The Abusive Clinical Prescribing of Anti-inflammatory Drugs
The American medical care system is focused on providing relief of symptoms rather than prevention or dealing with underlying causes. Thus when a patient presents with an acute sports injury, or chronic pain, the first thing they do is prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) under the assumption that quelling inflammation assists recovery.
Mostly because of a lack of adequate information provided by the prescribing physician, many patients are under the mistaken impression that these drugs not only reduce pain, but also promote healing. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. As every Prolotherapist (but apparently very few orthopedic and family physicians) knows, inflammation resulting from injury is an integral part of the healing process. So it may not be so wise to interfere with it.
Furthermore, no available evidence suggests that NSAIDS are able to promote the healing process independent of the body’s inflammatory reaction.
A study in mice last year specifically compared the effect of NSAIDS with acetomenophen (which is not anti-inflammatory) on healing, and found there was no difference. Prolotherapists would contend that the use of NSAIDS is actually counterproductive by virtue of their mechanism of action. Inflammation must not be surpressed, and the danger of doing so is incomplete healing.
Physicians have long been well aware of the significant side effect profile of the newer (and older) anti-inflammatory drugs. Recent publicity on the Vioxx and Bextra cases have ensured that everyone else is aware of this now as well, and that the side effects are now known to be as potentially serious as premature death.
An article in the current issue (June 2005) of The Physician and Sports Medicine concludes that it is rather clear that the benefits of these drugs do not outweigh their risks, and that physicians should be prescribing simple pain relieving drugs rather than NSAIDS for acute sports injuries. This affirms what Prolotherapists have been saying all along. Eventually the truth wins out. It may take them quite a while longer to realize that actually promoting the inflammatory process through Prolotherapy IS the way to get faster healing and recovery. But I encourage our readers who may be suffering from sports injuries not to wait the indefinite time that will be required for their family doctors or orthopedists to understand and accept this next logical conclusion in this matter. Instead, review the literature:
Why We Don't Recommend NSAIDs
NSAIDs Hamper Ligament and Tendon Healing
and then come in for an evaluation. We believe you will be very happy you did.