If you have joint pain, you may not think twice about taking a couple of aspirin or ibuprofen pills for relief. But perhaps you should, as this incredibly common class of medications — non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — may actually harm your joints and ultimately make joint pain worse…
As written in the Journal of Prolotherapy:[i]
“One of the best documented but lesser known long-term side effects of NSAIDs is their negative impact on articular [joint] cartilage.”
NSAIDs May Cause Your Cartilage to Breakdown More Quickly
It’s a sad irony that one of the most common uses for NSAIDs is for treating osteoarthritis, a leading cause of joint pain in the United States. NSAIDs include aspirin, Celebrex, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Aleve and others. But clinical studies show that NSAIDs disrupt cartilage synthesis and actually speed up the destruction of cartilage and joints. According to one study in the American Journal of Medicine:[ii]
“NSAIDs may have deleterious effects … on knee cartilage.”
The Journal of Prolotherapy similarly reported:[iii]
“It is clear from the scientific literature that NSAIDs from in vitro and in vivo studies in both animals and humans have a significant negative effect on cartilage matrix which causes an acceleration of the deterioration of articular cartilage in osteoarthritic joints.
The preponderance of evidence shows that NSAIDs have no beneficial effect on articular cartilage and accelerate the very disease for which they are most used and prescribed. While the rapid deterioration of joints after long-term NSAID treatment can be from a loss of proactive pain sensations, it is much more likely that it is a direct effect of NSAIDs on cartilage.”
Some of the negative cartilage effects linked to NSAID use include the inhibition of synthesis of cellular matrix components, collagen synthesis and chondrocyte proliferation. In the latter case, chondrocytes are essential for healthy joint function, as they are the only cells that produce cartilage tissue. According to some reports, NSAID use may actually be a key reason for the rapid rise in knee and hip replacements in recent years!
“The long-term consequence of the deterioration of the joint is a need for joint replacement. This author notes that massive NSAID use in osteoarthritic patients since their introduction over the past forty years is one of the main causes of the rapid rise in the need for hip and knee replacements both now and in the near future.” [iv]
Some of the effects of NSAIDs on joints include:[v]
- Acceleration of radiographic progression of oseoarthritis
- Decreased joint space width
- Increased joint forces/loads
- Increased risk of joint replacement
- Inhibition of chondrocyte proliferation
- Inhibition of collagen synthesis
- Inhibition of glycosaminoglycan synthesis
- Inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis
- Inhibition of proteoglycan synthesis
- Inhibition of synthesis of cellular matrix components
The graphic below, from the Journal of Prolotherapy,[vi] illustrates how joint damage is accelerated by NSAID use.
Did You Know NSAIDs Also Carry Steep Heart and Gastrointestinal Risks?
NSAIDs are notorious for increasing your risks of heart attack (Vioxx, anyone?). A National Cancer Institute study found taking 400 mg of the NSAID Celebrex twice a day for about 33 months increases your heart attack risk by 340%!
Even aspirin, which is actually a type of NSAID, carries significant risks, including serious gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney damage, stroke, cataracts, hearing loss and a risk of chronic overdose when taking for a long period of time. Aspirin’s side effects are so severe researchers have recommended it be changed to prescription-only status.
And all NSAIDs are hard on your gastrointestinal tract, leading to potentially fatal side effects such as bleeding in your digestive tract, ulcers and perforation of your stomach or intestines.
All of this, plus they may further damage your joints while offering only temporary pain relief at best? Why risk it when there are better ways…
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Don’t risk further damage by relying on NSAIDs… try the Super Joint Support® formula that’s got everyone talking.
Written By: Updated: October 23,2013