NSAID’s and Chronic Pain ~ Know the Risks

A part of Chronic Pain for many, in some way, shape or form is connected to inflammation. Inflammation occurs naturally as the body’s response to many types of injuries, infections and organ, tissue and cellular disturbances. More often then not- if something is awry in the body, the body goes into inflammation-mode, bringing the message of distress to the body-owner (the pain signal) and the rush of needed blood and cellular activity (which we experience as swelling, heat and redness) to initiate the body’s healing process.

NSAID’s (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories) were developed and are commonly used today to decrease inflammation including to lower fevers and reduce swelling.

Many NSAID’s are readily available over-the-counter and others require a prescription, but they can all have serious results and side effects. For those who live in Chronic Pain, taking NSAID’s regularly and/or taking more than recommended, even rarely, can have serious consequences…

Basic NSAID Information

  • Traditional NSAIDs include aspirin, Ibuprofen (examples include Advil and Motrin) and Naproxen (examples include Aleve and Midol); these are all available in generic form.
  • “COX-2 Inhibitors” (like Celebrex, Bextra and the now withdrawn Vioxx) are a newer brand of NSAID that was invented to address the stomach issues that many experience with the more traditional NSAIDs.
  • Used to treat fever, menstrual cramps, mild to moderate pain and helps to relieve the other symptoms inflammation: swelling, stiffness and joint pain.

The Risks of and Concerns over NSAIDs

  • Mixing NSAIDs with certain vitamins and dietary supplements, herbs and medications can be dangerous. Please be sure to check with your Dr. before taking NSAIDs if you are using any of the aforementioned.
  • The use of NSAIDs can cause serious side-effects especially if you have a history of any of the following: Anemia, Heart Problems/Disease, High Blood Pressure, Bleeding or Clotting, Liver and/or Kidney Disease, Ulcers and/or Stroke
  • NSAIDs can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke
  • Side-Effects include stomach problems such as upset and bleeding, kidney problems, high blood pressure, swelling caused by fluid retention, especially in the lower extremities and hands and too, allergic reactions including unexplained rashes

Background Information on Inflammation

  • Inflammation is the body’s normal, healthy response to injury and disease. It helps the body to get rid of/kill any pathogens and helps the body to begin the repair process. It should then stop.
  • The 5 signs of inflammation are swelling, heat, redness, pain and/or loss of function.
  • It can be caused by a number of different factors including those of a physical origin (examples include injuries, burns, introduction of foreign matter into the body, sun-burn and frostbite), biological origin (examples include infection by pathogens, chemical irritants and exposure to toxins including alcohol and the tar and additives found in cigarettes) and psychological origin (examples include stress and over-excitement).
  • A large number of human diseases involve an underlying inflammatory abnormality and the immune system is often involved with inflammatory disorders. Examples of disorders associated with inflammation include Asthma, Diverticulitis, Ostearthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriasis, to name a few.

Besides injury, illness and disease, other factors that can contribute to and paradoxically, can also help to address inflammation issues include dietary factors, exercise, sleep, night-shift work and stress.

Author: ChronicPainDailyReflections

I manage a web-site, Chronic Pain Daily Reflections.com, created for and in support of those living in chronic pain. The site helps with the day-to-day spiritual, mental, emotional and physical needs of those with constant pain, whatever its source.