Back-to-School Vaccines: Know the Risks and Failures


Back-to-School Vaccines: Know the Risks and Failures.

vaccineBy Barbara Loe Fisher

As summer comes to an end, the drumbeat promoting back-to-school vaccinations grows louder and louder in America. Unlike children in Canada and the European Union,1, 2 our children must get dozens of doses of vaccines or they can’t get a public school education.3

No Shots, No School, No Exceptions

Over the past century, denial of a public school education has been used like a club by public health and medical trade officials demanding that state legislators enact “No Shots, No School, No Exceptions” vaccine laws.4, 5, 6 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

In 1914, children had to get one dose of smallpox vaccine to go to school.13 In 2014, children entering kindergarten must get a minimum of 29 doses of 9 vaccines.14 Babies enrolled in daycare get even more vaccines.15

Medical Exemptions Rarely Granted

Parents in 48 states can file a religious or personal belief vaccine exemption, but some states make those exemptions very hard to get.16 A medical exemption is allowed in all states, but doctors rarely grant them to children anymore because almost all medical reasons for delaying or withholding a vaccine have been eliminated.17, 18, 19

Government and medical trade officials have narrowed medical contraindications to vaccination after Congress shielded doctors and vaccine manufacturers from vaccine injury lawsuits.20 Today, even children with severely compromised immune systems are given most vaccines.21

Doctors Practicing Authoritarian Medicine

Now that everybody is a candidate for vaccination all the time, liability-free doctors have been given a green light to practice authoritarian medicine.22, 23, 24 Distraught parents are contacting NVIC and telling us that pediatricians are dismissing their child’s vaccine reactions as unimportant and refusing to make a report to the federal vaccine adverse events reporting system.

Mothers describe how pediatricians are screaming at them if they decline a vaccination or simply ask for fewer shots to be given to their child on the same day.25

Recently, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics26 proclaimed publicly that he is justified in getting angry at and discriminating against parents disobeying his orders to give their children every federally recommended vaccine on schedule27 which, by the way, means 49 doses of 14 vaccines between day of birth and age 6 with 20 more doses of vaccines by age 18.28

Calling those parents “a public health menace” and comparing them to “substance abusers,” he refuses to treat their children. He said, “That person is a danger, not only to themselves but is a danger to society, a danger to other children in my practice, a danger to old people, a danger to everyone.”29

Pediatricians Exempt from Vaccine Injury Lawsuits

It is sad and frightening when doctors demonize and threaten parents making thoughtful medical risk decisions for their children. The American Academy of Pediatrics knows that vaccines carry serious risks for some children because AAP leaders successfully lobbied Congress to be exempt from vaccine injury lawsuits.30, 31

Some People More Susceptible to Vaccine Reactions

But even if $3 billion in federal vaccine injury compensation had not already been awarded to vaccine victims in America,32 and even if the Institute of Medicine had not published a series of reports confirming that vaccines can cause injury and death,33, 34, 35, 36, 37 everybody knows that people do not all respond the same way to pharmaceutical products38 like vaccines.

Each one of us is born with unique genes and a unique microbiome39 influenced by epigenetics,40 which affects how we respond to the different environments we live in. Some of us are more susceptible to vaccine complications.41, 42 Public health officials have known this for a long, long time.43, 44

Late-Breaking News Addition to This Commentary: Girl Dies Hours After HPV Vaccination

Individual susceptibility to vaccine reactions may have been in play when 12-year-old Meredith Prohaska died within hours an HPV vaccination on July 30, 2014. According to the NY Daily News, Meredith’s mother took her daughter to the doctor for a sore throat and, while Meredith was at the doctor’s office, she was given an HPV shot.

Within 30 minutes of the shot, Meredith, who was a healthy athlete entering seventh grade, became very sleepy and slept all afternoon. When her mom came back from a short trip to get food, she found Meredith face down on the floor with purple lips and no pulse. Her mom is an EMT for the National Guard and performed CPR, but could not save her.

The initial autopsy report was “inconclusive” and further tests are being done. However, Meredith’s death is not the first to occur after HPV vaccine. By June 14, 2014, there had been 171 deaths following HPV vaccinations (Gardasil or Cervarix) reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

One week before Meredith’s HPV-vaccine related death, another Wisconsin teenager collapsed in her home shortly after receiving HPV and meningococcal vaccinations. Her mom reported that when her 17-year-old daughter got home after getting vaccinated, she could barely walk and collapsed, complaining of chest pain and that she was having trouble breathing. Her mom immediately took her to an Urgent Care facility and the doctors there called 911 and rushed her to the hospital ER, where she was treated and recovered.

Fox News recently discussed the Wisconsin HPV vaccine reaction cases and pointed out how difficult it is to get compensated for a vaccine injury or death. Even if parents do have enough information to understand their child has suffered a vaccine reaction and meet deadlines for filing a federal compensation claim within two years of a vaccine death or three years of a vaccine injury and an award is made (two out of three claimants are denied awards), compensation is capped at $250,000 for pain and suffering and $250,000 for death. There is no cap for those who require life-long care.

Learn How to Identify Vaccine Reactions

With so many pediatricians denying vaccine risks and failures, it is even more important for parents to do their own research. If your child is getting back-to-school shots, you should know how to identify symptoms of a vaccine reaction. Once your child has had a vaccine reaction, revaccination may cause a more serious reaction.45 Plus, you only have two years to file a claim in the federal vaccine injury compensation program after a vaccine-related death or three years after a vaccine injury.46, 47 A few of the more serious vaccine reaction symptoms are:

