Pain meds linked to hearing loss; get to the root cause instead

hearing loss and pain meds

When the body hurts, people reach for over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers to ease their suffering; they are the most frequently used medications in the United States. Although they offer easy-access pain relief, they have been linked to hearing loss and you may want to be careful about using them on a regular basis.

A Harvard-affiliated study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that frequent use of the painkillers ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) may contribute to hearing loss. The study tracked more than 60,000 women during 14 years and found a 13 percent increased risk of hearing loss in those who took pain relievers two to three days per week, while the risk increased to up to 24 percent in those using it six to seven days per week. The findings are similar to another study that found aspirin to be a risk factor for hearing loss in men.

Why do these medications affect hearing loss? Researchers say ibuprofen can reduce blood flow to the cochlea, the auditory portion of the inner ear, which could result in cellular damage and cell death. Also, acetaminophen may deplete the antioxidant glutathione, which protects the cochlea from damage.

Does this mean you should avoid OTC painkillers such as Advil and Tylenol? Although they can offer effective pain relief for many people, the study’s author says their use should be limited as much as possible and that people should instead explore alternatives.

Rooting out the Problem

If your chronic pain compels you to take painkillers on a regular basis, consider bypassing the conventional band aid approach of simply treating symptoms and look for the root cause of the problem.

Conventional pain management relies on pharmacological applications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), narcotics, and antidepressant pain modifiers, yet these approaches can build dependencies –- and potential hearing loss. While they relieve symptoms, they are a temporary fix for a chronic problem.

Alternatively, functional medicine addresses the root cause of pain, taking into account genetic, medical, environmental, and lifestyle factors that contribute to chronic pain and the inflammation associated with it. This offers a sustainable solution by getting to the root of the problem.

A Personal Plan That’s an Alternative to Chronic Pain

Depending on your unique needs, your pain management plan may involve the following changes, all of which can have a profound effect on chronic pain and inflammation:

  • Herbal and nutritional compounds
  • Therapeutic body work
  • Meditation
  • Breathing techniques
  • Dietary changes
  • Exercise adjustments
  • Strategies to improve sleep quality
  • Stress management

The Takeaway: Take the Pain Away!

While OTC pain meds offer instant relief, they ignore the root of the problem, pose unnecessary risks, and only offer temporary relief. However, a pain management program that addresses the underlying cause of pain can offer a long-lasting, healthy, and sustainable way to free yourself from pain.

Nobody likes to live with chronic pain, whether it’s a mild headache or debilitating back aches. I am trained to look at the contributing factors behind your pain and to create a personalized pain management. Don’t wait another day to get to the root of the problem!

Are you in chronic pain? Go to the root cause

314 address chronic pain

Chronic pain can drain you of energy, joy, and hope and make everyday activities seem like insurmountable obstacles. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, prescription pain meds, and steroids may bring temporary relief, but they come with complications and do not address the underlying causes of chronic pain. For more genuine and permanent relief, it’s important to address what is causing the pain to be chronic.

Is inflammation causing your chronic pain?

One of the most common causes of chronic pain is inflammation. Inflammation is the result of an immune response to remove harmful compounds, including damaged cells. It is necessary for healing and protecting the body, however runaway inflammation keeps the immune system on red alert and can cause chronic pain anywhere (or everywhere) in the body. One of the most important things to address if you suffer from chronic pain is inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory diet for pain

Following an anti-inflammatory diet is foundational to dampening inflammation. Many everyday foods are actually very inflammatory and people can experience considerable relief by removing these foods from their diet. For instance, two of the most common pro-inflammatory foods are gluten and dairy, something most people eat at almost every meal. Many people have found considerable pain relief simply by eliminating these foods from their diet. You can find out which foods are inflammatory for you through a food sensitivity panel or simply by following the anti-inflammatory diet for about a month and then reintroducing foods one at a time every 72 hours and monitoring for reactions.

Some people find a group of vegetables called “nightshades” cause pain and inflammation in their joints. Nightshades include eggplant, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, and hot pepper products (cayenne, Tabasco, etc.). Simply removing nightshades from the diet has brought relief from joint pain for many.

However, don’t ditch vegetables completely. Ample vegetable consumption, including veggies that are cultured, is a key component to a pain-busting diet.

Ditch the sugar to tame chronic pain

In conjunction with removing anti-inflammatory foods, it’s also important the diet work to stabilize blood sugar. Blood sugar that is too low, too high, or that swings between the two will contribute to inflammation. One of the best ways to stabilize blood sugar is to ditch the sugar and refined carbohydrates. Not only does the sweet stuff destabilize blood sugar, it also directly causes inflammation. Eliminating or minimizing sweets is vital to taming chronic pain.

Unwinding vicious cycles of pain

The problem with chronic pain is it can create vicious cycles both in the immune system and in the brain that perpetuate pain. In other words, the pain itself stimulates the body to create more pain. Fortunately, certain nutritional compounds have been shown to help unwind these vicious cycles. They include therapeutic doses of emulsified and highly absorbable vitamin D3, omega 3 fatty acids, turmeric, and resveratrol. Other natural compounds and therapies can also help with pain relief while you work on bringing down inflammation naturally.

Ask my office for more information on alleviating your chronic pain by addressing the underlying cause.