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Pain management in Phoenix often includes the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). In fact, NSAIDs are the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States. These medications are also available as over-the-counter drugs under the brand names of Bayer, Advil, Motrin, Aleve and others. Given the high use of these medications, demand will likely grow. Although these drugs provide many benefits for pain management in Phoenix, they do not come without risk for certain patients. The Benefits of Using NSAIDs for Pain Management in Phoenix Although the bad news surrounding NSAIDs seems to dominate the discussion, many benefits exist. With any treatment, doctors weigh the potential benefits and risks. With some patients, the risks are minimized and the benefits strong. NSAIDs are an effective tool for pain management in Phoenix. They are especially useful for controlling inflammation. Conditions in which NSAIDs help alleviate pain include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, certain cancers, migraine headaches and menstrual cramps. NSAIDs often provide pain relief when given following certain surgical procedures and after childbirth. In addition, these medications have used to treat mild to moderate muscle pain. The best NSAID to use in any treatment for pain management in Phoenix depends on the individual. Some people respond better to one NSAID over another.

Since no NSAID has been proven to provide superior pain relief, individuals often try different medications to find the most effective one. The Risks of Using NSAIDs for Pain Management in Phoenix Very few, if any, medications have no potential side effects. Because NSAIDs are ubiquitous and available over-the-counter, some people have the misconception they are safe for everyone and in every situation. The fact is, some people may suffer serious side effects, particularly if they use these drugs over long time periods. The following shortcomings associated with NSAID use must be fully considered by all people seeking pain management in Phoenix:

Taking an NSAID is a simple solution to pain relief. However, it may mask underlying symptoms that require another form of treatment to heal. For example, osteoarthritic knee pain may not improve with NSAID use to the extent other treatment options might provide. Certain exercises and losing even small amounts of weight can make a dramatic difference in pain level with this condition.

Another example involves some tendonitis conditions. Because people associate inflammation with these conditions, NSAIDs become a popular treatment choice for pain management in Phoenix. However, recent studies show weak tissue instead of inflammation in these conditions.

So, the best treatment may be therapy for the injured tissue. NSAIDs may have potentially lethal side effects in some people when they involve the cardiac, gastrointestinal and renal systems within a patient. Cardiac Dangers. All NSAIDs, except aspirin, can cause complications in the form of heart attack or stroke. Many studies have documented this risk. In fact, one study showed patients taking the NSAID Celebrex had a 2.3 percent chance of dying from a stroke or heart attack within three years. The placebo group, on the other hand, had a one percent chance. Although the Celebrex increased risk percentage may seem small, it is, in essence, doubling a patient’s risk. Long-term use of NSAIDs can raise blood pressure an average of five points. If a person already has high blood pressure or diabetes, this increase can have dire effects. NSAIDs also cause salt retention which further raises blood pressure in certain people. If a patient has congestive heart failure, NSAIDs should be avoided. Gastrointestinal Side Effects. NSAID use can slowly erode the stomach lining and cause gastritis. NSAIDs can also make peptic ulcer conditions worse. In each case, NSAIDs can cause internal bleeding and in some cases death.

The risk is much higher in people older than 75. To a certain degree, gastrointestinal side effects can be offset by using medications such as Prilosec, Pepcid or Zantac. However, patients should always consult a physician to determine the best use of NSAIDs and other medications for pain management in Phoenix. Kidney Risks. The potential harm to a person’s kidneys increases when people take high NSAID doses over long periods of time. The greatest risk involves people with pre-existing kidney problems or who take certain medications. For example, people who take medications that affect kidney function, such as ACE inhibitors and diuretics for blood pressure, should be very careful when using NSAIDs. Although NSAIDs carry significant risk in certain situations, they do offer benefits when used properly. Therefore, it’s important for patients to talk with their physicians about NSAID use for pain. After considering all treatment options, patients can make an informed decision about acceptable risk levels.

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