  • Convulsion or seizure symptoms include eyes fluttering and rolling back in the head; twitching, trembling, jerking, shaking or sudden rigidity of one or more parts of the body.48, 49, 50, 51
  • High fever between 103 and 105 degrees F. or more.52, 53
  • High-pitched screaming, also known as the encephalitic cry, is described as a shrill scream, shriek, or wail that goes on for hours. Mothers often say they have never heard this type of crying before. Sometimes babies arch their backs while screaming, which can be a sign of brain inflammation.54
  • Collapse/shock. The child may be pale, have bluish lips, and suddenly go limp and appear to be unconscious.55, 56
  • Excessive sleepiness is when the child sleeps deeply without moving for hours after vaccination and does not respond to noise, touch, or light and cannot be easily awakened to eat.57, 58, 59
  • Brain inflammation, also called encephalitis or acute encephalopathy, has been recognized as a very serious complication of vaccination since the first vaccine for smallpox. Symptoms can include convulsions, high-pitched screaming, collapse, and hours of unconsciousness.60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66
  • Encephalopathy or chronic brain dysfunction can include physical and mental regression, dramatic personality and behavior changes, loss of muscle control, speech, and other abilities, or the child may be unable to continue to meet developmental milestones.67, 68, 69, 70, 71

Vaccine Reactions May Take A Week or Longer to Appear

This is not a full list of vaccine reaction symptoms and there are other types of reactions affecting immune and brain function involving the skin,72, 73, 74 joints,75, 76 blood 77, 78 and other parts of the body that can be warning signs a child may be sensitive to one or more vaccines. Some reactions develop within hours of vaccination while others, like convulsions following MMR vaccination, can take a week or more to appear.79

Review Vaccine Manufacturer Information and Vaccine Ingredients

Before vaccination, read the vaccine manufacturer’s product inserts so you are aware of the types of serious health problems reported in pre-licensure clinical trials and during post-marketing surveillance.80 Take a look at vaccine ingredients as well, because some children are allergic to antibiotics, gelatin, MSG, thimerosal, yeast, egg protein, and other vaccine ingredients.81, 82

Vaccine Immunity Not Permanent: Pertussis Vaccine Failures

Parents also need to know that vaccine-acquired immunity is not permanent and fully vaccinated children can still get and transmit infectious diseases.83 Vaccine failures and waning immunity is a real problem for vaccines like B. pertussis,84, 85 also known as whooping cough. The FDA reported last year that vaccinated persons still can be infected with and transmit pertussis, sometimes without even showing any symptoms.86 The majority of children in many pertussis outbreaks have been vaccinated.87, 88

Learn Symptoms of Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Signs of B. pertussis whooping cough range from a low fever, loss of appetite, and a mild cough to violent paroxysmal coughing, with choking and vomiting of large amounts of sticky mucus for many weeks.89 Small infants can suffer brain damage or die from pertussis if they cannot clear mucus clogging their airways.90 Understanding vaccine risks and failures is a vital part of conscious parenting today.

Ask Eight Questions Before Vaccination


  • You can find well-referenced information about vaccines and diseases, including vaccine manufacturer product inserts, and a brochure that lists 8 questions you should ask yourself before your child is vaccinated.
  • You can review vaccine reaction reports made to the federal vaccine adverse events reporting system.
  • You can read testimonials on the Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall by Americans describing how they are being persecuted when they try to make informed, voluntary decisions about vaccination for themselves and their children.
  • You can sign up for the free online NVIC Advocacy Portal and work to secure informed consent protections in your state’s vaccine laws.

Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Defend Vaccine Exemptions


With all the uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it’s critical to protect your right to make independent health choices and exercise voluntary informed consent to vaccination. It is urgent that everyone in America stand up and fight to protect and expand vaccine informed consent protections in state public health and employment laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and educating the leaders in your community.


National vaccine policy recommendations are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make voluntary vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.

Signing up for NVIC’s free Advocacy Portal at gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choice rights and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips..

So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know

If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don’t share information and experiences with each other, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.

I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the “other side” of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.

We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies or public health officials promoting forced use of a growing list of vaccines to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than “statistically acceptable collateral damage” of national one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn’t be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

I encourage you to visit the website of the non-profit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), at

  • NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
  • If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
  • Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment and sanctions by doctors, employers, school and health officials for making independent vaccine choices.

Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One That Will Listen and Care

If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don’t want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.

However, there is hope.

At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they’re starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.

So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.

(click the link at the top to see entire article on, including videos)


7 Ways To Harness Alternative Energy For Your Home


Natural News Blogs 7 Ways To Harness Alternative Energy For Your Home » Natural News Blogs.

solar-panel-on-house-horizAlternative energy can seem like just a buzzword used by politicians to bolster their position in the polls. But it is much more than that. In fact, the average homeowner is now able to harness alternative energy to make their home more energy- and cost-efficient.

Whether you are looking for ways to reduce your energy bills or your household’s carbon footprint, investing in alternative energy may be the key. Here are seven kinds of alternative energy systems that homeowners like you are using to reduce their power costs and their emissions.

1. Landscaping

You can actually engineer your landscaping to naturally cool your home during the summer, and help retain heat during the winter. Do this using:

  • Wind Breaks: Plant dense evergreen shrubs or trees in the corner of your property to defuse wind chill.
  • Wind Directing Plants: Plant low shrubs under your windows that can direct natural breezes into your home, keeping the temperature lower in the summer.
  • Shade Trees: It’s 3 to 6˚ cooler in the shade, so planting a few shade trees can help regulate your home’s temperature.

Evaluate the way the weather interacts in your yard. Which direction does the wind most often blow? Which side of your home receives the most direct sunlight? The answers to these questions can inform your landscaping strategies to decrease your energy usage.

2. Solar Panels

Many power companies now offer options where a homeowner installs solar panels on their roof in exchange for a decrease in their power bills. The power company will pay for a portion of the renovation in exchange for the increased alternative energy.

Usually the power generated by your panels does not go directly into your home, but back to the power company. Your bill is reduced according to the amount of energy the panels produce. If you aren’t interested in partnering with a power company, look into outfitting your home with its own solar power system. You may even be able to use tax credits to pay for most of the installation costs.

3. Geothermal Heating

Geothermal heating is usually a large-scale project, so it may not be available in all areas. Geothermal heat pumps tap into the earth’s stable temperature. These pumps can lower your energy costs by 40% and they run on entirely green energy.

