Tag Archives: NSAID

Headaches – An Informative Post

There are many different types of headaches, but of all the people with headaches out there 90% of them have cervicogenic (tension) headaches.  These are headaches caused by a poorly functioning neck.  These are usually described as tightness, stiffness, or a pressure.

There are other kinds of headaches, migraines for example are periodic, severe, throbbing headaches that usually last more than a few hours, but less than a day.  They can make the sufferer sensitive to light and sound, and cause nausea even vomiting.  Migraines affect women more often than men.  Migraines are commonly heard of and talked about because of their severity, but are much more rare than cervicogenic headaches.

Billions of dollars are spent on headaches each year in the United States.  Headaches are a major cause of lost productivity and time off work.  One of the top reasons for seeking treatment, headaches are big money for drug companies, and big losses to businesses.

People can end up with a headache from stress, a car accident, whiplash, or any kind of trauma.  Headaches can occur a day or even weeks after the initial injury due to the cumulative nature of those kinds of injuries.  Many people think their headaches come on for no reason at all, but if they think back they will remember an accident, increased stress, playing to hard on the weekend, or something a few days ago.

Treatment for headaches traditionally has been over the counter analgesics and NSAIDS, and even stronger medications for more severe symptoms.  These medications can cause serious side effects, and recent studies indicate that we as a country may be over using these to the extent that thousands of people have serious complications every year from these relatively safe drugs.  Many times these pain medications do not work, and can even cause what is termed “analgesic rebound headaches.”

Chiropractic has a great success rate with treating headaches.  It has been found to be better at providing pain relief (with less side effects) and reducing frequency than medication.  Chiropractic addresses the root cause rather than just the symptoms.  When treating your headaches your chiropractor (which could be me if you’re in Utah) should be addressing 3 major things: First reducing the pain, second improving neck function overall, and third proper strengthening of the neck to reduce future risk of re-injury.  While chiropractic is particularly good at resolving cervicogenic headaches it has also been shown to be effective with some types of migraines, and other headaches.

If you are experiencing headaches, don’t reach for that Aspirin bottle.  Reach for the phone and contact your chiropractor.  You will receive better, safer relief, and have less chance of recurrence.

Your Choice for Pain Relief?

The FDA has fought any changes “because senior FDA managers saw them as too offensive to Johnson & Johnson.” However, last week the FDA changed the requirements for the number one pain medication in the United States, acetaminophen.  The new labels will be adding a warning for patients.  Unfortunately, to the general public, over the counter is interpreted as SAFE.  Any drug can hurt you.  You should always use medication as prescribed to reduce your risk.  Even when used as prescribed however drugs can be dangerous.  That is the reason for this new warning.

Acetaminophen is the number one cause of liver failure in the US and has been for some years. Even at recommended doses acetaminophen has been found to cause dangerous liver damage.

“Acetaminophen, sold under the brand name of Tylenol, is widely regarded as the safest pain reliever available, yet the drug accounts for 100,000 calls to poison control centers, 56,000 emergency room visits, 26,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths annually.”  -Healthfacts

Those numbers are relatively small risk. It is estimated that 100 million people in the US use acetaminophen so the risk of death statistically is about 1/250,000.  Statistics are always hard to grasp and are very misleading.  My numbers, for example, are taken from different articles and different years, so are only approximate.  The number of deaths also is more than just accidental overdoses, but it gives you an approximate idea of how dangerous even over the counter pain drugs can be.

The big concern is the accidental overdoses.  Because people don’t realize that they are overdosing when they take a NSAID for pain and something for their cold.  This is especially true when both medications are “safe.”  There are also increased dangers when people take these after drinking all night to reduce a hangover, or when they haven’t really eaten well in days.

The new labels are only required to list the danger of gastrointestinal bleeding and liver damage in bold.  They leave out the increased risks of high blood pressure and other controversial issues.

So the question is what should the millions of people with pain do? Many groups and websites discuss this question, and the risks and benefits.  The one thing that I haven’t seen them present is the option of chiropractic.  Even in the worst studies chiropractic has been found to be ONLY as good as these medications for everyday aches and pains.  The difference is that chiropractic doesn’t have the major side effects, addresses the underlying problem,  and the risks involved in chiropractic are much lower.