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Home > Health Information > Health Tips > Natural Remedies > Avoid Risks of OTC Pain Meds

Avoid Risks of OTC Pain Meds

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be great temporary remedies to help manage mild forms of pain and discomfort that lasts for a few days. However, long-term use is strongly discouraged - it is pain pillsnot intended to manage ongoing or chronic pain without specific instructions and medical monitoring from a licensed physician. Unfortunately, too many Americans use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) like Tylenol(r), aspirin or ibuprofen far more regularly than is intended by manufacturers or recommended by health practitioners, and there are consequences., especially for younger and elderly patients or those with existing medical conditions.

Prolonged use of these medications have been attributed to liver and kidney damage as well as increased risk for heart attack or stroke and can lead to stomach issues such as ulcers or bleeding. Also, OTC medications can be dangerous when combined with prescription medications, so it is important to let your primary care physician know everything you take, especially all OCT medications.

Here are low-risk ways to treat chronic pain

For long-term pain relief of pain attributed to such conditions as those related to arthritis, bursitis, fibromyalgia and other inflammation, try these remedies:

  • Topical OTC treatment: sprays, patches and creams can be applied directly to the skin over painful muscles and joints. Often these remedies provide a mild cooling or warming sensation that can help relieve the feeling of pain. Active ingredients can include menthol, capsaicin, salicylates or camphor, which creates these sensations, safer than oral medications.

  • Nutritional supplements: Can help with arthritis and other joint pain such as fish oil and glucosamine products. However, too much omega-3 (found in fish oil) can have adverse effects like bleeding, so only use manufacturer's recommended doses and consult your physician before use, especially with other medications.

  • Anti-inflammatory diet: Eat a vibrant colorful array of vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables and fruit. Also, include fish, especially oily fish such as salmon and mackerel. Avoid sugar and white flour in foods as these are known to cause inflammation. But, do include foods rich in omega-3, and also curry and ginger, which are all anti-inflammatories.

  • Maintaining a healthy weight: Especially if you are overweight, maintaining a healthy weight is the single most effective way to relieve pain. In fact, recent research shows that body fat can actually produce hormones, which increase inflammation.

For more information about natural nutritional supplements, please click here: Nutritional Supplements

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