Why would anyone want to put themselves at risk of irregular heartbeat that could trigger a stroke and heart attack? That is just what you would be doing if you regularly take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) according to to study just published by the BMJ online.

Acupuncture on the other hand has side effects like improved sleep, more energy, mental clarity, better digestion and less stress and it effectively relieves pain! In the study, the heart health of 8,423 people aged 55 and older were tracked from 1990 onwards in Rotterdam as a consequence it was found that the extra chance of developing atrial fibrillation is as high as 84 per cent.   Atrial fibrillation is the leading cause of first-time strokes. The upper chambers of the heart are out of rhythm and beat much faster than normal, which allows blood to pool and clot. It is thought NSAIDs may also contribute to heart rhythm problems by increasing blood pressure as a result of fluid retention. Bruno Stricker, of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, said previous research had thrown up a link between atrial fibrillation and these painkillers. NSAIDs work by blocking the COX-2 enzyme which reduces pain and inflammation, but is also important in regulating heart function. Around ten years ago the anti-arthritis drug Vioxx was voluntarily taken off the market because of an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

I’ve never had acupuncture before but in the course of waiting on a replacement knee the pain in my knee got so bad that when a client from Vancouver told me to try it I thought I didn’t have anything to lose. I would say on reflection it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life – and I’ve made a few. I have grade 4 arthritis either side of my left knee, which means its bone on bone. I’ve also grade 3 and grade 4 below my knee. I noticed a difference after the first acupuncture session, its not always the case I know – but I noticed it. After 8 sessions I was pretty much pain free. I’m having a replacement knee operation in April and I haven’t had a pain killer since January. I still can’t walk very far but around the house and at night its bliss. These eastern guys know what they are doing. Amanda is a great practitioner, you are safe in her hands. I wish I’d found her years ago. Mike, Harrogate

Acupuncture may help to relieve pain by:

  • stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987; Han 2004; Zhao 2008; Cheng 2009; Ahsin 2009);
  • inhibiting pain through the modulatory effects of endogenous opioids (Uryu 2007; Ahsin 2009);
  • regulating metabolism-related genes and pathways (Tan 2010)
  • inhibiting the activity of cytokines that are mediators of inflammation, including interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha (Xu 2009; Wu 2010);
  • reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Zijlstra 2003; Kavoussi 2007);
  • increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling.