For mainstream medicine, figuring out how to effectively treat pain can be a real…pain.
This is especially true when doctors persist in ignoring all of the natural approaches for pain management, and slavishly comply with all of the political prohibitions placed on effective pain relievers by big government regulators and armed law enforcement. Suddenly, these doctors find they don’t have many good options left. So it’s no surprise that their desperate patients turn to over-the-counter pain remedies like ibuprofen and even the poisonous, putative pain reliever Tylenol.
I’ve warned you many times before to never take Tylenol (acetaminophen) for any reason. This supposedly “safe” pain reliever remains the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S. Alternatively, I’ve found ibuprofen drugs like Advil and Motrin to be effective pain relievers when nothing else works.
The key is to be vigilant against these drugs’ alarming side effects, and to carefully monitor your dosages.
Ibuprofen, along with aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), and a whole host of prescription drugs, is part of a class of pain relievers known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Many of these drugs came onto the scene during the 1980s and were quickly accepted by people seeking pain relief.
However, NSAIDS are associated with dangerous side effects in the gastrointestinal tract, including ulcers, bleeding, and colon perforations. These drugs can wreak havoc all the way through the average 26-foot length of the GI tract. That’s a lot of territory for damage to occur.
Alarmingly, these problems are not rare. In fact, about 1 to 2 percent of routine NSAID users experience GI complications that are so severe, they have to be hospitalized. i And if you’re older than 65, have a history of peptic ulcers, take NSAIDS and anticoagulants at the same time, or pop an NSAID when you’re taking a daily aspirin, you may be particularly susceptible to these complications.
The good news is, at recommended doses, ibuprofen is the least likely of the NSAIDs to cause these side effects. i But while you don’t want to take too much of this painkiller, you also don’t want to take too little.
Ibuprofen is still available as a prescription pain reliever, and an effective dose is considered to be one or two 800 mg tablets. Compare that to the puny 200 mg in the Advil or Motrin tablets you buy at the drug store. I’ve found that when ibuprofen does not provide fast, effective pain relief, it’s often because the doses in these over-the-counter products are simply too low.
Of course, I always recommend trying natural pain relievers first (see “The problem with pain” in the July 2012 issue of Insiders’ Cures). But if you choose to use NSAIDs, make sure to let your doctor know. You should also keep an eye out for signs of GI bleeding, including dark stools or blood in your toilet.
And remember, if you’re concerned that you may have GI bleeding, you don’t necessarily need a colonoscopy. There are safe, effective, and convenient tests for detecting GI bleeding without the risks, costs, and discomfort of a colonoscopy (see “The hidden, grisly dangers of ‘routine’ colonoscopies” in the September 2013 issue of Insiders’ Cures). Ask your doctor about the alternatives.
i “Food and Drug Administration. Assessment of Safety of Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).” Available at: http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/02/briefing/3882b2_02_mcneil-nsaid.htm. Accessed February 18, 2014.