A recent study from McGill University in Canada found that taking ibuprofen (Advil, Nurofen) for acute pain conditions can increase the risk of developing long term, chronic pain. This is thought to be because the inflammation that occurs shortly after an injury has a protective effect long term, and that overly suppressing the inflammation with ibuprofen or similar anti-inflammatory drugs may interfere with the healing process.

Ibuprofen is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID). These medications are among the most commonly used drugs in the world, with 70 million prescriptions and 30 billion over the counter doses sold each year in the United States. Ibuprofen is extremely popular and widely thought to be safe because it is available without a prescription. It’s important to remember it has high potential for adverse side effects, including cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hepatic, kidney, and pregnancy-related health complications.

Ibuprofen has the potential to harm the gastrointestinal tract by reducing production of beneficial prostanoids that maintain the integrity of gastric tissue and the intestinal barrier. Research shows that 60 to 70 percent of people who take NSAIDs long term can develop intestinal inflammation, leaky gut, mucosal damage leading to blood loss and consequent anemia, diverticulitis, gastric ulcers and nutrient malabsorption. By causing a leaky gut, these drugs also raise the risk of developing a fatty liver.

Acute, short lived pain is bad enough. A lot of people deal with long term pain on a daily basis. Chronic pain is a terrible, inescapable stress, especially when the pain reduces the ability of a person to sleep. Pain relieving medication definitely has its place and is sometimes essential. I’d like to make you aware that there are several inexpensive and easy ways to reduce the amount of pain you experience. The food you eat or don’t eat, as well as the vitamins and minerals you obtain through your diet and supplements can affect the level of inflammation in your body. More inflammation means more pain, so you want to keep inflammation down as much as possible.

Helpful strategies for reducing pain

  1. Minimize foods that cause inflammation

If you are in pain, it usually means there is a great deal of inflammation in your body. Don’t make the inflammation even worse by consuming foods that raise it further. Sugar, gluten and dairy products are the biggest culprits, along with any food you are allergic to. Unfortunately just about any food that comes in a packet is bound to contain one of those foods. Eating less sugar, or avoiding it altogether should help reduce pain but it may also help you lose weight, help you sleep better and improve your mood. Avoiding dairy products means not consuming cow’s milk and any food that contains it. The protein in cow’s milk (casein) can cause a great deal of inflammation as well as fluid retention. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt and several other foods. Look out for these foods on labels because gluten regularly turns up in unexpected places.

  1. Increase vegetable consumption

Vegetables help to reduce inflammation and the nutrients found in them help your immune system and liver function. Try to eat one or two salads each day made of raw vegetables. It is also good to eat some cooked vegetables, whether they are steamed or in soups, stews or casseroles. Celery is particularly good for people with joint pain because it helps to make your kidneys more efficient at excreting acid and toxins. Making your own raw vegetable juices is an excellent way to up your vegetable intake. Juicing makes the nutrients easier to digest and provides them in a delicious, concentrated form. See my book Raw Juices Can Save Your Life for ideas.

  1. Serrapeptase reduces pain and swelling

Serrapeptase is actually a protease enzyme, which means it has the ability to digest protein.  Research has shown this remarkable enzyme can help to dissolve non-living tissue in the body such as cysts, swellings, plaque and scar tissue. Serrapeptase is excellent for reducing pain in chronic injuries. We have found it to be more effective than prescription anti-inflammatory drugs for several of our patients, with none of the side effects. I recommend you take serrapeptase on an empty stomach, therefore first thing in the morning, or an hour before meals is best. Serrapeptase does thin the blood, so check with your doctor if you're taking blood thinning drugs.

  1. Ensure your liver produces sufficient glutathione

Glutathione is your body’s own inbuilt detoxifier and anti-inflammatory. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t produce enough. Aging, illness and stress all deplete your body of this amazing substance. Acetaminophen (paracetamol) depletes your body of glutathione. You need plenty of selenium and n-acetyl cysteine because they are your body’s building blocks of glutathione.

  1. Magnesium relaxes nerves and muscles

It is very difficult to get enough magnesium through diet alone because very few foods contain significant quantities. Modern living also worsens magnesium deficiency because stress, alcohol and caffeine all deplete the body of this important mineral. Magnesium helps to relax the muscles and nervous system, therefore is excellent for muscle pain and tension. It is also brilliant for headaches. Take magnesium with dinner because it should help you get a deeper, better quality sleep.

References: Acute inflammatory response via neutrophil activation protects against the development of chronic pain (science.org)



The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.