Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a drug class that reduces pain, decrease fever, prevent blood clots and, in higher doses, decrease inflammation. Side effects depend on the specific drug but largely include an increased risk of gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeds, heart attack and kidney disease. The term nonsteroidal distinguishes these drugs from steroids, which while having a similar eicosanoid-depressing, anti-inflammatory action, have a broad range of other effects.
First used in 1960, the term served to distance these medications from steroids. NSAIDs work by inhibiting the activity of cyclooxygenase enzymes (COX-1 and/or COX-2). In cells, these enzymes are involved in the synthesis of key biological mediators, namely prostaglandins which are involved in inflammation, and thromboxanes which are involved in blood clotting. Is it just me or does your brain hurt when big words are being used? In a nutshell, NSAD’s reduce pain and inflammation. Or do they really…?
Pain is a master concealer! It draws attention to one area, while the origin is really somewhere else. What do you believe to be the true origin of your chronic pain? One place to start your search is the gut. As you probably know gut health has a massive impact on your overall health – physical and mental. Let’s dig a little deeper. The digestive tract allows important nutrients to get into the body while keeping everything else out. The inner lining of the intestines has a crucial, highly selective, semipermeable barrier. And while its job is extremely important, amazingly, this lining is only one cell thick! These cells sit side-by-side and form a tight junction, allowing nothing to pass to the bloodstream unless it’s a vitamin, mineral or food particle that has been broken down to the smallest possible size. But, when these tight junctions get weakened and break down, your gut becomes inflamed and develops openings whereby bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles can pass through. With this inflammation, not only is your gut unable to perform its important job of absorbing nutrients but now it’s also letting bad things barge on through the barrier. The technical name for this is intestinal permeability, but it is most often referred to as leaky gut syndrome.
Think of this as a garden hose with small little holes. If there is no damage to a garden hose, the water will get to its intended destination. However, if the hose has multiple holes in it, not only does the water not reach its destination, but we end up with water in areas where it should not be. When the intestinal contents leave the gut and enter the bloodstream, they are considered a foreign substance, your body mounts an immune response, and then creates antibodies to destroy it. Antibodies bind to the foreign invader, creating what’s called an immune complex, in order to render it harmless. With persistent leaky gut, there is an overproduction of immune complexes, and as they circulate around the body, they get deposited in various organs, including skeletal muscle, joints, and tendons. Once deposited, immune complexes set off local inflammation, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. And this is how it would be easy to confuse localized pain with what the real issue is?
And we then treat the local pain with a painkiller like Nurofen or Voltaren which doesn’t treat the root cause and in turn causes damage to the gut and exacerbates the leaky gut.