TGIF: The Dangers of NSAID Use

NSAIDs, short for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are among the most commonly used medications in the United States. Available in prescription strength and over-the-counter, NSAIDs reduce inflammation and pain by interfering with your body’s production of chemicals called prostaglandins. Some of the most commonly used NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, ketoprofen and celecoxib. Although effective for a variety of conditions, ranging from arthritis to headaches, taking too many NSAIDs may increase your risk of serious medical problems, some of which may be life-threatening.

As with any medication, there are a number of potential risks, side effects, and complications that it patients need to be aware of prior to starting to take the any form of the medication.  Potential risks and complications of NSAID ingestion include:

  • Kidney damage. NSAIDs are cleared from the blood stream by the kidney, so it is very important that patients over 65 years of age or patients with kidney disease consult a physician prior to taking the medication. If patients take an NSAID for an extended period of time (e.g. six months or more), a blood test needs to be performed to check for early signs of kidney damage. Taking too many NSAIDs can cause sudden kidney failure or chronic kidney disease. With acute kidney failure, discontinuation of the offending NSAID usually leads to recovery of kidney function. A more subtle form of chronic kidney disease called chronic interstitial nephritis can develop if you take NSAIDs regularly for many years. This condition most often occurs in people taking high doses of NSAIDs for chronic pain. NSAIDs are particularly dangerous if you have preexisting kidney disease
  • Ulcers. NSAIDs are a common cause of ulcers, also known as peptic ulcer disease. Your stomach is the most likely site for an NSAID-induced ulcer to develop. Less commonly, the first part of your intestine, called the duodenum, may be affected. Your risk of developing an NSAID-related ulcer depends on how often you take NSAIDs, the dosage, how long you have been taking NSAIDs and whether you have other risk factors for peptic ulcer disease. Heavy alcohol use, smoking, taking a combination of NSAIDs and a past history of ulcers increase your risk of developing an NSAID-induced ulcer. Symptoms you may experience with a peptic ulcer include dull or burning pain in your upper abdomen when your stomach is empty, reduced appetite, frequent belching, bloating, nausea and vomiting.
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding. An ulcer caused by NSAID use may erode into a blood vessel in your stomach or intestine, leading to gastrointestinal bleeding. Symptoms and signs to look for include sharp, persistent stomach pain, vomiting blood and black stools. With prolonged or severe bleeding, you may develop weakness, paleness and loss of energy. Importantly, gastrointestinal bleeding may not cause obvious signs or symptoms. Take NSAIDs in the lowest, effective dose possible and limit the length of time you take them to reduce your risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. Talk with your doctor if you take NSAIDs for a chronic condition, such as arthritis, to determine the safest option for you.
  • Heart attack and stroke. NSAIDs may increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, especially if you have pre-existing heart disease. These drugs may increase your blood pressure and contribute to the progression of atherosclerosis, a condition in which your arteries become clogged and blood flow to your heart and brain are reduced. In a January 2011 article published in the medical journal “BMJ,” Drs. Sven Trelle and colleagues report that all NSAIDs increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, including ibuprofen. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that all prescription NSAIDs carry a warning about the potential for increased risk of heart attack, stroke and gastrointestinal bleeding associated with use of these drugs.
  • Delayed healing. Inflammation is a necessary component in the healing process, decreasing inflammation may prove counterproductive. the body responds to injury with a sequence of events that begins with an influx of inflammatory cells and blood. The inflammatory cells remove debris and recruit cytokines and other growth factors toward the injury site. This inflammatory phase is partly mediated by the same prostaglandins that are blocked by NSAIDs. In a healthy healing process, a proliferative phase consisting of a mixture of inflammatory cells and fibroblasts naturally follows the inflammatory phase. The fibroblasts build a new extracellular matrix and persist into the final phase of repair, the maturation phase, where, if all goes well, functional tissue is laid down. The key point is that each phase of repair is necessary for the subsequent phase. By blocking the inflammatory phase, NSAIDs can, at least theoretically, delay the healing of musculoskeletal injuries.

Most types of NSAIDs have a variety of other potential risks and complications associated with them. While most side effects are rare, some can be serious and even potentially fatal, so it is important for patients to remain aware of them and under supervision by a health professional.

