Anti-inflammatories are readily available and frequently used by people suffering from back or neck pain and in some cases their use can be abused by those seeking relief. This pattern is particularly evident today, as the access to these medications over the counter and via Supermarkets can lead some people to simply forget they are in fact potentially very dangerous drugs.
While I do not advocate people in pain should absolutely avoid the use of anti-inflammatories, to help manage the acute symptoms of their condition, I would like to stress they should do so in a conservative fashion and in conjunction with appropriate treatment of the actual cause of the symptoms. After all, while anti-inflammtories can in some cases provide short term relief, they are only effective at reducing the inflammation that has resulted from some form of tissue damage or irritation and do not address the cause of the symptoms in any way.
The research paper I have recently read, which was published in the American Journal of Cardiology, has established a relationship between the use of anti-inflammatory medications and atrial fibrillation in the heart. Atrial Fibrillation is a type of heart irregularity or arrhythmia which is associated with higher rates of mortality and morbidity but perhaps of greater concern, atrial fibrillation increases your chances of suffering from a stroke by a factor of 3 to 4 times.
This paper establishes a clear risk factor associated with the use of anti-inflammtories and the potential for them to cause heart complications and stoke. It is interesting to compare the risks of anti-inflammatories mentioned in this paper with the often publicised but purely theoretical risks associated with manipulation of the spine (with particular attention being paid to the cervical spine, which I might add are so small as to be almost impossible to clearly establish in any study printed to date). I cannot help but highlight how safe cervical manipulation actually is, especially when it is compared to a drug you can cheaply and easily purchase at any Supermarket.
Here at TASC your safety is paramount. This means not only researching the safety of our own treatment techniques and protocols but also being able to educate, not only our patients but the public in general, about how to make better health decisions. So please consider the common side effects and long terms consequences of any medication, regardless of whether it is a prescription medication or over the counter medication, and make an informed choice.