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Don't Take 2 Asprin -- Try This Instead

You had a long day at work, setting at the computer and talking on the telephone.  Stress is high as lay offs  continue and your work load increases.  As you pull into the driveway of your home and start to get out of the car you experience a shooting pain in your lower back that radiates down your leg.  You go inside and pop two Aleve in your mouth, washing it down with a glass of water. The leaves have started falling from the trees as the day time temperatures begin to drop and the days of fall approach.  It is time to prepare the yard for winter.  Pulling up dying flowers, raking leaves, hauling trash and fertilizing.  By Saturday evening you feel like standing up straight is a chore so you take two Tylenol hoping you will feel better in the morning.  No big deal, right?  WRONG!

The July 1998 issue of The American Journal of Medicine stated the following: "Conservative calculations estimate that approximately 107,000 patients are hospitalized annually for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-related gastrointestinal (GI) complications and at least 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone. The figures of all NSAID users would be overwhelming, yet the scope of this problem is generally under-appreciated."

And again a year later (June 1999) in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine made a similar statement with the same statistics.  More recently in a study reported in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management it stated that over $2  billion dollars were spent in health care costs related to side effects of the use of NSAIDs.
We know these drugs by their more familiar names such as, Aleve, Advil, Tylenol, ibuprofen, and naproxen.  They seem safe and rather benign.  But as the statics above show, they are anything but benign.
 
However, when we are in pain, we need relief.  Below is a list of more natural forms of pain relief that would be well for you to consider taking before grabbing the bottle of NSAIDs.
One of the leading causes of pain in general is inflammation.  Reducing the overall inflammation in the body is an important part of managing pain.  This can be done through the foods we eat, the water we drink, exercise and adequate high quality sleep.  But when lifestyle isn't enough it is important to make sure you have adequate proteolytic enzymes in the body.  These enzymes help fight inflammation... dissolve scar tissue... cleanse and thin the blood... plus even boost cardiovascular, respiratory and immune function.
 
Bromelain is a natural compound extracted from pineapple and papaya and contains several proteolytic enzymes that have been proven to short-circut pain pathways in the body.  In one study done with 100 patients, 77 of them reported a significant decrease in swelling and pain after taking bromelain.
 
One of my own personal experiences with bromelain was when I delivered my fourth son by c-section.  When I returned to the doctors office for my one week check up I was back to full activity with no pain from the surgery.  The doctor remarked that the incision was completely healed and that he had never seen anyone heal so quickly.  He asked what my secret was.  I told him I had started taking bromelain two days prior to the surgery and every day, including the surgery day, since.  At first he looked skeptical but then had to admit my healing was amazing.  Since then I always have a bottle of it on hand.
 
Turmeric has the unique ability of using its antioxidant powers to seek out and destroy free radicals in the body which contribute to pain and swelling.  A study done at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research Center in New York reports they found that Tumeric was not only more safe but also more precise in treating pain and swelling than any of the NSAIDs they tested.
 
Papin is unique in that it has been shown to attack tumor cells as well as boosting the immune function. It has a wide range of proteolytic enzymes and helps with digestion.  Therefore it is recommended for anyone suffering from pain or inflammation from GI or digestive disorders.  Most people do not have adequate supplies of the variety of enzymes papin delivers so it would be wise to supplement this product into your diet.
 
Devil's Claw has been studied extensively.  In one study coming out of Germany it was shown to be as effective in treating arthritis pain as the commonly used drug, phenylbutazone...which is so strong it is even used to treat pain in large animals such as horses, but without all the side effects of phenylbutazone.
 
Boswelia is another herb used to treat pain and inflammation primarily in Indian medicine.  There have been hundreds of studies done proving how effective it is and how safe it is.  But in addition to its ability to fight inflammation it has been proven to support healthy blood circulation.
 
In a randomized, double blind placebo controlled study Boswelia was given to 30 patients.  333 mg were given three times a day.  These patients reported a significant reduction in pain and swelling but also they measured an increase in joint mobility and flexibility compared to the placebo group.
 
So for those days when you need relief from pain and swelling, try reaching for these alternative healthy choices for your relief.  If suffer from chronic pain and on going consider making an appointment with our naturopathic doctor, Dr. Bennett to find out how to start decreasing the systemic inflammation in your body.  You may also want to consider scheduling a complimentary evaluation by Dr. Verma to see if your pain can be reduced by manual manipulation or treatment by a laser.  Dr. Bennett and Dr. Verma can work together to help you reduce pain once and for all.

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