Article written by Barbro Brost, DC, the Brost Clinic, Wayzata

Pain comes in many forms, ranging from a dull ache to sharp stabbing pain.  We have all experienced pain in various forms going through life.  Most low grade pain such as mild strains or sprains we can shrug off, because we know that it will be gone in a day or two.  Sharp pains, when we stub a toe or hit an elbow, disappear quickly but is very intense at the moment.  Of course there is pain from more significant injuries and chronic pain such as from arthritis or other illness.

In our culture we are very quick at swallowing a pain pill to numb the pain. We have all been trained by ads and the media that this pain pill or that are more superior or more long lasting.

We need to rethink this approach because of recent new research.  Harvard research recently published in July 2015 show that NSAIDs drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), and Naproxen (Aleve and Naprosyn) and Celebrex increases the risk of stroke and heart attacks or death from other reasons by 47% in people with high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disease.

So if you are taking blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, or are being treated for more serious heart or cardiovascular disease, the advice is to totally stay away from NSAIDs.  It has previously been known that these medications can also cause gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney damage.

The opioid medications, like Oxycodone and Vicodin, are very addictive and should only be used short term for extreme pain.  Opioids are what they sound like, opium like substances (basically synthetic heroine).  More people are now at drug rehab centers treated for addictions to opioids than for street drugs and alcohol combined!

So what to do if you are in pain?  First of all, pain is not a disease but a signal that there is something wrong.  Sometimes it’s obvious if you just fell or injured yourself.  There are other times when the cause is not so apparent.  Covering up the pain signal can be like turning off the fire alarm instead of looking where the fire is.  It makes more sense to figure out what causes the pain, treat that and the pain will leave naturally.  A good doctor should get to the bottom of the cause and correct it (if possible) instead of leaving the problem to get worse while covering up the pain.  Chiropractic and acupuncture are good resources for most types of pain. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to diagnose and find the cause of pain and treat the cause or refer you to the appropriate health care provider for appropriate treatments.

For home therapy, ice is often as effective than over the counter medications without the side effects and complications.