Thursday, September 4, 2008

Comparing Over the Counter Meds to Natural Anti-Inflammatories

By: Dr. Derek Pelofsky

Practicing as a sports Doctor that sees a lot of acute and painful injuries we are approached with many questions as far as what can the patient do at home to help speed up the healing and decrease pain. Probably one of the most frequently asked questions is should I take Advil, Tylenol, or Aleve?

Doctors of Chiropractic are not allowed to prescribe any prescription drugs or be advising on taking any over the counter pain relievers such as the most common NSAIDS, (non steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs), Advil, Tylenol, and Aleve. So, as a consumer and a active person that might be put in a situation to fall back on using NSAIDS lets get educated on what you are putting into your body, and not influenced by the many commercials that bombard us daily. Like an automobile, your body reacts on the "gas" that is put in its engine. You will research the best products to put in your car so the engine runs smoothly, do you research the best products to put in your body?

NSAIDS in general, work by blocking natural chemicals in your body that cause inflammation. But the drawback is that those same chemicals protect your stomach from burning up in its own acid. So, long term use can eventually cause some serious issues with your gastrointestinal system, mainly the stomach lining causing a possible ulcer or more serious side effects!

Here is a breakdown of the Top 4 types of NSAIDs and a Homeopathic approach that works if not better than regular NSAIDs without the possible side effects.

Brand Name:Advil, motrin

How it works:When injured your body naturally produces enzymes to heal you, which create swelling, causing pain. Ibuprofen inhibits or stops the enzymes production.

Side effects:Prolonged and excessive use can lead to bleeding or perforation of the stomach or intestines.

Benefits:Reduces swelling at the site of injury.


Brand Name:Tylenol

How it works:Exact mechanism in unknown, but believed to inhibit or stop pain by blocking enzymes and prostaglandins synthesis in the central nervous system.

Side effects:Excessive acetaminophen use is the number one cause of acute liver failure in the United States.

Benefits:Does not inhibit production of enzymes in the gastrointestinal system, so safer on your gut.


Brand Name:Bayer

How it works:Aspirin works the same way ibuprofen does.

Side effects:Similar gastrointestinal effects as seen with ibuprofen, but because aspirin is derived form acetic acid it can also do minor stomach damage.

Benefits:A proven painkiller for the treatment of arthritis. Thins blood, helping lower the risk of heart disease

4.Naproxen Sodium

Brand Name:Aleve

How it works:The same way ibuprofen and aspirin, but its slower to dissolve, which provides longer relief.

Side effects:ulcers, bleeding, and perforation of the stomach or intestines.

Benefits:effective for the treatment of migraines and inflammation.

Also understand this. Naproxen (Aleve), Ibuprofen and Aspirin thin the blood. Do NOT take these meds prior to participating in a high contact sport! If a head injury occurs, the thinning blood COULD lead to complications. The risk is minimal, but there is still a risk that needs to be considered.

At CSI we use several forms of Natural Anti-inflammatory substances. Since most Pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory medication originate from chemicals found in nature, we have gone to the direct source- Nature. Below, is our answer to fight off the pain of inflammation, but since these products are made with natural, organic ingredients, we have found that they sometime work faster than their pharmaceutical counterparts. There are many products on the market, we have tried most of them and have found these to be consistent with little to no side effects.

Traumeel is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, ant-edematous, anti-exudate combination formulation of 12 botanical and 2 mineral substances. This is a topical cream that works great.


How it works:helps control the release of oxygen radicals from white blood cells(neutrophils) and stops the release of inflammatory substances.

Benefits:effective for injuries of all kinds, such as: sprains, muscle aches, dislocations, contusions, burns, effusions of blood and effusions into a joint, post operative and post-traumatic edema and swelling of the soft tissues, inflammatory processes and degenerative processes(arthritis), are just a few types of injuries that can treated with traumeel. Traummel is available as a topical ointment, as oral tablets, oral drops, and oral liquid in vials.

Side effects: none, specifically used to treat elderly arthritic patients who cannot tolerate the gastrointestinal side effects associated with conventional NSAIDs or for patients on anticoagulant(blood thinners) medication.

CSI also offers many different homeopathic blends made by a company called Anabolic laboratories, Metagenics, Nutri-West and Standard Process. All of these companies feature a fully licensed, federally registered pharmaceutical manufacturing facility and state-of-the-art laboratories staffed with PhD scientists and chemist to help produce the highest grade quality of homeopathic supplements to help speed healing in many different musculoskeletal injuries. A few examples of products we carry in the office are:


How it works:formulated enzymes that breakdown inflammatory proteins. Provides aminoglyco-nutrients for cartilage repair. Also contains vitamin C, manganese and zinc, which aid in biosynthesis of new collagen-depositing tissues and stimulate new cell growth within joints.
Benefits:repair tissue damage by increasing blood flow to, and drainage from, damaged areas to quickly reduce injury inflammation.

Side effects:none, if taken correctly with appropriate dosage.


How it works: contains curcumin, ursolic acid, and bioflavanoids reduce powerful pro-inflammatory enzymes and tissue damaging metalloproteinases.

Benefits:helps reduce pain and inflammation form superficial and deep muscle bruises, tendon, and ligament complaints and injuries.

Side effects:none, if taken correctly with appropriate dosage.

The most natural way of fighting of injury and to help speed up the healing process is by eating the right foods. The right fats and oils such as omega 3 essential fatty acids are great inflammation fighters. They are found in cold water oily fish, walnuts, and flax seeds.

Good sources of protein anti-inflammatory foods are soybeans, tofu, and soy milk. Red meat may trigger inflammation.

Good sources of carbohydrate and fiber anti-inflammatory are whole grains, vegetables and fruits. High fiber diets will reduce inflammation.. Berries, especially blueberries and strawberries which are packed with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals are great to reduce inflammation.

If your diet does not get you enough, this is ONE suppliment you NEED to take, we carry, in my opinion, the best source of Omega 3s but Nurti-West.

So, when in need of an over the counter medication to help control either inflammation or pain you will be better educated with the pros and cons of these medications. Also hope you will be open to the many different types of homeopathic blends, such as Traumeel, Anabolic lab products, Nutri-West, Metagenics, Standard Process, and anti-inflammatory foods that are just as effective if not more effective as the common NSAIDs without the possible side effects.

We welcome any comments

Dr. Derek Pelofsky is a Doctor of Chiropractic at Chiropractic Sports Institute where he has his private practice caring for both Amature and Professional atheltes. He has completed extensive post-graduate training in the field of Sports Chiropractic and Nutrition. Along with a lustrious career as a College Baseball player, Dr. Derek lives and breaths athletics.


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