4. Reinforced Doors and Windows

Switching a few doors and windows to the Energy Star rated equivalents can improve your alternative energy efforts. Energy Star rated doors and windows have more layers than their generic counterparts, which makes them better able to regulate temperature (source: Comfort King Windows & Doors Ltd., who provides windows and doors in Kanata).

5. Microhydroelectric Systems

If you have a natural source of running water near your home, consider adding a small hydroelectric system to help power your home. Water-powered systems can produce up to ten times the energy of a solar or wind system and, unlike these other systems, they run constantly instead of intermittently or only during the day.

6. Fuel Cells

Fuel cells separate hydrogen ions from the electrons. An agent within the cell allows ions to pass, but blocks electrons, creating electricity. These cells can be used to produce heat as well as power.

Fuel cells are currently unavailable directly to the public. However, they are available through installation companies and you may qualify for tax credits to help you pay for the installation.

7. Hybrid Systems

Depending on the area you live in, you may be able to tap into multiple alternative power sources to power your home. The most common combination is wind and solar power, though there are also other combinations like a system of integrated wind and water turbines.

With a hybrid system, you can capitalize on the strengths of multiple forms of alternative energy. For example, a system that uses both solar and hydroelectric power will produce energy 24/7, like a simple hydroelectric system. But this combined system has the added benefit of how quickly solar energy can be refined, unlike a purely water-based system.

Choosing the system that is right for you will also depend on whether you want to be part of a power grid (which is more compatible with large-scale power sources such as geothermal heating) or a stand-alone power source (like a single windmill).

These alternative energy solutions are available almost anywhere in the world. By changing the way your household consumes energy, you can make “alternative energy” into more than a buzzword. Switch to alternative energy to begin saving money (and the planet).

(click the link at the top to read more from

Intermittent Fasting–A Dr. Mercola Infographic


Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is not a form of starvation but a way for you to time your meals to maximize your body’s ability to burn fat. Embed this infographic on your site to serve as a guide for you to create a healthy eating plan, and reap the many benefits of fasting done the right way. Use the embed code to share it on your website or visit our infographic page for the high-res version.

Simple Preventives on How to Avoid Mosquito Bites


Simple Preventives on How to Avoid Mosquito Bites.

mosquito bite

By Dr. Mercola

Summertime calls most of us to spend time outdoors, but this means we must share our space with mosquitoes. Scientists say that about one in five people are especially appetizing targets for the little bloodsuckers… are you one of them?

Of the 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world, roughly 200 can be found in the US, which all differ in their persistence, biting habits, and ability to transmit disease.

Protecting yourself from mosquito bites not only prevents that horrid itching but can also lessen your chances of contracting several mosquito-borne illnesses, such as encephalitis, yellow fever, malaria, West Nile virus, or dengue.

It is estimated that between one and two million people worldwide die each year from mosquito-borne illnesses, the most common being malaria.1

Most commercial insect repellants contain a chemical called DEET, which should be used with caution, if at all. Many studies have found DEET to have harmful effects.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tricks for keeping biting bugs at bay, and they don’t involve applying toxic chemicals to your skin. There are also several natural remedies that can help take the sting out of your insect bites, should your preventative efforts fail.

Although the above video is highly informative, it is dangerously wrong at the end as it states that insect repellants with DEET are the only ones that work. That is simply untrue as there are many safer and effective alternatives, like the bug spray we have in our store.

Mosquitoes Plan Their Attack from Behind the 50-Yard-Line

Mosquitoes are attracted to a number of chemical compounds that they can detect from an impressive 50 yards away. The males are not interested in your blood, but the females are a different story, thirsting after the protein and iron in your blood to produce their eggs.

At this point in our scientific knowledge base, we know that mosquitoes are attracted to the following:

    • Bacteria: One trillion microbes live on your skin and create your body odor. Humans have only about 10 percent of these microbes in common—the rest vary between individuals. Some of us have a collection of microbes that are particularly irresistible to mosquitoes.
    • Chemical compounds: When they are sniffing us out, mosquitoes home in on a wide variety of chemicals—277 were isolated as potential mosquito attractants from human hand odors in one 2000 study.2

Some of their favorites are lactic acid, ammonia, carboxylic acid, and octenol (present in human breath and sweat). Mosquitoes are especially drawn to carbon dioxide.

The more you emit, the more attractive you are to them. Larger people naturally emit more carbon dioxide than smaller people, which is one of the reasons adults seem to be bitten more often than children.

  • Movement and heat: Mosquitoes are drawn to both movement and heat. So if you’re exercising outside on a warm summer evening, you’re the perfect target—especially if you’re short of breath!

Mosquitoes Like OLD Sweat, Not Fresh Sweat

It was once believed that mosquitoes were attracted to human sweat, but science has disproven that the sweat itself attracts them. Instead, they are drawn by the chemical changes produced by bacteria in your sweat.3, 4

Sweat itself is odorless until bacteria act upon it. Although mosquitoes are not attracted to fresh sweat, if you offer them up some “fermented sweat,” they’ll be all over you.

A 1999 study5 found that human sweat was attractive to malarial mosquitoes after one to two days of incubation. During this time, bacteria in the sweat multiplied, which changed its pH from acidic to alkaline as sweat components decomposed into ammonia.

They also found that malarial mosquitoes flock to foot odor—they will even bite a pair of smelly socks if you hang them up after wearing them for a few days.

Not only do mosquitoes find some odors irresistible, but others have been found to impair their ability to find their hosts—and some of these compounds are secreted by your body. One of these compounds is 1-methylpiperzine, which blocks mosquitoes’ sense of smell so effectively that they are rendered oblivious to the presence of a juicy human hand nearby.6

Insect sprays containing 1-methylpiperzine are in the works, but thus far scientists have not been able to determine how to keep the substance from evaporating off your skin, as naturally occurs over time.

Certain people seem to secrete more of these natural substances than others, making them essentially invisible to mosquitoes, which may help explain why some folks seem to be bitten more than others.

