If you suffer from pain or inflammation it’s commonplace to use ibuprofen, aspirin, or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). However, just because they’re easy to access doesn’t mean they’re safe. Past studies have shown NSAIDs increase the risk of heart attack but more recent research shows taking any dose of NSAIDs for one week, one month, or more than a month was associated with an increased risk of heart attack.
The larger your dose the higher your risk and the risks of short-term use were roughly equivalent with longer term use.
Daily usage the following for 8 to 3o days increases heart attack risk:
- 200 mg or more of celecoxib
- 100 mg or more of diclofenac
- 1200 mg or more of ibuprofen
- 750 mg or more of naproxen
Keep in mind these are low dosages. The recommended dose of ibuprofen for menstrual pain is 1200 mg — the same dose seen to raise heart attack risk — while 3200 mg is prescribed for arthritis pain or fever.
Is Taking Aspirin Daily Safe?
Daily use of aspirin is commonly recommended to stop an impending heart attack, but aspirin’s heart benefits may be overshadowed by other concerns.
A 2018 study found the use of low-dose aspirin as a prevention strategy in older adults resulted in a much higher risk of major hemorrhage and did not lower the risk of cardiovascular disease anymore than a placebo.
NSAID Risks Go Beyond Heart Attack
NSAIDs can have serious side effects, including abdominal pain, nausea, indigestion, and abdominal bleeding.
Other common side effects include:
- Mild headache
- Difficulty concentrating
NSAID Use and Leaky Gut
NSAIDs also promote leaky gut. In leaky gut, inflammation damages the lining of the small intestine, causing it to become overly porous. This allows undigested food and pathogens such as bacteria and toxins to pass into the bloodstream, triggering inflammation and pain throughout the body.
Dampen Pain Without Pills
Pain and chronic inflammation is common among Americans due to poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, excess toxins, sleep deprivation, undiagnosed autoimmunity, and other common factors of modern life.
In functional medicine, we address pain from its root causes. Pharmaceutical drugs may be necessary at times but you can reduce pain and inflammation without taking drugs.
Anti-inflammatory diet. This diet excludes foods known that trigger inflammation. Common inflammatory foods include gluten, sugars, processed oils, eggs, dairy, nightshades, and nuts.
Sleep. Sufficient sleep is one of the best ways to reduce pain and inflammation. To improve sleep and lower inflammation, work on balancing your blood sugar.
Yoga and meditation. Mindfulness practices help quiet the brain so the body can heal.
Hydration. Dehydration adds to chronic pain. The best way to hydrate is to drink small bits all day long. Minimize caffeine and alcohol, which are diuretics.
Moderate exercise can reduce inflammation and pain; overdoing exercise will worsen it.
Turmeric and resveratrol. Powerful anti-inflammatories that work best together.
Support glutathione. The body’s master antioxidant, glutathione helps lower inflammation.
White willow bark is commonly used in place of aspirin for inflammation and pain.
Test for the root cause. Sometimes the cause of pain isn’t obvious and you need to look for nutrient deficiencies, chronic infections, hormonal imbalances, toxic burdens, and other factors that contribute to chronic pain.
Using functional medicine to address chronic pain can turn your life around. Ask my office for more information.
How to Learn if You Have Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid
Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact my office.
About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician — Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and New Mexico Functional Medicine
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here.