A box of Aleve (naproxen sodium) capsules 220mg (NSAID), pain relief

Pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. But physicians often face a dilemma when they treat joint pain, back pain or muscle spasms with prescription pills. Drugs that relieve pain effectively frequently carry frightening side effects, especially over the long term.

Problems with NSAIDs for Pain Relief:

Doctors usually rely on a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), meloxicam (Mobic) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) to treat arthritis or other inflammatory diseases. But these pills can harm the kidneys and increase the possibility of a heart attack or stroke if they are used for more than a short time.

Limited Pain Relief from Steroid Joint Injections:

Likewise, steroids such as prednisone or methylprednisolone calm inflammation well but pose hazards even in short term use. What about steroid injections? New research demonstrates that repeated injections into an arthritic knee do not help the pain, but they do speed cartilage loss. Arthroscopic surgery, though extremely popular, is not supported by research data either.

Will Home Remedies Provide Pain Relief?

As a result, people in pain find themselves in a difficult situation. Should they try home remedies for pain relief? Perhaps. Sometimes simple remedies can work reasonably well in the short term. Recent scientific advances in the study of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels help explain how some old-fashioned approaches work.

Your Calls Are Welcome:

Have you found medicines that allow you to manage your pain well? Which remedies have you found helpful? Have you experienced any troubling side effects from taking-or even from stopping-the drugs you have used for pain relief? We are interested in your stories, and we’ll do our best to answer your questions. Tune in Saturday, May 20, 2017, from 7 to 8 AM EDT or call 1-888-472-3366. You can also reach us through email (radio@peoplespharmacy.com) or Twitter @peoplespharmacy.

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Air Date:May 20, 2017

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  12. 12Show 1080: What Works for Pain Relief and Why

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  1. JP Saleeby, MD
    South Carolina

    CuraPhen by EuroMedica works wonders. So do topical Pain Creams that put the medicine right where the problem is. Compounding pharmacies can help formulate a wide array of topical creams and gels for pain. Very cost effective when compared to what is commercially available.

    • Terry Graedon

      CuraPhen is a form of curcumin, BCM-95. It should help with inflammation.

  2. Maureen
    South Carolina

    I used to have knee pain, too. One of your callers found relief by taking deep water aerobics. My instructor recommended facing the side of the pool, stabilizing yourself by hanging on to the pool side, and kicking as hard as you can by kicking backward; try to hit your self in the behind. I started this treatment about 4 to 5 years ago. I am completely pain free. Every time that I feel a twinge in my knee, I repeat this exercise for several days. You do the exercise for a minute or two several times. I try to remember to do this exercise once a month. I believe that this exercise strengthens the muscles on each side of the knee, thereby stabilizing it.
    Thanks for your broadcast; I listen to it every Saturday morning on SCETV.

  3. Kj
    North Carolina

    Both my spouse and I have used DMSO for persistent pain. He had persistent pain in his pinkie finger; one touch of DMSO .. it was gone. I have used it for similar pain for unknown reasons that persisted, for example on my knee. Sometimes I touch the spot; sometimes I just touch it onto my heel; it has always worked. (Cautions are to avoid over-use. We have used it rarely; good results have persisted, too.)

  4. Heather C.

    Hi. Years ago I hurt my back at work where there was no workers’ comp. I suffered for years until I HAD to have surgery. It helped the leg pain but I will forever have pain in my back. And now have pain in my good leg! I have seen doctors that didn’t care. All about the money. I gave up. But, NSAIDs further aggravated ulcer. I found CBD and Kratom! Best thing I could have ever done! Relief at last!

  5. Janice

    DMSO is good for pain that is not real severe. I don’t have extreme pain. I have used it sublingual, under the tongue on a Q tip and I have rubbed it on the painful area. I have heard it said that it will make you smell like oysters but no one ever told me that. It has been used by veterinarians for many years but has never been taken serious as a medicine for people because it can’t be marketed for big bucks. I doubt that you can patent it. I bought mine on Amazon. Read Jim Humbles stuff about cures using his preparation and you will see how the DMSO can penetrate skin even to carrying substances into cells. It has been effective on me for gum and tooth soreness and speeds healing of an open sore. Cleared a pimple quickly and took away muscle pain.