Steer Clear of Chemical Repellants, Especially DEET

Currently, DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is used in hundreds of products, in concentrations of up to an astounding 100 percent. If a chemical melts plastic or fishing line, it’s not wise to apply it to your skin—and that is exactly what DEET does. Children are particularly at risk for subtle neurological changes because their skin more readily absorbs chemicals in the environment, and chemicals exert more potent effects on their developing nervous systems. Based on 30 years of clinical studies, DEET exposure can potentially cause the following adverse health effects:7

Memory loss Headaches Muscle weakness, muscle and joint pain
Impaired brain cell function, neurotoxicity8, 9 Tremors Seizures
Skin irritation, hives, blistering Nausea and vomiting Hypotension
Bradycardia Shortness of breath Pain, irritation, and watering eyes

Another potentially harmful chemical found in many bug sprays is permethrin. This chemical is a member of the synthetic pyrethroid family, which is known to be neurotoxic. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also deemed permethrin carcinogenic—capable of causing lung tumors, liver tumors, immune system problems, and chromosomal abnormalities. Pyrethroids have recently been linked to behavior problems in children as well.

Permethrin is very toxic to the environment—especially to bees and aquatic life—and is extremely toxic to cats.10 Even a few drops can be lethal to your feline companion. It is used as an ingredient in some topical flea products, so when you see “for dogs only” on the label, it likely contains permethrin. For more information, please refer to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) extensive 2013 review of bug repellant ingredients.11

Simple Preventative Measures to Avoid Mosquito Bites

Naturally, the best way to avoid mosquito bites is to prevent coming into contact with them in the first place. You can avoid insect bites by staying inside between dusk and dawn, which is when they are most active. Mosquitoes are also thicker in shrubby areas and near standing water. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) has a helpful factsheet12 of things you can do to prevent mosquito breeding on your property. Their “Three Ds” of protection are the following:

  • Drain—Mosquitoes require water in which to breed, so carefully drain any and all sources of standing water around your house and yard, including pet bowls, gutters, garbage and recycling bins, spare tires, bird baths, etc.
  • Dress—Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing—long sleeved shirts and long pants, hats, and socks
  • Defend—While the AMCA recommends using commercial repellents, I highly recommend avoiding most chemical repellents for the reasons already discussed; try some of the natural alternatives instead

Bat houses are becoming increasingly popular since bats are voracious consumers of insects, especially mosquitoes. For more on buying a bat house or constructing one yourself, visit the Organization for Bat Conservation.13 Planting marigolds around your yard also works as a bug repellent because the flowers give off a fragrance that bugs dislike. A simple house fan may also help keep mosquitoes at bay if you’re having a get-together in your backyard. Dragonflies are also very useful. I have literally thousands of them flying in my backyard. They are the two-inch variety and I haven’t had a problem with mosquitoes as they are nearly as effective as bats at reducing the mosquitoes.

Plants Hold the Key to Repelling Mosquitoes Safely

Fortunately, there are highly effective repellents on the market comprising natural botanical oils and extracts that are every bit as effective as DEET, but with none of the potentially harmful effects. You can also make your own repellent using:

  • Cinnamon leaf oil (one study found it was more effective at killing mosquitoes than DEET)
  • Clear liquid vanilla extract14 mixed with olive oil
  • Wash with citronella soap, and then put some 100 percent pure citronella essential oil on your skin. Java Citronella is considered the highest quality citronella on the market
  • Catnip oil (according to one study, this oil is 10 times more effective than DEET)15
  • Lemon eucalyptus was found very effective in a 2014 Australian study;16 a mixture of 32 percent lemon eucalyptus oil provided more than 95 percent protection for three hours, compared to a 40 percent DEET repellent that gave 100 percent protection for seven hours

Use a natural formula  that contains a combination of citronella, lemongrass oil, peppermint oil and vanillin to repel mosquitoes, fleas, chiggers, ticks, and other biting insects,which is recommended in a June 2014 article on AlterNet.17.

(click the link at the top to read the entire article by Dr. Mercola)

6 Causes of headaches and how treat them naturally


Top 6 causes of headaches and what you can do to take care of them naturally –


(NaturalNews) At some point in one’s life, a headache is going to cause some physical grief. The most common response is to pop an over-the-counter medication to relieve it. This will often eliminate the painful physical symptom, but it does nothing to help prevent the headache from happening again.

Since headaches can be caused from a wide variety of underlying problems, it’s important to understand the main systemic disturbances that start the chain of events that eventually lead to a headache. Here are 6 causes of headaches and ways to take care of them naturally.


Stress is a major cause of headaches. People tend to carry stress in their shoulders, neck, jaw, and face, which causes muscles to contract. If this situation persists, it can cause chronic tension headaches. Stress can also be a result of mental or emotional factors that are related to pressure, regrets, and worries. Since the mind and body work together, these concerns can often result in headaches.

To help alleviate stress, consider meditation, yoga, massage, chamomile, and reishi.

Food allergies

James Braly, M.D., an allergy expert, says that 90% of all migraine headaches are linked to food allergies or reactions that are often caused by preservatives, colors, flavors, and other additives. Another study from The Lancet cited relief for 93% of migraine sufferers when allergenic foods were eliminated, which included the common offenders of cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, and cheese.

To help alleviate food allergies, first consider allergy testing by your physician.

Environmental sensitivities

More than 12,000 substances and pollutants in the environment, headaches caused by chemical and environmental sensitivities are dramatically increasing. Whether it is pollen, mold, smoke, pesticides, plastics, perfumes, deodorizers, chlorine, radioactive fallout, or carbon monoxide, these substances are creating toxicity in the body that inevitably leads to headaches.

To help alleviate these sensitivities, incorporate several plants into your home and workspace, spend more time in nature, and cleanse your liver.

Dental factors

Tooth decay, gum disease, and low grade infections from root canals and old fillings can all cause stress in the lower jaw that can reduce circulation to the brain. This reduced blood flow can cause blood vessels to constrict, which produces a headache.

In addition, the cumulative build up of silver mercury fillings in the mouth causes acute toxicity that can easily result in headaches.

To alleviate dental problems leading to headaches, have a biological dentist assess your oral health and prescribe solutions.

