Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen and ibuprofen are staples of most peoples’ pain management regiment. Hospitals give them out like candy, and advertisers pelt us with TV commercials each day touting safety and effectiveness. Have a headache? Here’s some ibuprofen. Period cramps? Take four now, and four again before bed. In essence, pain has been normalized, and questioning drugs has become sinful at best; illegal at worst.
Some ibuprofen takers know that over-usage can cause gut pains (and eventually ulcers), but many don’t even know that much. To most, NSAIDs are a miracle drug that they couldn’t imagine living without. However, regular NSAID usage can lead to drastically-increased rates of heart and stroke, according to a 2017 study by the NIH.
The likelihood of experiencing a heart attack was calculated to increase by an average of 20% to 50%, compared with someone not taking the drugs, regardless of the dosage and amount of time the medications are taken.
“We found that all common NSAIDs shared a heightened risk of heart attack,” said Dr. Michèle Bally, an epidemiologist at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center, who led the research. “There is a perception that naproxen has the lowest cardiovascular risk (among the NSAIDs), but that’s not true.”
This group of drugs includes ibuprofen, diclofenac, celecoxib, and naproxen, which are all available over the counter. In fairness, the study was observational, which means a direct causation to NSAIDs could not be made; but researchers did note that cardiovascular health improved as NSAID consumption dwindled.
Pharmaceuticals do offer relief, but often at the expense of healthy organs
One of the best ways (in our opinion) to feel the effects of NSAIDs without any of the risk is to opt for natural remedies. Over and over, nature gives us holistic remedies to bodily problems; but we always tend to choose something manufactured, altered, and processed, instead.
And the best part? When you begin supplementing the body with natural remedies, you also put yourself in a position to maintain health without the need for longterm pharmaceutical maintenance.
In other words, once you choose a pill (which almost always benefits one aspect of health at the expense of another), you’re actually choosing a bodily habit. Change the habit incrementally, and you’ll soon reap the rewards of a body that feels strong and maintains itself efficiently.
Ginger can replace your ibuprofen, lowering your risk of cardiovascular issues
Ginger is wildly popular in many Asian blue zones (parts of the world where lifespans greatly exceed the worldwide average). That’s largely because of its anti-inflammatory properties: some studies have even pegged ginger as more effective than ibuprofen.
While the NSAIDs work by stopping the creation of inflammatory compounds, the ginger stops this formation as well. Ginger also breaks down already existing acidity and inflammation fluid in our joints because of the aforementioned antioxidants.
You can take ginger as an oral compound, or apply it topically to parts of the body that are in pain. And if it doesn’t work as well as an NSAID? Well, you made an attempt at controlling pain without damaging other systems of your body, and now you know exactly how you respond to ginger. Calibrating your health takes time (or even a lifetime!). Going back to the drawing board is fine; suffering a heart attack is not.