  6. Gaylene

    I used hyalauronic acid capsules for relief from my bone-on-bone knee condition. It was very helpful. I would still get very stiff after sitting even for a short while. I eventually had my knee replaced but am still using the hyalauronic acid since my doctor said I have arthritis in other areas of my body. I also used Osteo BioFlex Triple Strength.

  7. Joan

    I’ve been in pain for over 15 years now. 8years ago my Dr.wife had died giving birth so he stopped practice for awhile. Without telling anyone was on 15mg.Oxycodones 4Times a day,&2/10mg.Valium’s a day.went to new Dr.who didn’t want to deal with chronic pain.

    After having cellulites for 8months with every antibiotic there is he dumped me dead heat with no meds at all.I had seizure s 6months after from the Valium withdrawal. Not to mention the opiate dropping. because I was scared to have injections since.2/ back Dr.had 2 responses one said no quarentee.it work and.2one wasn’t d to try it.I was scared.now I have.severe hip bursitis. With.back problems that are dangerous.still no pain meds.given.its outrageous that us told people with.severe pain are suffering.because Dr.gave opiates to young kids.Someone.has to cars what can I do..I’m ready to be dead instead if this worthless painful life

  8. Rich

    Emu oil works to some degree. Started with Blue Emu then found 4 oz pure emu, free range emu oil on line for $20. No “fillers” made by Swanson. Goes far being an oil. I use it on wrists…have carpal tunnel….using it til i get the surgery done. Seems to calm the inflammation. I would buy it again

  9. Barton
    Scott Depot WV

    I cannot figure out how to listen to your podcasts

  10. christine

    I would like to hear information on drugs for pain as I have been suffering for 12 years I’ve tried everything but nothing helps

  11. Gerri

    Turmeric/Curcumin works for me. Nothing else comes close. I have been taking this combination for nearly 4 years now and have not had any arthritic pain or stiffness and I am 82 years old. It doesn’t work overnight, so stay with it and you will see results shortly. My doctor takes it to prevent dementia, so it has other benefits as well.

  12. Jan

    Have you tried infrared sauna’s for pain relief?

  13. charlotte

    im very interested but what station

  14. Becca

    I have arthritis in both my knees. However, on my left knee, I have bone on bone on the inside of the knee, the outside I have minimal cartilage and not bone on bone yet. I was taking Advil to relieve pain but a few weeks ago stopped taking the Advil.

    I have found much better relief from pain using the Tens Unit Pain Releiving System (Electronic Stimulator) twice a day for 15-20 minute intervals. This helps with relieving inflammation/fluid on my knee. I also use ice and sometimes heat for pain. After the Tens treatment, I apply a topical pain reliever (roll-on) that contains 4 pain relievers including Camphor, Capsaicin, Menthol, and Methyl Saicylate which is very effective. I have found that I do not need to take the Advil or any other drug for pain.

    I also am undergoing Hylagan injections, a gel, that helps cushion the cartilage in my knees which also aids in pain relief. Where I used to have a pain level of greater than 10, I am happy to report I am down to a 1 and some days a O. Thank goodness there are natural alternatives!

  15. Angel53

    I forgot to mention that once when I had done a lot of gardening, and my arms were sore because of that, I just sprayed my arm muscles with the solution and all the pain was gone.
    It is great for a lot of different pain.

  16. Malcolm
    PanamaCity Fl

    My knees were why I started taking glucosamine & chondroitin almost 20 years ago. I was reduced to riding the electric carts at WalMart and walking with 2 canes. It has been so long that I don’t even connect G&C with knees any more and vary the dose and that of curcumin for my hands and neck which are responding nicely.

  17. Lenore

    Dr. Said bad knees & inflammation causing my pain.
    Gave 2 weeks anti-inflammation drugs & a mother pill to protect my stomach from those pills. At end of two weeks my stomach started hurting and continued for almost week. Then suddenly it felt fine.
    The pills were real eye opener as far as pain disappearing…except for knees…..legs & back felt great.
    So, not wanting to tear up my stomach, I went to health food store and was given a combo of curcumin & boswellia with DLPA.
    Worked as well as the doctor’s drugs. So ask him if could try that till next visit in a month. Hope to continue. The health store said no side effects and know several people who take it….one with permission of doctor who is from India and says that is used in his country.

