Hey! I hope your day is going well!
It’s a familiar scene. I’m sitting down with a new client and beginning to explain to them all the musculoskeletal problems I’ve discovered during my comprehensive evaluation. I explain to them how these problems contributed to the issue they came in to seek my help about and I explain to them how we are going to work to solve those problems.
During this time, I also explain the other factors that are likely contributing to their problems. These may be dietary, sleep related, exercise related or for many they may be medication related.
One of the things that most people are absolutely shocked by is when they discover that a medication they take could be a primary contributor to pain, inflammation and other symptoms that drove them to seek my help. In fact, I’ve actually seen some people have dramatic reductions in pain and dramatic improvements in physical ability by making a medication change. It really is incredible.
Unfortunately most doctors do not fully explain the side effects associated with a drug before they prescribe it to their patient. Instead they simply write the script and only tell them what the primary effect is. Patients often walk out feeling like they are holding a script to a wonder drug that can only make them better. Unfortunately this is typically not the case.
Take one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for instance-statins. Statins are used primarily for cholesterol management and are very effective at doing so. However, did you know that statins have an extremely prevalent side effect of causing musculoskeletal pain? In fact this is the number one side effect of this drug.
There are other drugs known to cause back pain, joint pain, cramping, tightness, weakness and many other very common symptoms that can severely affect quality of life.
Here’s how these drugs work….
Drugs are chemicals that make certain cells or organs in your body function differently. In the case of a statin it could be to reduce a particular enzyme responsible for signaling the production of cholesterol. This is called the primary effect.
While in the body, the chemical also has effects on other cells and organs that are not part of the primary effect. These effects are called side effects.
Primary effects and side effects happen simultaneously, however some people have worse side effects than others.
Regardless of the severity of the side effect that you can actually feel, these drugs are still harming various aspects of your health. If you are on multiple medications that produce the same side effect, than the harm will be even greater.
It is absolutely worth doing your homework and finding out if the medications you take can be possibly causing some side effects that you’re experiencing and also finding out if you can reduce or eliminate any of them.
The ones of highest priority would be
Blood pressure medication
Of course, you may find that some need to stay. So be it. At least you’ll be aware of the effects and you’ll be a better informed consumer who makes decisions based on an analysis of risk vs. benefit instead of just blindly following doctors orders.
My preferred resource for finding side effect information is www.rxlist.com
Just type in the drug name (generic or brand name) and you can find out almost anything you want.