If you’ve injured an elbow, knee, or another part of your body, you may find yourself popping over-the-counter pain medications as a way to feel better. But these pharmaceuticals can actually make you feel worse over time.
Many people presume that OTC pain meds, like ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, and acetaminophen, aren’t risky to take regularly because you don’t need a prescription. While these medications don’t have the same side effects as common prescription opioid painkillers, they are more dangerous and expensive than you may realize.
Even though many doctors will still encourage it, modern movement specialists no longer recommend the outdated advice of “take two aspirin and call me in the morning.” Instead, consider integrating non-invasive methods to increase circulation and reduce pain naturally.
There are many reasons to ditch the drugs and take control of your body’s ability to heal itself.
Surprise Side Effects
Over-the-counter pharmaceuticals address pain in different chemicals that generally produce the same results: They trick the brain into ignoring the pain. They block the signals the body sends through the nervous system, rather than treating the root cause of the pain.
Aspirin and ibuprofen are both examples of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. They have a number of surprising side effects, especially when taken for a long time. These include:
- Stomach bleeding
- Indigestion problems
- Stomach ulcers
- Increased odds of strokes involving bleeding in the brain
- Kidney problems
- High blood pressure
Acetaminophen, meanwhile, can cause serious liver damage when taken too frequently or if mixed with alcohol.
Prescription pain medications aren’t much better. Opioids, including Vicodin, fentanyl, and hydrocodone, can cause constipation, nausea, depression, and a weakened immune system.
High Financial Costs
Sure, a bottle of aspirin may only cost a few dollars. But that cost can add up if you rely on over-the-counter drugs to alleviate pain from a nagging injury. Do the math to see how much this seemingly innocuous habit is costing over the course of a month or year. You may be surprised.
Thanks to health care plans, some people spend even more on OTC pharmaceuticals than prescription drugs — and that’s saying something. One study from 2014 found that people spent nearly $18 billion a year in the United States alone for prescription medications for chronic pain.
Risk of Addiction
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly 2 million American adults were dependent on prescription opioids, and a quarter of people who used these prescription painkillers struggled with addiction. But what about OTC drugs?
Turns out, it’s easier than most realize to abuse these pharmaceuticals, too. Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen should only be taken for a few days in a row. You should never exceed the maximum single dose or the maximum daily dose, yet often people think they need to take more to feel better.
While it’s not as well publicized, addiction to over-the-counter drugs is possible and common. When taking these medications, you’re not allowing your body to heal from the pain. That happens only from increased circulation to the area to increase blood flow.
Inflammation is the body’s way of repairing damaged tissues, so taking anti-inflammatory drugs makes it harder for the body to feel better. The answer? For many people, it’s taking more and more medication to mask the pain.
An Alternative: Incrediwear Circulation Sleeves
People habitually taking pain medication need a natural, non-invasive method for improving circulation, reducing pain, and supporting the healing process. The answer for many is integrating the new technology of Incrediwear products.
To feel better, use the Incrediwear products both during the day and in bed at night. Unlike traditional compression garments, Incrediwear items can be worn without feeling constricted. These products can help with everything from sprains and arthritis to muscle fatigue, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and back pain — without having to worry about the side effects, financial costs, and addiction risks associated with medication.