As a general rule, patients with any of the following factors should be sure to meet with their doctor before taking any type of NSAID:

  • Thyroid problems
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Allergy or reaction to aspirin, other NSAIDs or pain relievers
  • Pregnant, about to become pregnant, or breast feeding
  • Consume three or more alcoholic beverages a day
  • About to have surgery or other invasive procedures (including dental surgery)

In order to ensure that NSAIDs are used safely, patients should meet with a physician to evaluate their individual risk factors (e.g. the patient’s likelihood for developing certain health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and gastrointestinal problems) and to determine the most appropriate dosages, type of NSAID, and treatment options.

In general, it is recommended that patients avoid taking over-the-counter NSAIDs for more than 10 days in a row without consulting their physician.

As with all medications, patients should discuss with their doctor medications taken (including herbal remedies, supplements, etc), all other medical conditions and allergies. Patients should strictly follow label directions for all pain medications, including non-prescription medications.


Who’s Got Your Back? Tips to Protect Yourself


One of the most common pain complaints is back pain. According to the American Chiropractic Association, more than 31 million Americans will suffer from low-back pain at any given time. It one of the most common reasons for missing work. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012, of the 443,560 cases reported for work related injury, 36% were back-related.

Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic spinal manipulation is a safe and effective back pain treatment. It reduces pain, decreases medication, rapidly advances physical therapy, and requires very few passive forms of treatment, such as bed rest.

Chiropractic is also a great wellness treatment to prevent chronic pain should an injury occur.

Tips for Preventing Back Pain

  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
  • Remain active—under the supervision of your doctor of chiropractic.
  • Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
  • Warm up or stretch before exercising or other physical activities, such as gardening.
  • Maintain proper posture.
  • Wear comfortable, lower-heeled shoes.
  • Sleep on a mattress of medium firmness to minimize any curve in your spine.
  • Lift with your knees, keep the object close to your body, and do not twist when lifting.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues.
  • Work with your doctor of chiropractic to ensure that your computer workstation is ergonomically correct.

If you are suffering from back pain, whether from injury or disease, contact a trained chiropractor to learn about your options. For more information about Chambers Chiropractic & Acupuncture, visit our website here.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident?


Car accidents are never planned, yet they are those every day occurrences that can significantly change lives forever. The most important thing to do in the day following a crash is to make sure you are healthy and free from pain and injury.

Who Should You See After a Car Accident?

Whether you had a major accident or just a fender bender, it is best to have a follow up with your doctor. If you suspect fractures or internal bleeding, and especially if you hit your head during the crash, you should go to the hospital immediately. Even if you feel just fine after a car accident, it is best to be examined by your primary physician within the next day.

After a major accident, you will want to get X-rays done to ensure that no damage has been done to your skeletal system.

Should You See A Chiropractor After an Auto Accident?

It is best to see a chiropractor shortly after an automobile accident, regardless if it was a major or minor one. Your primary physician can rule out any suspicion of fractures or broken bones through X-rays.

Once immediate health risks are diagnosed and treated with your primary physician, a chiropractor can help with the following:

Reducing Pain: A bad accident can definitely give our bodies a shake up. During the occurrence of an automobile accident, it is very likely that a subluxation or misalignment has happened. Most commonly the place to be affected is the spine because of how a body can jerk forward and backward quickly. This can lead to whiplash and chronic back pain if gone untreated.

Whiplash is a result of a jolt to the spine and is felt in the neck or back region. Some cases of whiplash just cause mild pain because the muscles tense up, but more severe cases can cause excruciating pain and can misalign vertebrae in some individuals. There are also many more injuries that can occur, such as herniated discs or bone fractures. These types of accidents can cause chronic problems if not taken care of immediately, which is why it is important to be seen by a chiropractor as soon as possible.

Restoring Mobility: Car accidents leave many individuals sore after the crash, which is normal. However, many also have a hard time moving as easy as they once did, especially those who are older. If you find yourself in this situation, a chiropractor can increase your joint mobility and help you begin to feel like new again.

Preventing Further Damage: An accident leaves your body and health in less than optimal conditions. Therefore, it is easier for your body to sustain further injuries or ailments from another event, such as a minor slip and fall. Receiving chiropractic adjustments after the accident will help ensure that your body is healing and back to how it should be, which will in turn protect you in the future.

