According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, 1 out of 4 US adults 20 years of age and older have reported experiencing severe pain lasting at least one full day. Regardless of age and gender, everyone will experience pain at some point in their lives. It’s a biological mechanism that allows us to identify potential dangers. But what happens when your pain doesn’t go away on its own?
Unfortunately, the vast majority of men and women who suffer from chronic pain resort to medication painkillers in an attempt to mask the symptoms. One such medication is acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol), which is commonly found in both over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol and Excedrin, as well prescription painkillers. The next time you buy a painkiller, check the ingredients and you’ll probably see acetaminophen listed.
Because it’s used in so many different pain-relieving drugs, many people assume that acetaminophen is safe, but this isn’t entirely true. Acetaminophen usage has been linked to liver damage, skin reactions and even asthma, with its effects on the liver posing the greatest risk to a person’s health.
The good news is that acetaminophen is only harmful when consumed in large quantities, usually involving regular doses of 4,000 mg or more per day. However, overdoses do occur, and more frequently than you may realize. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) reported that there were 56,000 emergency room visits, 26,000 hospitalizations, and 458 deaths per year attributed to acetaminophen overdoses during the 1990s. Furthermore, the FDA has stated that nearly 25% of all ER visits involve unintentional acetaminophen overdoses.
In the wake of these revelations, the FDA passed a law in 2011 requiring all manufacturers to update their product labels to warn users about the potential for liver damage.
“Acetaminophen is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, yet it is also an important cause of serious liver injury,” wrote the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) on its website, adding that acetaminophen indirectly damages the liver by promoting the production of a toxic metabolite that binds with proteins within the liver; thus, damaging otherwise healthy cells.
If you still resort to acetaminophen or similar drugs to mask your pain, you should consider seeking chiropractic treatment. A professional chiropractor can relieve many common forms of bodily pain through a series of spinal adjustments and manual manipulation, all without the use of drugs. Many people report a positive improvement in their pain symptoms after just a single session.