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Think before you medicate

Posted May 13 2008 5:32pm

Itis understandable when someone who is in pain reaches for medication to getrelief. It is a mistake to believe that relief does not come with a price, andit is worthwhile to take a little extra effort to treat the pain naturally.Natural health care does not have side effects. Practitioners of natural healthcare seek to find and eliminate the cause of the pain and often get very goodresults.

Researchers in the Netherlandsfound that some migraine medications cause the coronary arteries (the bloodvessels feeding the heart) to contract. Narrowing of the coronary arteriescaused by heart disease may result in chest pain or even heart attacks in anindividual taking certain migraine medications.

Theresearch, published in Circulation: Journal of the AmericanHeart Association (July 7, 1998) studied arteries from organ donors,measuring each artery's ability to contract and relax. They then tested eachdrug's effect on the arteries. The drugs tested included older drugs such asergotamine, dihydroergotamine, methysergide and its metabolitemethylergometrine as well as newer drugs such as sumatriptan, naratriptan,zolmitriptan and rizatriptan. The drugs cause constriction of arteries in thehead, to stop the headache. Unfortunately, the drugs also cause the coronaryarteries to constrict.

People who used either acetaminophenor aspirin regularly were 2.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with chronicrenal failure, compared with individuals who did not use these painkillers. Therisk rose in with the amount of either drug taken over a lifetime, theinvestigators found. This is supported by an article in the New England Journal of Medicine(December 20, 2001;345:1801-1808).An article published in the New York Times (January 29, 2002) covers concern ofNBA players over the regular use of these medications. This is in the wake ofAlanzo Mourning of the Miami Heat developing a kidney disorder and Sean Elliotneeding a kidney transplant. To quote the article, "Many doctors saythat if someone uses anti-inflammatory medicines in excessive amounts over longperiods of time - as some N.B.A. players apparently have, taking three or fourtimes the recommended dose - it can affect kidney function."

According to a recent survey of nearly 700 children and adolescents, morethan one in five were overusing over-the-counter pain medications to relieveheadaches. Often parents weren't aware their kids were using pain relievers. Ofthe children participating in the survey, 41% had migraines, 28% experiencedtension headaches.

Overuse of pain medications was defined by the researchers as using thesedrugs more than three times a week for longer than six weeks. That standard wasmet by 22% of the children surveyed. The results of the survey mirrored similarstudies done on adults.

Other research links pain medications to high blood pressure, kidneyfailure, heart failure, ulceration of the GI tract, and some drugs eveninterfere with bone repair. These drugsalso break down cartilage. One study found that in 2,000 arthritic patients,non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use (NSAID) increased ulcer risk 10-fold.Almost 25% of NSAID users have ulcers, most of which are without symptoms.

There are so many effective natural approaches that drugs should be used asa last resort. There is a CD available from Whole Health America that will educate yourpatients about natural ways to relieve pain.

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