Ibuprofen and many other anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) have been the mainstay of acute and chronic pain management by GP’s and self prescribing over the counter meds for many years.

But new and alarming medical research has once again confirmed that their use can actually cause cartilage damage (this is a massive problem in the treatment of Osteoarthritis), heart attacks and strokes!  Note this is the case for both long & short term use.

Please see links to full research articles explaining this in full:



What is inflammation?

When injuries occur your body does its level best to flood the damaged area with blood and interstitial fluids which carry all of the “fixing” elements/tools required for healing to take place.

However, this in itself can be very painful as more fluid means more stretching of damaged tissues as well as other chemical mediators that irritate nerve cells.

So in acute injuries or episodes of pain, we reach for NSAIDS which drive this fluid away thereby reducing the pain in the short term, but yes you’ve guessed it, can leave your body without the necessary tools for self healing and repair.

So if I don’t want to use NSAIDS what options have I got, and what is the osteopathic view point?

Legally as you know, Osteopaths are not able to comment on whether or not you should be taking certain types of medications, however, there are some basic steps you can take to ensure your body heals in the most natural way possible:

1. In acute injuries, RICE is the best form of treatment to help manage pain, this doesn’t mean reaching for a packet of Uncles Ben’s, it stands for Rest / Ice / Compression / Elevation and is standard practice in first aid medicine.

However, be careful not to drive away all the inflammation as we need some of this to help heal the injury, so in more chronic cases or less acute cases, the use of heat may be beneficial but best to check this past us first.

2. Nature medicine tells us that toxins within our bodies are stored within the most inert places possible when the body is struggling to eliminate them, these are oftern the joints and are found in many cases of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.

To help with these cases, detoxifying the body with alkaline foods  (raw veggie juices etc) and exercise, together with correct bowl habits and the use of epsom salts patches and baths etc are often used but under the guidance of your health professional.

Its important to note that in some cases of natural treatment of disease processes, an acute “flare up” of joints can happen, but please remember, this is your body trying its hardest to help YOU and is not necessarily a bad thing.

I do hope this article is of interest to you and I hope that it encourages you to seek more information and knowledge about your bodies own mechanisms for self healing and repair.

Please remember though, the article is not intended to be used as an instruction for action, and that any change in medications should always be checked off by your GP or other related healthcare professional first.

Oh one last thing, here’s another interesting article of painkiller use for headaches……could it be the painkillers that are giving you the headache? http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/headaches

Best wishes
The Family Osteopath
PS. Your continued recommendations to friends and family members to seek help for their pains & ills is always very much appreciated – THANK YOU!