What Can You Expect on Your Chiropractic Visit?

Chiropractors specialize in complementary and alternative medicine. They diagnose, treat, and prevent disorders of the neuro-musculoskeletal system. A chiropractor will use manual techniques to manipulate the positions of vertebrae to alleviate pain and maintain correct positions.

When visiting a chiropractor after a car crash, it is important to describe in detail as much as possible about the car crash so they can recreate the scenario and inspect all areas that may be affected. If possible, it’s a good idea to write down and bring a summary of everything you remember about the accident, including the area of your car that was impacted, as well as the position in which you were seated, the position you ended up in after the accident, and any symptoms that you may feel.

The chiropractor may want to conduct an X-rays, if not brought along to the visit, to confirm that there are no fractures and will probably conduct a full inspection of your neck and back. After their examination and diagnosis, they will form a plan of treatment to get you on your way to a full recovery. There are several methods of reducing muscle stiffness and pain and they will probably do an adjustment to correct anything that may be out of place.

The steps you take in seeking medical attention from all sources in the first days are crucial to your recovery and rehabilitation from pain and injury.

Chiropractic Care for Young Athletes


The current generation of children are more athletic than ever before.  According to The Center for Kids First, 30 million to 40 million children get involved in organized sports in the course of a year. Whether your little one is just starting out in pee-wee football, or you have a teenager in any and every high school sport activity, your young athlete is bound to get injured. Even though the old adage is that, “kids bounce back quickly after a fall or injury,” don’t dismiss your child’s minor athletic injuries, especially during the crucial years of their musculoskeletal development.
Regular chiropractic care can benefit young athletes in several ways. Even if your child escapes during the season with just a few minor bumps and bruises, a chiropractic adjustment will help realign the spine, especially after lot of activity and when their developing bodies may be pushed harder than normally.
And not only can chiropractic care treat misalignments, but also can be preventive health against major injuries from occurring.
  • Prevent injury. When bodies are properly aligned, then we have a decreased chance of injury.
  • Prevent sickness. Proper alignment of the spine, balances the nervous system and immune system. A compromised health can lead to poorer performance and missed practice.
  • Ensure peak performance. Think about how much precision it takes to throw a baseball. If the body is misaligned just a little bit, it could vastly affect an athlete’s skills.
Proper health, nutrition and equipment are vital to success in any sports activity. Chiropractic care is another vital way to protect a young athlete from injury and give them the best opportunity to perform at their peak.

Work Smart: Healthy Tips for the Spine

OfficeWomanStretchingProper alignment can help reduce a lot of stress in both the lower and upper back, and thus reduce the frequency of conditions ranging from back pain and headaches to carpal tunnel and sciatica. Make sure your workspace—whether a laptop, phone, computer desk, or even your vehicle, is set up for height and functionality. Here are some tips to help you create a better workspace for your spinal health.

  1. Choose a chair that provides back support. Knees should be at 90 degrees and feet should plant comfortably on the floor.
  2. Sit up straight—with support. The discs in your spine are loaded three times more while sitting than standing. You should have a natural curve inward of the spine. Avoid slouching or leaning forward.
  3. Do not cradle the phone between your ear and shoulder. Use a headset or speaker phone to avoid neck pain.
  4. Take regular breaks from sitting in one position for extended periods of time, which can cause muscles to tighten up and become immobile. A short break with stretching every 30 minutes or so is also good for your mental health and productivity.
  5. Staying hydrated throughout the day helps maintain soft tissue elasticity and fluidity in the joints. Spinal discs become vulnerable over time due to loss of hydration and can begin to shrink, which can cause painful conditions such as bulging or ruptures.
  6. Check your shoes. Whether sprinting to the printer or walking blocks to the office, shoes have a big impact on our back. Shoes should be balanced, flexible and comfortable overall. If walking, stair climbing or sprinting is part of your normal work routine, select the best pair for the job.

Keeping your spine in good health during your workday will protect you from injury and degeneration. Listen to your body for the warning signals that you may need to modify your work routine and space. Seek professional care to learn about your spine and the correct for your symptoms.