Your Choices In Pain Killers: natural vs drug

by Dr. Arlo Gordin

When you have pain, and wish to get it to go away, you have some choices.  I’ll take this moment to explain some of the basic types of pain killing approaches and their relative advantages and drawbacks.  To start with, there are two basic categories you could choose from:  Natural or Drug.  In each of those categories there are types of products and methods, and I will cover them for you. 

Synthetic or Drug Approaches Include: 

1) Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (“NSAID’s”):  These medications include Motrin, Advil, Celebrex, Vioxx and many other brand names.  These drugs function to reduce pain.  However, at the same time they do that, numerous studies have proven that they cripple the ablility of the body to generate and repair soft tissue (ligament and cartilage).  So, while they cover up the pain, they keep the very tissues you’ve injured from healing, and accelerate their degeneration.  Because of this harmful side effect, doctors are supposed to recommend their use only for short periods (a day to a week).  It is now known that people who overuse them, very common in the baby boomer generation, are now experiencing horrible accelerated early onset of arthritis as a result.

2) Cortisone and Steroid Drugs (taken by mouth or injected):  These include Cortisone, Prednisone, injections into the joints, and many other drug names.  These drugs many times don't provide lasting pain relief, but only temporary.  After their effect wears off, the user can find the “rebound effect” of the drug’s departure causes a pain increase greater than before the drug was ever taken.  Worst of all, the side effect of suppressing your own adrenal glands and having your own hormones crippled as a result, is the reason these drugs are supposed to be prescribed for only very short periods.  When used as injections, they have also been shown to cause joint degeneration in the areas they are injected. This has been quite a scandal to permanently damaged pro athletes who get these drugs overused horribly, and have permanent joint damage from them.  When better choices exist, these side-effects should be avoided.

3)  Narcotic and Controlled Pain Killers:  These include Vicodin, Darvocet, Percodan and others.These drugs are often effective in covering up pain by dulling the nervous system, but many have addictive side effects.  Millions of people are addicted to prescription pain killers, and have ruined lives as a result, including numerous Hollywood celebrities.  They can end up in drug rehab, as these drugs are quite as addictive as morphine or heroin.  If they are considered appropriate, as in post-surgery or very severe pain, they should only be used for a short time, or addiction can be the result.  The current Opioid Addiction Epidemic and its related tragedies and record numbers of deaths are the real result.

4)      Muscle Relaxers and Hypnotic Tranquilizers:  These include Flexiril, Robaxin, Soma and others. They can be effective for pain, but their side effects can include dulling your nerves, your awareness and addiction.

5)      Aspirin:  One of the best time-proven drug for pain relief, and derived originally from a tree! The one typical bad side effect can be harm to the your stomach over extended use.

If pain is chronic and recurrent, the constant reliance on any drug pain killer is a second best choice.  Why?  Because if you are constantly covering up a pain problem, generally the underlying cause of it is only getting much worse over time.  In the case of joint pain (back, spine, hands, knees, etc.), the usual type of worsening is joint degeneration (the most common painful type of arthritis).  In that most common type of arthritis, the long term use of a damaged joint "cruds up" the area with bone deformity and cartilages that shrink and can't cushion the joint properly any longer.


1) Nutritional Pain Killers and Tissue Healers:  Among these are my “Neuromuscular Trauma Kit”.  They are nutrients taken on an intensive basis that are very effective in relieving pain FAST.  Many people have found them miraculous.  (I've even used this personally instead of dental anesthesia!  Hate those needles, yuk!) They include specific doses of minerals, and a very acidic type of calcium that reduces pain.  They speed the healing of soft tissue, so their good effect is exactly the opposite of the bad side effect of NSAID’s.  Because of this, when they do the job so well for most, they are preferable to medications.  Also, if a problem is so severe that medication is needed for a few days, rapidly transitioning to these nutrients as soon as possible is recommended.

2) Enzymes as Nutritional Anti-Inflammatories:  These include our high-powered digestive enzymes that are taken on an empty stomach.  They are proven in scientific studies to reduce pain, and clean up damaged and torn cells that result from injuries.  They then cause the injury to heal much faster.  Their side effects are excellent, not harmful, as they help detoxify the body, and are even used in many anti-cancer programs for their help in normalizing cellular health.

3) Herbs and Supplements as Nutritional Anti-Inflammatories and Pain Killers:  These include certain oils, garlic, ginger, quercitin, cumin and others, often combined in products we have in our clinic, that reduce pain.  They support health and are not shown to have harmful side effects. 

4) Nutritional Tissue Healers:  These include Ligaplex, Chondroitin and Glucosamine, MSM, and others.  It has been scientifically studied and now proven that nutrients will repair damaged soft tissue (ligament, cartilage, etc.)  In so doing they will reduce the pain of injuries or arthritis over the long haul.  It has been proven that they will arrest the rate of arthritic degeneration, and result in less pain when used long-term.

5) Hot and Cold:  Ice or moist heat can be used for the relief of pain and injuries.  Ice is used for new injuries.  After a week or so switch to heat.

Although scientific studies have shown that drugs can start out giving quick relief to pain, nutritional pain killers do an excellent job, and after a short number of days they can offer better pain relief than the drugs do.  This interesting effect is because the nutrients cause the underlying tissues to heal faster, while the drugs don’t.  That is the reason that the nutrients are chosen oven drugs for pain relief, and can stay ahead of them thereafter. They are natural and good for your body.  You can’t say the same for drugs.

I don't prescribe drugs in my practice.  Because when it comes to pain, most of the time my patients prefer the use of natural and nutritional remedies.  And over the long run, they are better for you, because as they help diminish your pain, swelling, and symptoms, they help maintain your health rather than sabotage it.