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Opioids Aren’t the Only Pain Drugs to Fear

With 142 Americans dying daily from drug overdoses, health officials are issuing warnings that opioids are not the only pain drugs that we need to be concerned about. In fact, The New York Times reports that over-the-counter medications pose risks, too. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause heart problems, gastrointestinal disturbances and even kidney or liver failure. Ibuprophen and naproxen are two of the most popular NSAIDs, but acetaminophen (Tylenol) comes with its own set of dangers.

Chronic pain impacts more than 100 million U.S. adults — more than the number impacted by diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. If you suffer from chronic pain, you know that sometimes you’ll do almost anything for relief. Too often, the quickest method to relief is seen in a pill, and too often in the form of a prescription for a powerful opioid. However, as a result, opioid addiction is at an all-time high in the U.S., and is a direct contributor to the drug overdose deaths we are experiencing today.

But why are so many people in pain, and what can you do to get some relief that doesn’t involve a pain pill? For beginners, back pain is perhaps one of the most common health complaints across the globe. Usually sudden onset of back pain is due to some form of injury or strain, such as lifting an object or twisting while holding something heavy, operating vibrating machinery; car collisions, or falls, and statistics show that 75 to 80 percent of this type of back pain will resolve within two to four weeks.

But prolonged sitting can also cause back pain, which may explain why simply standing up more is part of the solution in many cases. I personally struggled with this, and only found relief when I started standing for most of the day. I also found that exercise and functional movement are the most effective prevention and treatment strategies for most types of back pain. This is one reason that the American College of Physicians have updated their back pain treatment guidelines to include non-drug interventions as their first line of treatment. Exercise is also the best form of prevention.
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