Poor Max the dog hurt his front paw and wasn’t happy. On attempts to chase a squirrel, he limped then stopped every few minutes due to pain. The limping went on for a few days until his human friend felt sorry for him and finally decided to give Max some doggy NSAIDs and Acetaminophen. Within an hour, Max was feeling great and was able to fully weight-bear on his front paw despite his injured leg; he was in fact able to once again happily chase a squirrel.

Do you think the elimination of pain & inflammation post-injury was beneficial to Max in the long run or would Max have been better off if he was just left alone?

It has taken millions of years of evolution for all animals from reptiles to mammals to experience the optimal amount of pain and inflammation following an injury, which are essential for most favourable healing to occur. Until us humans come along and mess with an incredibly and wonderfully evolved healing system. We have the arrogance to believe that “we can do better”. Sure, a quick fix may be better in the short-term, but not necessarily better in the long-term.

“The continued dulling of physical pain from drugs, which undoubtedly feels good in the short-term, could produce maladaptive outcomes in the long-term if nothing is done to address the source of the pain itself. That is, routinely taking acetaminophen or similar OTC drugs to treat pain could exacerbate the physical damage, negatively impact recovery time, and even contribute to the acquisition of additional unnoticed injury or insult.” Gallup 2019

How I wish family doctors who instinctively prescribe NSAIDs would appreciate this concept; the use of NSAIDs for acute low back pain almost doubles the risk of developing chronic pain in the future (Parisen et al 2022). Please share this message!

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