The dangers of painkillers

  • 8 Sep 2009
  • Reading time 3 mins
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The average person takes 373 painkillers a year. Over 2,000 people in Britain die as a result and at least 30,000 people are addicted. Last week the drug company Pfizer were fined a record 2.3 billion dollars and pleaded guilty to one felony count to settle federal criminal and civil charges that it illegally promoted its Bextra painkiller and other drugs. Each of the three kinds of painkillers - paracetamol, codeine, and NSAIDS (anti-inflammatories including aspirin and ibuprofen) have their downsides and need to be taken with extreme caution, or ideally not at all, using natural painkillers instead.

Paracetamol is an effective painkiller but it taxes the liver. The combination of alcohol and paracetamol is extremely dangerous.Wikipedia cites a death from only 12 tablets (6g) and the British Medical Journal report a death of an otherwise healthy 16 year old girl having taken 20 (10g). There are clear indications of liver dysfunction after 8 tablets (4g) in most people. Codeine-based painkillers are addictive - and hard to get off. You can become addicted after only a week of continual use.

In my book How to Quit Without Feeling S**t I explain in detail how to break codeine addiction. Chris H is a case in point. Chris was addicted to codeine for over 20 years. She had a very short attention span and would lose the thread of conversations; when reading she would not recall any of the story or characters almost immediately after finishing a book. She also had paper thin skin, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Just a month after starting the How to Quit Programme, Chris managed to stop taking it all together and now feels much better. “I feel a lot healthier and bouncier,” she said. “It’s such an improvement after all these years”. Chris feels the programme has really helped her to stop taking codeine. And she would encourage others to follow the How to Quit programme. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which includes aspirin and ibuprofen, damage the gut and too many for too long can lead to internal bleeding. If you have an ulcer or any signs of digestive discomfort it could be very dangerous to take these drugs.

Over 2,000 people a year die as a result of internal bleeding caused by these painkillers. The critical question is why is your body making you feel pain? Pain is the way your body tells you you've exceeded it's capacity to cope. This is fairly obvious if you've drunk too much alcohol but the same is true for inexplicable headaches, joint aches that come and go and other causes of pain. Many foods act as anti-inflammatories. Meat, milk, coffee and sugar, increase inflammation, while other foods, such as oily fish, seeds and nuts, olives, ginger, turmeric and red onions reduce pain. But the average person in Britain just isn’t eating enough of these foods. You can also buy supplements that concentrate the active ingredients in these foods and herbs. In my new book Say No to Arthritis I detail many clinical trials that show that concentrates of these natural foods are extraordinarily effective in decreasing pain.

I believe that the change in diet, and an increase in food allergies, is fuelling an epidemic of pain conditions. Another key factor increasing joint pain is weight gain. The combination of being overweight, eating the wrong foods and food allergies is a recipe for pain, and especially back pain and arthritis. if you'd like to find out more about natural painkillers read my Special Report on the subject and join my Joint Transformation Club

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