Resources‎ > ‎

The Dark Side of Drugs - An Alternative in Treating Pain

posted Jun 20, 2016, 12:53 PM by Adam Lawrence Taylor   [ updated Jun 20, 2016, 5:57 PM ]

Before I present some of the negative aspects that go with medication I want to give you a viable alternative that doesn't get the regard it deserves: Acupuncture. Firstly it offers the option of medicine outside of a bottle. Also for those taking medication in combination with acupuncture, they may find they do not need to take their pain pill as frequently as they usually do.  Acupuncture is not witchcraft and is thankfully, increasingly viewed as a tool to treat numerous health ailments. A study from the United Kingdom confirmed that 83% of GP’s agree that acupuncture can be clinically useful.  Countless clinical trials from all over the world confirm that acupuncture is shown to very successfully reduce or eliminate pain. Too often, I believe doctors reach for a prescription pad, but popping pills for pain may not always be the best way to go. Here are some reasons why you might want to consider acupuncture.  

Acupuncture can effectively treat or eliminate pain naturally while side effects are negligible and treatments very rarely cause serious risk of harm.  On the other hand people who take acetaminophen and ibuprofen, often known to us as Tylenol and Advil, must understand that the range between recommended dosage and toxicity is small according to American drug regulators as was exposed by Propublica.  Although, common pain drugs are taken countless times safely, they can cause damage to your digestive track and cause serious liver damage.  Acetaminophen was suspected to have caused over 2402 negative reactions between 2005 and 2013 in Canada. These numbers are thought to be even higher, but during this period 287 Canadians are thought to have died as a result of taking acetaminophen.  This according to Jennifer Yang et al, who published a report in the Star, on Feb. 21st 2014, after analyzing many sources and compiled those findings into an article “The dark side of acetaminophen”.  In it, they were interested in finding data on the harmful effects of taking these drugs.  The Star’s data excluded numbers from suspected drug addicts and cases that would skew the data in favour of purposeful abuse.  In some instances ibuprofen and aspirin can cause stomach bleeds at the recommended dose, the article states. 


The report also revealed “a dozen cases in Health Canada’s adverse drug events database where people suffered liver injury or damage after taking acetaminophen for several days — despite taking doses below the daily limit.” Infants and senior citizens are at a higher risk of a negative reaction noted an internal Health Canada report.  


The risks, as of yet, have excluded harder opioid drugs.  More expensive and prescription only opioid painkillers have a higher risk of addiction to over the counter medication. 300 to 400 people die every year in Ontario from prescription opioid use, according to a report from the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition.  Overdoses can occur even when the patient takes the doctor prescribed dose, it states.  Too many patients become addicted to painkillers and a great many who abuse painkillers began taking the drug as prescribed by their doctors.  Canadian Family Physician, Dr. David Juurlink, a clinical pharmacologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre studies the dispensing of high-dose opioids in Canada.  He said, "We need to expect less of the drugs we have for pain. They just don't work very well for many patients".  I did not get a chance, as of yet, to ask him what his thoughts are on acupuncture.  But what these facts tells us is that we should not rely on these drugs if at all possible and maybe seriously consider using drugs when all other methods of controlling pain have failed.  Especially given acupuncture’s adeptness of treating pain.


Why do I say this?  After all everyone know drugs are great!  Well I want to inform you of your options when it comes to your health before those options are made for you.  Too often acupuncture is thought of as a last resort.  I can assure you that would not be how my patients view this medicine.   Pain is a big reason why people seek out their doctors.  For some doctors reading this, I would like to gently encourage you to the idea that acupuncture might just be right for your patients.  A referral from you may help your chronic pain patients regain that control back over their lives.  From my experience, acupuncture has worked better than opiates, in cases of chronic pain, without the side effects.  Acupuncture may be able to help you lower the dosage you are taking now.  Always talk with your doctor before making any changes to your medication. 


Talk with me if you would like to know more about what it is I can do.  I offer free consultations.  If you enjoyed this article please share it to support the effort to keep information like this available to the public.


Adam Taylor RAc

© 2016 by Adam Lawrence Taylor

Use of this article, from the author, is granted provided that full and clear credit is given to Adam Lawrence Taylor and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



The views expressed in this blog are my own are should not constitute advice.