Acetaminophen has been getting a lot of heat for its potentially toxic affects on the liver. This is no good considering that only a few months ago, docs were encouraging these pain-relieving drugs like water. Just a ‘lil info: Acetaminophen is the generic name for a drug found in brands like Tylenol, Vicodin and Percocet. Click here to learn more about acetaminophen and health concerns.
Because of these concerns, it’s likely that the next few years will invite a glut of “safer” analgesic (pain-relieving) drugs to be touted by Big Pharma. This can be a good thing, but I think it’s important that we learn a lesson from acetaminophen.
As these shiny new drugs start to line the shelves, we must remember how long it took to really understand the health consequences from acetaminophen. Often, early research will determine a drug safe and effective—but, 10 or 20 years down the road, health consequences begin to show up.
The newest of these potentially “safer” analgesic drugs is being played with at the University of New Orleans. The new drug claims to be as potent and effective as acetaminophen but without concerns for liver toxicity. (Read the recent study regarding preparation of the analgesic, SCP-123.) This is great, but what about 10 years from now? It might not affect my liver, but what about my muscles? Or brain? Often, these new and “safer” drugs come out of the lab with so much excitement that they are marketed to the public as cure-alls with no side-effects.
Of course, there are situations that may require these drugs. And, if they nurture and heal your body enough to invite you to experience life more fully, then take them. But, be conscious of the side effects and weigh your decision accordingly.
It’s vital that we are all aware of this—even for something as seemingly innocent as acetaminophen. Be sure to ask the question, “Why am I using this?” Often, the best solution to aches and pains is not to mask them with an analgesic like Tylenol. Aches and pains are a message from your body that you may be out of balance.
For example, is it a headache? Would more rest, better posture, relaxing your jaw or ridding your environment of chemical perfumes or air fresheners help? Is it low back pain? Would stretching the hamstrings and glutes and strengthening the core help?
Likely, there is an active solution that you can take to ease or even get rid of aches and pains. But, these take time, patience and dedication. These activities are more involved than popping a few pills. But, the benefits are extensive and when practiced correctly, there are no side-effects.
Additionally, there are many natural options for pain relief. Yoga, acupuncture and more unknown options like the Alexander technique can bring relief. Meditation, specifically a practice called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been shown to significantly reduce pain and ease/heal mental health concerns (try MBSR by clicking here).
Arnica and other herbal and homeopathic options are also available. Supplements like glucosamine and omegas can lubricate and support the joints (just be aware that herbs and supplements are also powerful and may have side-effects or contraindications). Nutritional changes such as limiting your intake of highly refined grains can also help by reducing inflammation in the body.
One of the simplest strategies to decrease muscle and joint pain can be to increase your intake of water. Cut out the soda and add in some room-temperature H2O. It will be absorbed quickly into the body and will nourish the areas that need it.
What are your thoughts? Will these new drugs be free of side-effects? Also, what activities or natural treatments do you use to reduce pain?