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Body Talk Part Two: The science of pain relievers

Look for Aspirin varieties with a heart healthy Ecotrin coating.
Look for Aspirin varieties with a heart healthy Ecotrin coating.
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   Pain is our body's way of telling us that something is wrong. Many small aches and pains can be symptoms of bigger issues. Instead of covering it up or ignoring it we should listen to our bodies and try to get to the bottom of the problem. Just being more aware could save your health down the road.
Learning to listen to your body is very important when pain is involved. Different pains can signal different problems. The type of pain experienced can say a lot if one just takes the time to understand. A tension headache is usually the first sign of an unhealthy lifestyle taking its toll. Poor diet choices, such as too much sugar or caffeine as well as inadequate sleep can often be to blame. Body aches can be a sign of poor posture or an abundance of stress. These simple problems could be reduced just by making small tweaks such as; increased physical activity, healthier diet and getting more restful sleep. Yet most people would rather take a quick-fix in the form of pain killers.

The over use of pain medications is a rampant problem today. Pain relievers can often times be more hurtful than helpful. When used in excess or for long periods of time medications can wear down the stomach lining and cause ulcers. Liver toxicity can also be a problem for those with already compromised renal glands, such as routine drinkers and young children. Constantly having pain killers flowing through your body can cause increased clots in the bloodstream, which raises the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Over the counter (OTC) medicines can be dangerous as well. They carry the risk of lowered precautions allowing the user to think that taking more or mixing OTC meds is safe.

The good news is that after ending usage the side effects quickly resolve. Brands like Advil and Tylenol are proven the safest, because they contain aspirin and acetaminophen. Though the safest choice is always to try and lessen the pain naturally. Methods such as low impact physical activity, hot/cold compresses and massage or reflexology can provide a more long term and safer approach to pain management.