    • Terry Graedon

      Do check what we have written about curcumin…it is great, but it can have some side effects (some people are allergic; others find it gives them stomachache) and may interact with anticoagulants.

  18. TOM

    I took Aleve capsules, 1 a day for 6 weeks and developed 3 ulcers in my stomach. I awoke to bleeding stool. Went to ER, and doc cauterized all three ulcers. One wasn’t fully cauterized and kept bleeding. Re-cauterized 2 days later. Lost 3 pints of blood. Was in hospital for 5 days. Liquid diet, lost 10 lbs. Low duration diet for 30 days. All is now well. I asked the doc what percent he though the Aleve had to do with the ulcers, and he replied “99 percent sure” they caused the ulcers. Some can, some can’t take Aleve. Be aware.

  19. Doug
    Richardson, Tx

    I can tell you that there is only one thing that affects(positively) almost any pain I have. I am 72 yrs old, try to play basketball 2-3 times a week, play golf 2-3 times a week and workout on machines for 20 minutes 3 times a week. 4 years ago I took Cipro and I can tell you that it attacks my legs relentlessly at times………….as if all the tendons are torn and the pain, besides impairing me physically can be quite debilitating. This happens out of the blue with no seeming reason. I also have some arthritis in my knees. When I want to do something to get through the pain I take 3 EXTRA STRENGTH EXCEDRIN. I have tried them all, Aleve, IB Prof, Tylenol, even OxyContin but the Excedrin is the only one that allows me to participate at times when the pain seems almost overwhelming. Hope this helps

  20. Tomi

    My arthritis is greatly diminished by drinking cheery juice concentrate, I drink about a tablespoon of Cherry Works concentrate every night. This helps immensely. My father drinks the cherry juice from the grocery store, an organic brand, and this helps him.

  21. Marilynn
    NE Illinois

    I had MCL sprains in both knees as a result of too much power washing a deck (having trouble controlling the water), and my orthopedic doctor recommended exercises with a physical therapist. She did not help me tho, so I tried things on my own.

    I watch the TV evenings, half sitting, half lying on my couch, (upright keeps my sinuses clear, but sitting alone is NG because I’m very short and the couch forces me to slouch-uncomfortably for my back). So what I did was put a small pillow under my knees, both on the couch and in bed. It took a few weeks, but the pillow relieved immediately and in a few weeks, all pain was gone. It has never returned.

    So here I am, at 83, with NO knee pain!

  22. DEBRA

    Physician: Dr. Minerva Santos, director of integrative medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York. Recommended Remedy: Turmeric for joint pain.

  23. Matt

    Great show. I’m a pain pharmacist and look forward to hearing what people are saying around the nation

  24. Nancy

    Hi Folks, I have found that the spice Turmeric taken by capsule or sprinkled on my food was the answer to my back pain. My doctor had given me a script for Celebrex, which I did not have to take. I still use turmeric every day without any side effects! I also tried DoTerra’s Deep Blue rub on my back. This I use almost daily as well. It has a nice smell and really helps my back.

  25. Marie H
    Raleigh NC

    I use in combination Tumeric, Devils Claw, and Boswellia. Nothing else. Over the counter pain relievers are seemingly a cure all for many; they want a quick fix but this comes with a price. As I have gotten older, (and wiser)..it is my stance that the dangers OTC drugs bring needs to be conveyed loud and clear to the public.

  26. Luke

    Motrin works very well for me. I only take one tablet a day though which is like 200 mg.
    Since I started riding my bike everyday and started eating properly and lost 25 pounds I don’t need it daily like I used to. Weight loss and exercise is best medicine.

  27. Sheila

    About two years ago I began having pain in my right leg. It turned out to be lumbar stenosis. I finally had an injection and was pain free. Once in a while I had a bit of pain and read about Boswellia, an herbal pain reliever. For me it is a wonder drug! I cannot take either Naproxin or Motrin because I have a severe allergic reaction. I am a firm believer in trying herbal medicine first.

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