise blood pressure. Other side effects of NSAIDS are stomach pain and bleeding, muscle pain, tinnitus, diarrhea and constipation. Of particular concern are patients with arthritic conditions. More than 14 million such patients consume NSAIDs regularly. Up to 60 percent will have gastrointestinal side effects related to these drugs and more than 10 percent will stop recommended medications because of troublesome gastrointestinal symptoms. NSAIDs can also cause extreme allergic reactions, especially in people with asthma. Experts aren’t sure why. Many specialists recommend that people who have asthma stay away from any NSAID, especially if they have sinus problems or nasal polyps.
Many athletes will take NSAIDS before training and after training to reduce pain and inflammation. Studies show that NSAIDS actually hinder joint repair and can break down cartilage. The key to treating any injury is reducing inflammation as quickly as possible because the longer one has pain and inflammation the more damage that happens to the area. When you develop any injury and develop pain and inflammation it is always best to stop what you are doing. Pain is a warning sign that you are causing damage to the area and by continuing the activity, you are causing more damage. Immediately rest, ice the area, wrap it with an ace bandage and elevate the area. This alone can bring down a lot of the inflammation.
There are many natural anti-inflammatories that are very effective for inflammation without the side effects. These can include arnica, traumeel, ginger, bromelian, quercetin, glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids. Diet can also affect our inflammatory response. Alcohol, white flour products and sugar can cause inflammation, especially in individuals with arthritis. It is always best to determine the cause of your inflammation and then treat it accordingly. Depending on your injury, a naturopathic physician can help you avoid repeated injury to the area, suggest ways to prevent further injury to your joints and help you treat the inflammation as effectively as possible.