Structural imbalances

A healthy musculoskeletal structure is imperative to good health. Without that foundation, the body will become susceptible to a number of different health problems, including headaches. External factors such as bad posture, improper shoes, and traumatic injury, and internal factors such as allergies, digestive problems, and hormonal imbalances, can all lead to misalignment in the spine and musculature, which affects how the entire body is supplied with blood and energy.

Digestive disturbances

According to traditional Chinese medicine, the head is viewed as a compact representation of the digestive system, which means that all headaches are linked, in one way or another, to the health of the digestive system.

According to Dr. Robert Milne, constipation, nutritional deficiencies, leaky gut (damage to the intestinal barrier that allows partially digested foods and chemicals into the bloodstream), and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) are a few of the underlying problems that can bring on headaches.

For more information on different methods of getting rid of a headache, visit the first source below. Check out the second source if you suffer from migraines.

Massage Therapy Helps Remove Disease from Your Pet’s Body


Massage Therapy Helps Remove Disease from Your Pet’s Body.

pet massageBy Dr. Becker

Today, I’m delighted to be interviewing Jonathan Rudinger as a part of my ongoing Highlighting the Healer series. Jonathan is a registered nurse and licensed massage therapist. He has been instrumental in the development of the field of canine massage, and is recognized as an authority on the subject. Jonathan has appeared on several major radio, television and cable networks, and is the founder and president of the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork/Association of Canine Water Therapy.

Like Many Healers, Jonathan’s Love of Animals Began in Childhood

I asked Jonathan, who has a very diversified and interesting background, how he branched out from his work as an RN into the field of massage therapy. He explained that his desire to take care of animals dates back to his childhood, but in college his interests were more directed toward the arts. His first degree was in fine arts from Ohio State University, and after graduation he went on to own art galleries in Chicago for about 15 years.

During that time, he started riding horses, and one day, one of his horses was injured. In dealing with the injury, Jonathan began working with a veterinarian at the stable where he kept his horse, and it dawned on him that he could use his hands to help animals heal. That was back in 1982, and he has pursued his passion for helping animals heal ever since.

When he worked with his horse, he saw tremendous improvement in the way the animal behaved, moved, and healed. Eventually, other horse owners at the same stable began asking him to work with their animals. His reputation continued to spread, and ultimately he was traveling to 10 different stables in the Chicagoland area to work with people’s horses.

Eventually, Jonathan’s brother married a woman who happened to be a massage therapist. She gave Jonathan a massage, and he was amazed at what she was able to accomplish just using her hands. Even though he had been working with horses, he hadn’t yet realized just how powerfully healing massage could be. That revelation led him back to school for massage, and also for nursing. He combined the techniques and principles of massage with those of nursing and Western medicine.

While in nursing school, Jonathan learned about healing touch, which is kind of a type of reiki, and incorporated that as well. So he was working with energy, Western medicine concepts, and also massage therapy, and he began combining treatment modalities in his work with horses. Then on July 11, 1997 (he remembers the exact day), Jonathan was doing an equine massage demonstration for NBC-TV. Within a couple of minutes of being massaged, the horse fell asleep.

The NBC interviewer then looked around and said, “There’s a dog. Jonathan works on dogs, too. They get stiff backs. “Let’s see what he can do.” Jonathan figured, “Okay, I can do this,” so he reached over and pulled the big Golden Retriever’s head into his hands. The dog’s eyes rolled back and suddenly, Jonathan felt the fascia (connective tissue) and energy flowing within the dog’s body.

At that moment, Jonathan received an epiphany. He suddenly realized he could take all that he had learned – healing touch, reiki, Western medicine, massage therapy, his background with horses – and apply it to dogs. On that day, his life changed, and since then, Jonathan has written several books, produced DVDs, and become the spokesman for the animal massage profession.

How Jonathan’s School, the PetMassage™ Training and Research Institute Came to Be

I asked Jonathan to tell us about his school, the PetMassage™ Training and Research Institute and how it evolved. He answered that after the NBC interview, he asked the people involved if they could meet with him the following week to shoot a short video. He told them there were some things he needed to teach people. They agreed, and helped Jonathan create a video that was similar to a half-hour TV show. He took the VHS tape (a predecessor of today’s DVD), had copies made, bought cases and inserts for the tapes, and put them all together. He started going to dog shows with his tapes, and within six months he was invited to the Westminster Dog Show for the first time. So he began working with the dogs at Westminster, and he continued to attend other shows and promote his services and video.

Eventually, Jonathan realized he needed to do a second video for older dogs. After that video was completed, someone suggested that he write a book to go with it. Jonathan had never written a book before, and in fact, he says he didn’t even like to read! So he found a mentor who sat down with him and instructed him to “just make an outline and fill in the spaces.” From that sprung his first book, which he said was quite short and in huge font type, with lots of pictures!

That book is out of print now, but since then Jonathan has written eight more, and he’s currently working on a book for dog guardians who want to work with their pets at home. Another book, the Art and Essence of Canine Massage, gives a general overview of the subject and Jonathan uses it as a textbook in his workshops, which are attended by people from all over the world – from 10 different countries and every state in the U.S.

Jonathan has also written a children’s book called Dogs Kids PetMassage that has just been endorsed by the Girl Scouts of America as a way for girls to earn a skills merit patch. He wrote a book titled Transitions, which is about delivering end-of-life care to pets using massage techniques and mudra, or hand positions, to enhance the flow of energy. Jonathan says he and his team have found it to be very helpful for owners of dying pets. It helps them begin the grieving process and reach a level of peace with what is happening to their beloved companion.

Jonathan also authored a marketing book to help people create an animal massage business of their own, as well as a book titled Energy Work with Dogs, which is more advanced and addresses the use of chakras, pendulums, energy and the meridians. As Jonathan points out, since all dogs are made up of energy, if we can get the energy flowing and bring a state of balance to the body, health is optimized. He and his team work with many holistic and conventional veterinarians, because his healing techniques integrate well with both approaches.

