What is pain? If someone could truly answer this question, he or she would easily qualify as a man of God. I mean Dukkha or pain as classified by spirituality which is hard to comprehend, impossible to understand and often extremely hard to deal with emotionally. There is another pain. The sort you feel when you knock your knee against a chair. For that, the solution is much easier. It is called NSAID. A NSAID is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that helps you relieve the symptoms of pain. At least for a while. Pain can manifest for a host of reasons from long term chronic arthritis to a minor cut or wound.

When pain occurs, it does, through the release of a chemical called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are like hormones. They amplify the signals coming from your nerves telling the body that you are experiencing pain. The simplest reason for this is to enable you to stop and pay attention and perhaps address the cause of the pain. You might not realize that constantly banging your head against a wall is not normal. NSAID’s, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, go to work by inhibiting enzymes in your body – specifically COX-1 and COX-2. It is these enzymes that cause the release of prostaglandins.

The challenge with most medicines currently is its inability to localize. This failure means that the ibuprofen you took for the injury to your head will now inhibit enzymes through your entire body. While doing so, it makes its way through the lining of your stomach and gastrointestinal tract where it inhibits the production of another type of prostaglandin in the stomach lining. The impact on your stomach and GI tract causes long term irritation and damage. Also, it reduces the fluids in your bloodstream which in turn raises blood pressure. I don’t know if you realize, but the pain and inflammation response was actually to heal you.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.