Alternatives for ArthritisAvailability: In Stock
You will learn about nondrug alternatives for arthritis with the latest scientific studies to document anti-inflammatory activity. This comprehensive online guide (too long to print) adds the science behind ancient healing traditions.
Do you ever experience a twinge in your knee, shoulder, hip or hand? Tens of millions of people suffer with osteoarthritis (OA).
Many of them use over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen to ease stiffness and reduce discomfort. Some people cannot function without a daily dose of such NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
So, we created an online resource to help people manage joint pain and stiffness without powerful drugs such as steroids like prednisone or NSAIDs such as diclofenac, ibuprofen, meloxicam or naproxen. Such drugs can have serious and sometimes even life-threatening side effects.
Here is a comment on NSAIDs from a reader, Carl, a physician in Charlottesville, VA:
“I am a physician in practice for 35 years. I take 400 of ibuprofen every morning for my mild low back pain. I am otherwise healthy. 400 mg is a modest dose. I have been doing it for a decade (no GI problems).
“Contrary to the recently published evidence on NSAIDs in back pain, it helps a little bit (which is all I really want). I am sure that that getting up and moving is what really helps. I occasionally (every 1-4 wks) take another 200 or 400 mg for different aches or pain (after running 10 miles). If I take more, I notice that nicked skins bleeds a little longer.”
But are NSAIDs a Deal with the Devil?
Many people can take NSAIDs for a few days or even a week or two without getting into trouble. But people with osteoarthritis deal with inflammation and chronic pain that lasts for months and years.
There are serious problems associated with regular use of NSAIDs (whether they are OTC like ibuprofen and naproxen or prescription like celecoxib, diclofenac or meloxicam).
These drugs can cause potentially serious side effects. Most people are aware of problems like heartburn, stomach pain and even bleeding ulcers. Other adverse reactions include high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Then there is fluid retention, kidney and liver damage, irregular heart rhythms (AFib), heart failure, cardiac arrest and blood disorders. Toxic skin rashes can also occur. These hazards seem abstract and irrelevant to most people.
After all, OTC drugs are supposed to be super safe.
The Food and Drug Administration warns health professionals about prescription NSAIDs:
- “The risk of heart attack or stroke can occur as early as the first weeks of using an NSAID. The risk may increase with longer use of the NSAID.
- “The risk appears greater at higher doses…
- “NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke in patients with or without heart disease or risk factors for heart disease…
- “There is an increased risk of heart failure with NSAID use.”
And while many people assume adverse reactions would never happen to them, here are just a few of the reports we have received from visitors to this website:
Walt in Colorado shared this skin story:
“I took NSAIDs for several years due to chronic low back pain. Later in that period of time I started to develop skin lesions on my face. These were absolutely horrible, everything from bleeding pimple-like sores to open ulcers that would not heal.
“I went to about five different dermatologists, plastic surgeons and GP’s during that time. All were mystified. Yes, I filled out my history accurately but no one drew a connection between NSAID use and skin lesions.
“Then one day I did a search which triggered the association. Do your own search: ‘NSAIDS and skin lesions.’ It’s right there, although a rash is more commonly mentioned than lesions. Most people with this issue get them on their hands and arms, but I got them on my face.
“Ten days after withdrawing from NSAID use entirely, my skin had cleared. The one GP I ultimately talked to about this afterwards confirmed the diagnosis and noted that he had seen this in the literature but forgotten about it.”
H. in Nottinghamshire, UK, reported kidney toxicity with NSAIDs:
“My brother took diclofenac for 6 months. Previously he had a full check up, including kidneys. They were fine. His doctor prescribed the drug with no advice. There was no warning relating to kidneys on the paperwork that came with the drug. After 6 months of diclofenac his kidney function had been reduced to 25%.”
Bob in Chapel Hill, NC, wrote:
“I had to stop regular use of naproxen because of kidney damage. After 40 years of practice in orthopedic surgery I had to stop what I thought was ‘Safe'”!
Barb in Idaho has a tragic story:
“I will always believe ibuprofen killed my husband. He took an ibuprofen before doing some work in the back yard. He had complained about a backache and was found deceased in the back yard, later that day.”
When someone dies after taking a medication we have heard this response: “He was old and sick and would have died anyway.” Most people do not make a connection between a medication and an unexpected death.
Go back and read the FDA’s warning to physicians about NSAIDs.
Mary shared this story about her mother and her mother-in-law:
“Both my mother-in law and my mother almost died from ibuprofen. I told the ambulance drivers I thought my mom was bleeding internally. She was, and almost died.”
The FDA’s Double Standard:
If a dietary supplement or herb caused ANY of the side effects listed for NSAIDs, the FDA and the media would be up in arms.
Imagine if there were data demonstrating that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, were discovered to cause high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and heart attacks.
The FDA would demand it be banned immediately.
Obviously, there is a double standard when it comes to NSAIDs.
Finding Safer Options:
What can people do when they face a challenging trade off between pain relief on the one hand and side effects like bleeding ulcers or kidney damage on the other?
That is the reason we wrote The Graedons’ Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis. This information is provided as an online resource. When you buy it, you will be emailed a link just for you that allows you to visit it whenever you wish, as many times as you like. You will be able to read it on any device that you have connected to the internet. We hope you enjoy this new resource and find it helpful.
Some people hope to print their guides. This is too long to print conveniently, but we have published it as a handy size book.