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Pill Risk

There is nothing unnatural about looking for a natural solution

Skeptics of Chiropractic often roll their eyes at our emphasis on taking a natural approach to managing your health, as if this is somehow unnatural.

We live in an age of science, where a certainty that we can do better than nature intended often leads us to rely on synthesized and processed alternatives instead of what we can easily obtain from natural and wholesome sources.

The formula versus breast milk debate is the classic example. By the 1960s, formula had been embraced as a better alternative to breast milk. For decades, this persisted, until we came to realize how natural and beneficial it is for a baby to be nursed on its mother’s milk instead. Today, mothers are widely encouraged to opt for breast feeding whenever possible.

Making changes in the kitchen and the gym

The same idea applies to how we manage our physical health. Too many people opt for off-the-shelf and prescription medications to offset health complaints that could be easily addressed with regular exercise and better nutrition.

But a pill that dulls pain, or manages blood pressure, or fights the creep of your cholesterol does nothing to address underlying causes.

One of our patients, a 46-year-old man, started hitting the gym several times a week about three-and-a-half years ago. He was overweight, had been taking “entry level” blood pressure medications for a couple of years, and counted the days until he would need to take cholesterol medications, too.

But within five months of embarking on a new routine of fitness, combined with changing his eating habits (which was even more important than the exercise), he was a new man. He lost 30 pounds and his blood pressure and cholesterol normalized without further need for medication. All by taking action in a safe and natural way.

Why are we telling you this?

Tylenol under scrutiny yet again

Because yet another reputable study has surfaced that points to the risks of relying on medications that mask symptoms, instead of finding a more natural, and safe way to address a health complaint.
In this instance, the culprit is acetaminophen, commonly known by the brand name Tylenol.

This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about acetaminophen. A Health Canada report last year found that there are about 4,000 hospitalizations a year in this country due to acetaminophen overdoses. It is considered a leading cause of all serious liver injuries, including liver failure.

In the latest study, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in August, researchers studied 7,769 mothers, their children and their partners, to access if fetal exposure to acetaminophen impacted a child’s brain physiology.

‘Multiple behavourial difficulties’

To keep it brief, the study found that about half of pregnant women in the U.S. and Europe use the drug during pregnancy for pain and fever relief, leaving the authors to conclude that “even a small increase in risk of adverse health outcomes in the offspring can have important implications for public health.”

The study tied this usage to greater risk of “multiple behavourial difficulties,” including ADHD-like conditions and autism-spectrum disorders. It was even associated with increased risk of cryptorchidism – boys born with one or both testes undescended.

Pills are no substitute for healthy living

But still, it’s food for thought – if you can address pain, or any other health complaint, in a natural way, why wouldn’t you explore it first before turning to medications with their associated risks?
Again, as Chiropractors, we do not oppose the use of prescription medications. But as healthcare providers, we always urge our patients to fully understand the implications associated with anything they put in their bodies. Before consigning yourself to long-term use of any medication, always consider how changes in your lifestyle habits could be the better alternative.

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