More research warns about anti inflammatory drug risks.
Inflammation is associated with a number of chronic illnesses, aches and pains, as well as with traumatic injury. Chronic inflammation also appears to be a barrier to fertility. However warnings about non-steroidal anti inflammatory use continue to increase as more research shows associated cardiovascular risk. A research review paper published last month cautions overuse of prescription and commonly available over the counter drugs including ibuprofen and voltaren. Furthermore the American FDA recommends “the lowest dose for the shortest duration.” So what natural alternatives are actually effective?
Acupuncture and herbs such as tumeric and boswellia have been well known anecdotally for many years for their anti inflammatory actions. Now increasing numbers of research studies are proving they can be effective options for a number of inflammatory conditions including inflammation associated with chronic illness. The Chinese herb boswellia and well known turmeric – also known as curcumin – may be two good alternatives to use instead of anti-inflammatory drugs. Both of these herbs have attracted a large amount of research interest with very encouraging results supporting their roles as part of treatment for many different conditions. Dose amount and frequency can vary so it is helpful to have guidance of a professional trained in herbal medicine and familiar with your particular condition.
Acupuncture also has a well documented history treating pain and inflammation. Research continues to show it is an effective treatment for a range of inflammatory conditions. A fully trained acupuncturist will not only treat symptoms but also diagnose and treat the root cause of the inflammation from a Chinese medicine perspective. Besides acupuncture needling, other techniques I may use during a treatment session include moxibustion, electro-acupuncture, cupping, prescribing of herbs, and placement of pressure seeds or needles in points on the ears corresponding to the painful body parts and affected systems. If your inflammation is related to an injury, you may also be able to have your treatments subsidised by ACC.
Diet can have a significant influence in decreasing many types of inflammation associated with health issues. Dietary modification suggestions vary for individual patients, but in general an anti inflammatory diet will include:
- eliminating added sugar – including all foods and drinks containing added sugar
- eliminating saturated fats
- increasing daily quantities of a broad range of vegetables
- increasing water
- eliminating alcohol