I have to say that being a holistic doctor and knowing the side affects of medicines, ninety-nine percent of the time I will opt for herbs over drugs. And then there will be that moment of weakness when I have a pain, a cramp a something and I reach for the Advil, my favorite over the counter drug by far to relieve that pain, and I have to say a little Advil goes a along way!
Having said that Advil can cause stomach ulcers and bleeding, it can harm your kidneys as well and so I always have to ask myself, is there a better alternative? Today I found this article in The LA TImes and I thought it was quite interesting and so I must share…
Basically they looked at the effect of OTC pain killers used by many athletes. The studies looked at more than 50 runners, all of whom took ibuprofen regularly leading up to the race. About half of the athletes took a 600 milligram dose of ibuprofen the day before the race and then 1,200 mg on race day — a 200 mg tablet about once every four hours. The other group of runners remained drug-free from the day before the race until a week later.
The researchers performed blood and urine tests. The results were striking.
After the race, runners who had taken ibuprofen showed signs of mild kidney impairment as well as mild endotoxemia, a potentially dangerous condition in which bacterial toxins present in the large intestine get into the bloodstream, reported in 2006 in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.
The drug also failed to help performance or recovery, the researchers reported in that paper and others. Both groups of runners reported equivalent amounts of pain during the race. Their times were the same. And afterward, their muscles were equally sore.
Most ironic, runners on ibuprofen actually had 50% more inflammation in their bodies after the race, even though athletes often choose to take the drug to fight inflammation.
Scientists don’t yet know whether ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers (NSAIDs) have the same negative consequences in more moderate exercisers. But there is cause for concern. “I think there’s no safe time for exercisers to take ibuprofen,” says the author. “Until we know more, I tell athletes, ‘Don’t use it.’ More than anything, it just doesn’t work.”
Bottom line is that over time, though, excessive use of painkillers — including acetaminophen — can lead to rebound pain, pain which comes back as soon as the drug wears off. As medicines seem to become less and less effective, people become more and more dependent on their ability to self-medicate, and the risks for overdosing grow.
Maybe herbs versus drugs is not such a bad idea after all…The next time I have that 1% itch to pop a pill, I have to say that it I will be reaching for my arnica and willow bark instead!