CORTICOSTEROIDS AND YOUR CHRONIC PAIN
"Corticosteroids are perhaps the most enigmatic of all the drugs in the western medicine man’s arsenal. It has been said by many practitioners that they are the most used and most abused of all our medicines. Corticosteroids are a necessary component of a healthy physiology and they can be life saving...or they can cause multiple adverse side effects that can be devastating to a dog’s health and well-being. Since this class of biochemicals affects nearly all cells of the body, their beneficial effects can be widespread – and their adverse effects may be totally debilitating and long-lasting." Dr. Randy Kidd from his article, Use Corticosteroids On Your Canine With Caution
"Long-term corticosteroid use may be associated with more serious sequel, including osteoporosis, aseptic joint necrosis, adrenal insufficiency, gastrointestinal, hepatic, and ophthalmologic effects, hyperlipidemia, growth suppression, and possible congenital malformations." The conclusions of a study from a 2001 issue of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology (Side Effects of Corticosteroid Therapy)
"Medications like dexamethasone, methylprednisolone and prednisone have a long list of serious side effects. They include fluid retention, hypertension, headache, increased susceptibility to infection, muscle weakness, diabetes, osteoporosis, tendon rupture, glaucoma, cataracts and ulcers. Psychological reactions such as anxiety, irritability, mood swings, insomnia, confusion and psychosis are disorienting at best and disabling at worst. Many physicians have been led to believe that a week or two of a drug like prednisone poses very little risk. That is why they are often quite reassuring to patients who may worry about corticosteroid side effects. A new study reveals that even short-term steroid use can trigger dangerous side effects." From a May 2017 episode of the People's Pharmacy
Because THE BIG FIVE is standard medical fare for people struggling with CHRONIC PAIN, you should know what these drugs (along with any others you may be taking) are doing to you. Today we talk about one of the 'Big Five's' heavy-hitters --- corticosteroids (aka glucocorticoids). For a very long time I've been telling you that when it comes to chronic pain and disease, inflammation is everything (HERE). I've also shown you that IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPRESSION is the number one medical therapy in America. These facts become far more relevant once you realize two things. Firstly that inflammation is an immune system response, and secondly that a certain degree of inflammation is necessary for you to be able to heal damaged tissues, wherever those tissues may be.
When you understand how corticosteroids work, and then look at the research, you might find it surprising just how commonly these drugs are prescribed. What's truly amazing is that while many physicians continue to use corticosteroids (Cortisone and similar) in the same way they've been using them for the past three decades, a large and growing part of the medical community has been sounding the alarm. One of the best examples of this came from MY PATHOLOGY TEXTBOOK (written by physicians from the University of Texas and University of North Carolina). These renowned pathologists were raising the Jolly Roger concerning corticosteroids thirty years ago. And they weren't the only ones --- not by a long shot.
I've not only shown you how (and why) much of what's found in the biomedical peer-review cannot be trusted (HERE), I've shown you that in similar fashion to numerous other medical arenas (HERE are a few of them), corticosteroids are not being used according to medical guidelines (HERE). While many people --- especially short term users --- will get away with this, there is frequently a price to be paid. Why? Simply because corticosteroids, while unarguably having potent anti-inflammation qualities, also happen to destroy / deteriorate collagen-based tissue (bone, cartilage, FASCIA, TENDONS, ligaments, muscle, etc, etc). In other words, using corticosteroids essentially means that you are trading tomorrow for today ---- short term relief for long-term degeneration and dysfunction. Although a book could easily be written on the subject, allow me to give you a small taste of what I'm talking about.
There are several important points to grasp before getting into the meat of today's post. Firstly is that although they are endocrinologically related, do not confuse CORTICOSTEROIDS (potent anti-inflammatories such as cortisone and prednisone) with anabolic steroids --- muscle building drugs that can help make strength athletes and bodybuilders huge. Secondly, as you read about the side effects, never forget that hundreds of studies on Adverse Events (AE's --- the medical word for side effects) have shown that on average, they are reported to the proper authorities only about 1% of the time (HERE, HERE, and HERE). What this does is give most pharmaceutical drugs safety profiles that are not nearly as good in the real world as is touted in the individual studies you'll see below. Thirdly, be aware that there are NUMEROUS WAYS that Big Pharma is cooking their books in order to make their products look better (the chief one being not publishing research that shows their products in a negative light --- see link). And fourthly, it is shocking how many studies --- particularly older studies --- did not look at side effects as a matter of course. In many cases, if researchers were not specifically studying side effects, they were not dealt with or mentioned in the study's results.
So why, when we see the crazy number of side effects associated with corticosteroids of every kind (injected, oral, topical), do physicians continue to prescribe them in an almost unbridled fashion for just about everything under the sun? It's surely not because these drugs are solving the problem --- ever. It's because they are good at relieving pain and symptoms, at least for the short term. But whether taking them for short or long-term, we now know that side effects --- many of them quite severe --- are almost unavoidable. What's the solution?
Fortunately, there are any number of ways to address inflammation naturally. The good thing is that I've created a generic template that will help many of you --- not all, but many --- solve your inflammation without dangerous drugs. HERE it is. My gift to you, completely free. An EXIT STRATEGY if you will Not necessarily easy, but simple. Take a look at it and get started today!
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).