Anti-Inflammatory Pills Newberg OR
Pill Free, Pain Free
By Kristin Bjornsen
A thletes often joke about relying on “vitamin I,” aka ibuprofen, to get through the aches and pains of training. But they’re not the only ones who depend on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief. Every day, more than 30 million Americans take NSAIDs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen for everything from headaches, muscle cramps, and sport injuries to chronic conditions like arthritis, neuropathy, and back pain.
Much of the pain we feel comes from inflammation—a defensive response that causes tissues to swell and amplifies the signal from pain nerves—so reaching for an anti-inflammatory makes perfect sense. NSAIDs do block inflammation-causing enzymes and lower pain. But unfortunately, they come with some pretty serious side effects. With regular use, NSAIDs raise the risk of ulcers, bleeding in the stomach, strokes, heart attack, and kidney damage—in part, by interfering with important, hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins. “I wouldn’t take them on a regular basis for more than a few months, if at all,” says Jonathan Wright, MD, medical director of the Tahoma Clinic in Washington. “Some individuals might even see adverse effects after just a few days.”
No need to grin and bear it though. Nature has provided an array of effective, yet gentle, remedies that decrease inflammation and soothe pain—letting you say bye-bye to vitamin I.
Boswellia. Also known as frankincense, this herb eases both chronic and minor pains. The active ingredients, boswellic acids, decrease the production of inflammatory compounds implicated in many chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Look for a formula standardized to 60 percent boswellic acids, and take 750 mg per day in three divided doses. A 90-percent formulation just came out this year, adds Wright; follow the dosage on the label of this new formula.
Arnica. This centuries-old remedy comes from the bright yellow arnica flower, which grows in the alpine meadows of Europe. Compounds in arnica called sesquiterpene lactones decrease inflammation and boost the immune system.
In a 2007 Swiss study involving more than 200 people with osteoarthritis, a topical arnica gel soothed pain and restored joint function just as well as ibuprofen. Also ideal for acute injuries, such as sprains, strains, bruises, and postoperative healing, arnica cream or gel should be applied three to four times a day. For a one-two punch, take arnica homeopathically at the same time, using remedies of 6c, 12c, or 30c potency—three pellets under the tongue, three times a day.
Curcumin. Often called the “spice of life,” turmeric contains the compound curcumin, which not only blocks inflammatory proteins, but also enhances the body’s ability to quell inflammation. Studies have found curcumin alleviates the chronic pain of rheumatoid arthritis, and numerous animal studies suggest it helps ward off Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes. Take 400 to 600 mg o...
Author: Kristin Bjornsen
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