Well, first they told us we shouldn't use NSAID's (alleve, motrin, or advil) because they caused stomach bleeding. So arthritis sufferers and folks with inflammatory conditions switched to the newer miracle drugs, COX-2 inhibitors that decreased swelling but had no effect on the stomach. Drugs like Vioxx, Celebrex, and Bextra work by blocking the enzyme cyclooxygenase in the inflammatory cycle which prevents the production of inflammation causing chemicals called prostaglandins. After they were on the market for awhile, it was discovered that some patients still had stomach bleeding. First Vioxx and more recently Bextra have been pulled from the market for increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and a rare but fatal skin disease, respectively. Now, as reported in the April issue of Arthritis Care and Research, a new scientific study is reporting patients should go back to taking over the counter NSAID's but in combination with a proton pump inhibitor medication like Prilosec or Nexxium. These medications block acid in the stomach, which helps protect the stomach from the damage caused by NSAID's. Unfortunately, some studies have demonstrated that NSAID's may interfere with the release of certain white blood cells to the inflamed area and actually delay healing for tendon injuries. In addition, our bodies need acid to start the digestive process. Blocking the production of acid in the stomach is a sure way to interfere with normal digestion and absorption of vital nutrients from your diet. Many individual's acid production decreases with age, furthering the process of nutrient malabsorption caused by acid blocking medications.
So what's an arthritis sufferer to do to help relieve pain? Fortunately, there are several non-drug alternatives to reducing the pain and inflammation of arthritis. The use of proteolytic enzymes can be very effective in reducing inflammation. These are protein digestive enzymes that when taken on an empty stomach have an affinity for inflammatory tissue, with no side effects like gastric bleeding or heart disease. In addition, these do not interfere with any other medications a person may be taking. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are natural anti-inflammatory substances that also provide some of the building blocks for the joint matrix. This means in addition to helping with the pain and inflammation of degenerative arthritis, they also help to rebuild the joint surface. There are many other anti-inflammatory substances like bromelain, quercitin, and other bioflavenoids which have been shown to be safe and effective in helping to decrease inflammation.
In addition, chiropractic manipulation has also been shown to help with pain and inflammation. By restoring better motion and position to the joints adjustments help to block pain, reduce inflammation, and allow for greater pain free joint motion. Motion is life. Without the normal motion of the joint the discs or shock abosorbers wear out leading to degenerative arthritis. Receiving adjustments restore more normal movement and therefore may slow down the degenerative process.
In summary, there are many alternatives like chiropractic adjustments, glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate, and proteolytic enzymes, which are often less expensive and with much fewer side effects than over the counter or prescription medications.
Dr. Ginsberg has been practicing Gonstead chiropractic since 1990 and has had a private practice in Geneva Illinois since 1994 specializing in children and adults. Dr. G has post graduate training in pediatrics and pregnancy and is Webster Certified. In addition, he has 19 years experience with athletes ranging from the youth soccer player, weekend warrior adults to professional body builders. For more information or to contact Dr. Ginsberg:
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