Monday, June 24, 2024

ADVERTISING: Advertorial — The dangers of pain medications and safer alternatives

by HOLLY CARLING/Vital Health
| February 8, 2023 1:00 AM

Are there alternatives to the sometimes dangerous long term use of pain meds? Absolutely! Pain meds, prescription and over the counter (OTC) pain/anti-inflammatory meds, can be very helpful for short term use. Long-term use frequently results in addictions and side effects that can have lasting effects, as well as premature death.

We’ve all been raised to believe that NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) are safer, right? Since medical doctors use primarily opioids because they are stronger, and usually you come to see them when NSAIDs have failed, you’re willing to take the risks because you need them. At the same time most people believe the weaker ones, the NSAIDs, are safe. Well, they aren’t.

Non-selective NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen) have major side effects including gastritis, significant gastrointestinal upset, ulceration, and hemorrhage. It blocks COX-1 which protects the delicate lining of the GI tract. NSAIDs slow the healing of muscle, ligament and cartilage. So, while they may help the pain, they prolong the ability to recover from whatever is causing the pain.

But what do you do when you feel you have no other choice? I certainly don’t want people suffering. I have lived my life doing the best that I can to alleviate suffering and restore health and vitality. As you read this, I don’t want you to just stop your meds. For your safety, always consult with your health care practitioner before stopping, changing or adding to your medication and supplementation regime. I can’t stress this enough. The worst thing anyone can do is pull the carpet out from underneath you by prematurely or incorrectly changing your medications. I always say, “The best way to get off your medications is to no longer need them.” We need to resolve the reason for the pain in the first place.

There are several natural compounds that can help inflammation. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), in particular, Omega-3 fatty acids, activate autophagy of macrophages which suppresses inflammation. It also suppresses inflammation by several other mechanisms.

Turmeric has received notice because it inhibits certain pain-causing enzymes in the body. But not all turmeric is the same. Quality is key. 85% on average just passes through the body unless accompanied by black pepper, fenugreek or EFAs. Cat’s Claw, cayenne pepper and many other herbs are known for their ability to reduce pain.

But as always, I ask “WHY do you have pain?” Or, “WHY are you not healing?” Acupuncture is one of the most effective ways to eliminate pain and inflammation that I know of. The beautiful thing about acupuncture is the ability to address the many WHYs when it comes to resolving pain. We don’t just treat the site of pain, which we can, but we address all the other things going on at the same time that may be contributing to the lack of resolution of your pain.

Learn more by attending our upcoming health class, "Powerful Ways to Conquer Pain without Drugs," 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 at Vital Health in Coeur d'Alene. Fee: $15. Attend in-person or online. To register, call 208-765-1994 or go to

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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with over four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective.” She looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place.

Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles.

Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.