Jonathan’s Massage Students Are About 95 Percent Female, and Many Are in Search of Meaningful Second Careers

I asked Jonathan about the types of people who attend his workshops. Are they pet owners looking to help their own dogs, people interested in a second career in animal massage, or is it a blend? He responded that it’s a blend. Most of his students are female and many are looking for second careers. They look back over their work lives so far and realize they’ve spent 20 or 30 years doing something they don’t really love, or in some cases, they’ve been downsized. Now they’re looking to do something in a second career that perhaps made them happy as children, which is often spending time with and taking care of dogs, cats, birds, rats, guinea pigs, or some other pet or animal.

Jonathan and his team offer a workshop – a type of vocational training that can fast-track those students into their new chosen career. They immerse themselves in an entire week of hands-on training with Jonathan, and then follow up with several distance-learning courses to round out their education. After they complete their foundational training, they can get started developing their new career.

Only about five percent of Jonathan’s students are male. He teaches kids right out of high school, recent college graduates, people in their 30s, lots of folks in their 50s and 60s, and even a delightful lady from Las Vegas in her 80s who took a WaterWork class on how to do massage therapy in warm water. She has a small heated pool in a solarium in her home and she works with small dogs for extra income. It keeps her active and she just loves it!

Many People Don’t Realize the Tremendous Potential of Massage to Enhance Health. It’s So Much More Than a Way to Reduce Stress and Muscle Tension

I personally know the benefits of massage, and I not only offer it to my patients, I also get massages regularly myself because of the tremendous health benefits they provide. Those benefits are far-reaching, which is something many people don’t realize. Everyone knows massage is relaxing and helps reduce stress, tension, and tight muscles. But there are other huge health implications, including lymphatic drainage, improvements in range of motion – all kinds of things. I asked Jonathan to give a brief overview of some of the benefits he has seen in his years as a massage therapist.

He answered that when he is asked about the benefits of massage for dogs, he talks about increasing circulation – blood circulation and lymphatic circulation – which provides tremendous support to the immune system. It’s also useful for weight loss because it can help energize dogs and get them moving.

Massage is also wonderful for oxygen exchange. Lots of the animals Jonathan works with are indoor pets. And of course all dogs live close to the ground. So these pets are breathing all the toxins in the environment that filter down to the ground level, including house dust, pesticides – all kinds of debris. Massage can encourage these animals to breathe more deeply. And a massage therapist can also encourage coughing with percussive moves that loosen phlegm and debris in the lungs, which makes room for more fresh air.

Jonathan says massage also helps dogs feel more confident. For example, with sporting dogs, massage is great for conditioning. It helps prepare them mentally, physically, and energetically for competition. Some of these dogs get massages all winter, then when they start competing in the spring – for example, in luring or flyball — they’re able to run circles around the competition because they’re already in shape. Jonathan adds that swimming is also a wonderful addition to a massage routine.

I asked Jonathan about the benefits of massage for pain management in dogs. He replied that if, for example, he has a dog that comes in with arthritis, he works to increase the natural fluids within the dog’s body. He works to improve lymph and blood circulation, and hormone and energy flow through all the meridians in the body. This can have huge benefits for an animal’s overall well-being.

Jonathan says that when he’s working with one of his patients, he puts his hands over the dog’s body looking for areas of stagnation, and works to get energy flowing again. He uses his knowledge of chakras and their relationship to the limbic and neurologic systems. It’s all about working with energy flow, and that’s also what he teaches his students through his workshops, books and videos. He says, “Every aspect of my life is all about increasing energy flow.”

Energy is also why he became an artist and owned art galleries – he wanted to enhance people’s lives through the use of color energy. These days, he’s enhancing the lives of dogs and their humans by improving the flow of energy in dogs’ bodies.

Massage Can Also Address Canine Behavior Issues

Another benefit of massage that many people don’t realize is that it can calm nervous energy. There are physiologic energy blocks, for example, masses, tumors, reduced range of motion, or muscle tension. And there are also emotional energy blocks in the form of tension or stress. I think that especially in the case of cats, they often suffer from emotional tension, frustration, anxiety, fear or anger rather than, for example, a raging case of arthritis. I asked Jonathan to talk about some of the emotional benefits of animal massage.

He first explained that he hasn’t worked with a lot of cats, because only cats are experts on cats, and they haven’t shared their power with him… yet! He went on to explain that his approach with dogs is to look at the stomach meridian, which flows down around the mouth, and down both sides of the midline of the body, and underneath on the ventral side of the body. It ends up around the anus, beneath the animal’s tail. The stomach meridian is associated with the emotional brain or the limbic system. If Jonathan is treating an animal that is very fearful or raging, has diarrhea, cramping, constipation or some other disturbance of the GI tract, he’ll work along the stomach meridian.

In his experience treating dogs who are fear-biters, food- or dog-aggressive, or who have separation anxiety, he first works with the stomach meridian around the mouth, the belly and the tail, and then takes the dog for a walk. He wants the dog to get a sense of his leadership style and he also invites the dog into a space of safety. As the dog walks with him in safety, he can walk near other dogs or bowls of food, and the dog will cower less and hide less. With time, these dogs pick up on Jonathan’s energy as a healer, and they become more confident in themselves, which in turn can correct a number of undesirable behaviors.

Jonathan’s Advice for People Who Are Interested in Learning Animal Massage

I asked Jonathan how people can learn more about the techniques he uses and teaches in his workshops, books and videos. He replied that he and his instructors start every workshop with a four-hour dog handling session, and there’s a DVD that goes with the training. If someone wants to purchase the DVD and self-study at home, that’s fine. He also has a home-study test that follows up the DVD. If someone feels they would benefit from testing, they can use that test. And of course they can also attend a hands-on workshop.

Jonathan and his team teach animal handling skills, because they realized that some people attending their workshops were learning massage techniques, but the dogs were still leading them around by the nose. They needed to learn leadership skills – the concept of being in charge, but gently, without force. It’s really a whole other skill set, different from learning massage techniques.

