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Pain and Drugs and Acupuncture

Pain and Drugs and Acupuncture

Terms for today’s blog entry:
NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Acupuncture – a non-drug approach to pain management

Studies have shown that acupuncture relieves pain! A recent study suggests that use of some pain medication can increase our risk for myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, or death. Sounds like trying acupuncture is a win-win situation. You eliminate pain and your heart stays healthy.

The world of pain management today is complex, more so than in the 1500’s where relieving a woman’s childbirthing pain was a crime worthy of execution. Today, doctors are obligated to treat a patient’s pain, and that is often done with drugs.

A recent medical article concludes that many of the NSAIDs used today increase our risk of heart attack, stroke or death by cardiovascular disease. This recent publication suggests the strong possibility that the COX-2 inhibitors (like celebrex) could double the risk of CVD. (Some of these have been removed from the market because of risk of heart problems.) This publication also suggests that ibuprofen could triple that risk of CVD. What does this mean for us?

As always, we should minimize medication that we take. Sometimes we need these medications. But consider trying some acupuncture instead (or with) those meds, so you can get off them quickly and keep your heart in better shape.

Reference: BMJ 2011; 342:c7086 – Cardiovascular safety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: network meta-analysis.