Q. My cardiologist insists that I have to take low-dose aspirin and Plavix to prevent a heart attack. The trouble is that I have arthritis and bursitis. Because of the Plavix and aspirin I can’t take the usual ibuprofen or naproxen.
Sometimes I cheat, but then I worry that my aspirin won’t work as well as it should to protect my heart. What alternatives can I use to ease my pain?
A. Although NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are the first treatment most people try for joint pain, they can have serious side effects and may undo the benefits of aspirin. Someone in your situation really needs to find a home remedy that will ease your discomfort. Fortunately, there are quite a few that may work, and most will not interact with your heart medicines.
Tart cherries, for example, contain anti-inflammatory compounds. Many readers find them helpful; others are enthusiastic about gin-soaked golden raisins. Grape juice, apple cider vinegar, pineapple extract and herbs such as boswellia, ginger or stinging nettle can all be beneficial. You will learn more about these and other options in the Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis that we are sending you.