Jonathan has programs available for pet parents interested in gaining some basic hands-on massage skills, and programs for people who want to become licensed animal massage practitioners. I asked him if people need to travel to Ohio to take his workshops, or if they can do it all remotely – or is it a combination? He replied that it’s a combination. He doesn’t think a person can learn massage entirely from a book or DVD. It’s a hands-on skill that requires immediate feedback to master. There are a number of things that a canine massage therapist needs to do in the area of body mechanics in order to become successful at energy work and massage. He says his basic textbook and the DVD are a good place to start, but when people follow those up by attending a workshop, the hands-on experience helps them better understand all the concepts in the book and video.

In the workshops, people learn through practice sessions. As Jonathan says, “Whatever they do to their dogs, they do to me first.” He gives them a lot of feedback in the form of gentle guidance. He knows that when they leave to become professional massage practitioners themselves, they will be representing his techniques, so he really wants them to learn correctly. And his training also involves safe dog handling skills to mitigate dog aggression. Students are taught to pay attention to their physical responses and to become self-aware. Animals depend on us to be comfortable in our own skin.

Jonathan Discusses Two of His Most Memorable Cases

I wanted to know from Jonathan about one or two special cases he has treated that were life-changing for the animal, because I know in my own practice, I’ve seen many. Jonathan replied that as recently as last week one of his patients, an old Golden Retriever, limped into his office. The dog’s coat was shaggy and rough looking. His tail was down. He was dragging his paws.

The dog’s owner told Jonathan he needed some advice. He was trying to decide if it was time to make “that” decision. The old dog had been in for several sessions, and he still seemed listless. Jonathan told the owner that he wanted to work with the dog for a bit before offering any advice. So he went to work, and within about 10 minutes, the Golden’s eyes had brightened, her tail was up, and she seemed to experience a sudden jolt of vitality. They lowered the dog from the table to the floor, and she started almost prancing around the room, exploring, sniffing, and just generally showing interest in her surroundings. It was a 180-degree dynamic shift from the dog who had limped in not a half-hour earlier. That dog looked like she was at death’s door. But this dog suddenly had a renewed life force about her. The Golden passed about a week after that final session with Jonathan, but those few extra days gave her family a chance to spend quality time with her, and she was able to participate.

Jonathan explains that what he did with the Golden didn’t involve poking, prodding, twisting, or skin rolling. Instead, he held the dog and allowed her to just become conscious of her body and her potential. He breathed with the dog and held her at various acupressure points and meridians. It was a very gentle, quiet, and slow approach. In about 20-minutes total, the dog told Jonathan she was done. Both he and the dog’s owner were in tears – it was just a beautiful experience. Often, the benefits of massage and energy work with dogs extend to other family members, as in this case. If the dog experiences a shift in health, it can be a teaching opportunity for the family because they can shift as well. They can learn to become more self-aware.

Another client Jonathan remembers was a young man who was a freshman in high school. He was very concerned about his dog, who was older than he was. Jonathan could tell that when it was the dog’s time to go, the young man was going to be devastated. So he committed that he would bring the boy and his dog in regularly, and he would show the boy what he was doing. He said to him, “I want you to feel this. I want you to come and take some of the responsibility for the well-being of your dog.”

During one treatment, Jonathan felt a great deal of heat generating from one of the dog’s hips. He put his hand on the hip, but he didn’t apply pressure, because as he explained, sometimes massage is about receiving rather than giving. So he placed his hand on the spot where the heat was being generated, and he visualized that he was absorbing the heat and channeling it down to his feet, grounding it. Then he brought the young man over and had him put his hand on his dog’s hip, but he told him that instead of pushing, he wanted him to pull. The boy didn’t understand, but Jonathan was able to teach him how to pull and channel energy. And the kid ended up with a big, goofy grin on his face. That was definitely a life-changing experience for him.

The young man’s mother, a physician, was also thrilled because her son was learning that there are things you can do with energy besides pushing. You can “push” and make things happen, and you can also “pull” and allow things to happen.

Jonathan Pursues His Passion for Helping Animals in a Variety of Creative Ways

I think Jonathan’s work is so emotionally enriching and rewarding. It’s almost wrong to call it his career – it’s more like his life’s passion. As he puts it, he and his team are developing “novel ways to become vectors of healthfulness and happiness.” They are working with the veterinary community and recently had a conversation with Dr. Marty Becker about ways to make veterinary practices what he calls “anxiety-free or fear-free destinations.” Imagine veterinary clinics becoming places animals actually want to visit! That would be pretty amazing. Many of Jonathan’s patients are so excited to arrive at his clinic that they try to jump out of the car window in the parking lot! That’s what he would like to see at veterinary practices as well.

I totally agree, and it would be great to help especially traditional veterinarians begin to grasp some of the things they can accomplish with just their body energy and their hands that can make pets feel substantially more relaxed in stressful situations like vet visits. These are simple, small changes that can, over time, create and enhance the bond between DVMs and their patients. Jonathan is helping to facilitate some of these changes with pet parents and in both the veterinary and human massage professions.

As Jonathan went on to explain, he has actually gone beyond that with the Girl Scout program, an after-school program, and a camp program. He and his team want to teach children, as he did with the young man discussed earlier, to work energetically with animals, while at the same time teaching them basic safe handling skills. These are things they don’t learn in school or even at home in many cases.

For example, most dog-bite prevention programs teach kids to stay away from strange dogs, or “stand like a tree” if a dog approaches. Jonathan would like to add to that knowledge base by also helping children relate to both animals and people in positive ways. As he puts it, “Let’s teach them some other skills about embracing another entity.” Help them learn to enjoy that presence and work to enhance connectedness.

Jonathan says that he knows of parents who have sat down with their kids to watch his DVDs or read his books, and some of these parents had a bad experience with dogs when they were young. They realize after watching the videos or reading that the dog who bit them in the face years ago was probably just playing as dogs do, and their face looked a lot like a dog’s face. So some of the parents reach a good resolution to a childhood trauma. They learn to forgive dogs and also themselves for holding a grudge against all dogs. Some of these folks go on to adopt shelter dogs. So there are just a lot of ways that massage can help – ways that would never occur to most people.

Last year, Jonathan’s program was picked up by RAIVE, Registry for Alternative and Integrative Veterinary Education, as a continuing education course for registered veterinary technicians. He and his team are very excited to be able to offer their training to vet techs and vet assistants, and he would like to see it integrated into every vet clinic in the country.

Bottom line – there’s tremendous potential for animal massage for anyone who wants to learn how to do it.

Thank you, Jonathan Rudinger!

I want to offer my sincere thanks to Jonathan for joining me today. This has been such an enlightening and inspiring conversation! I so appreciate his sharing so much valuable information and personal stories with us, and I look forward to checking in with him in the future to see what new things he’s working on.

If you’d like to learn more about Jonathan and all the wonderful things he has to offer, you can visit his website at He’s also on Facebook and Twitter. You can send an email to, and you can also call him at 1-800-779-1001. So there are lots of ways to learn about massage, and to contact him for more information. He has created an open environment that he hopes will be helpful to everyone. As he puts it, “We want you to learn how to get massage, help your dogs, help other people’s dogs, and help yourself!”

(click on the link at the top to read more from Dr. Becker)

Acetaminophen Overdose Is Far Easier Than You Might Think


Acetaminophen Overdose Is Far Easier Than You Might Think.


By Dr. Mercola

Tylenol has been featured in the news again, as its risks are becoming more widely acknowledged. Consumer Reports also criticized the US Food and Drug Administration is not doing enough to keep consumers safe from potentially serious side effects.

As noted by Time Magazine,1 prescriptions for opioid painkillers have risen by an incredible 300 percent over the past 10 years, but the excessive use of over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers like acetaminophen is equally troublesome:

“Acetaminophen, which includes Tylenol and other generic brands, causes more than 80,000 emergency room visits each year because people often aren’t aware they’re taking too much.”

Part of the problem is that acetaminophen can be found in more than 600 different drugs, from cold and allergy medications, to fever reducers and sleeping pills, and many people fail to add all these sources together when taking several different remedies and/or prescription drugs.

Many of the dangers associated with narcotic painkillers (opioids) are also related to these drugs being mixed with acetaminophen.

New Guidelines for High-Dose Prescription Acetaminophen Have Been Issued

Acetaminophen overdose is the leading cause for calls to Poison Control Centers across the US—more than 100,000 instances per year—and acetaminophen poisoning is responsible for nearly half of all acute liver failure cases in the US.2

Acetaminophen overdoses are also responsible for more than 150 deaths each year in the US.3, 4 A major problem is that while acetaminophen is considered safe when taken as recommended, the margin between a safe dose and a potentially lethal one is very small.

Taking just 25 percent more than the daily recommended dose—the equivalent of just two extra strength pills per day—can cause liver damage after just a couple of weeks of daily use.5

When taken all at once, just under four times the maximum daily dose can be lethal! Previous research6 has also shown that taking just a little more than the recommended dose over the course of several days or weeks (referred to as “staggered overdosing”) can be more risky than taking one large overdose.

In 2009, the FDA finally added a warning to acetaminophen-containing drugs alerting consumers to its potential for causing liver damage—a move recommended by an expert panel all the way back in 1977! Then, in 2013, the agency warned that acetaminophen may cause three serious skin reactions; two of which typically require hospitalization and can be fatal.

Most recently, the FDA issued a statement7, 8 urging doctors and other health professionals to stop prescribing and dispensing prescription combination drug products that contain more than 325 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen per tablet, capsule, or other dosage unit.

Consumer Report Warns of Inconsistent Dosing Advice

According to the FDA, more than half of manufacturers have voluntarily complied with their recommendation and have reduced the amount of acetaminophen per dose. However, it’s important to know that prescription products containing more than the recommended maximum of 325 mg of acetaminophen still remain on the market.

If you’re taking more than one acetaminophen-containing medication, remember to add up the dose you’re getting from all sources! Also beware that the dosing advice on various medications can be quite inconsistent. This particular problem was recently highlighted by Consumer Reports:9

“Advice to ‘take only as directed’ doesn’t cut it when the advice is confusing and conflicting. And with acetaminophen, the advice is exactly that.

For example, the FDA has lowered the maximum per-pill dose of prescription acetaminophen, but it hasn’t taken the same step for over-the-counter products. And OTC drugmakers have wildly different notions of what people can take:

Some labels advise taking no more than 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen daily; others set the limit almost four times as high…‘[T]he FDA should fulfill its role to protect consumers by taking strong steps to reduce the dangers, starting by reconsidering its approval of Zohydro ER and finally establishing consistent standards for acetaminophen.'”

Factors That Increase Risks Associated with Acetaminophen

Please beware that your risk of severe liver injury and/or death increases if you:

    • Take more than one regular strength (325 mg) acetaminophen when combined with a narcotic analgesic like codeine or hydrocodone
    • Take more than the prescribed dose of an acetaminophen-containing product in a 24-hour period
    • Take more than one acetaminophen-containing product at the same time. Make sure to read the list of ingredients on any other over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription drug you take in combination.
    • Drink alcohol while taking an acetaminophen product. Research10 suggests that acetaminophen also significantly increases your risk of kidney dysfunction if taken with alcohol—even if the amount of alcohol is small.11

Combining alcohol with acetaminophen was found to raise the risk of kidney damage by 123 percent, compared to taking either of them individually. Besides alcoholics,12 young adults are particularly at risk as they’re more likely to consume both.

Tylenol Doesn’t Work for Back Pain, Study Finds

An estimated 80 percent of Americans will suffer from chronic back pain at some point in life. Some 25-30 percent end up struggling with persistent or chronic back pain, leading many to reach into their medicine cabinet for relief. However, according to recent research,13 taking acetaminophen for back pain is no more effective than taking a placebo. As reported by Fortune Magazine:14

“Conducted at hundreds of clinics in Sydney, Australia, the study tracked 1,652 individuals with lower back pain for four weeks. They were given either paracetamol (what acetaminophen is known as overseas), or a placebo.

In the end, researchers found there was almost no difference in the number of days required to recover between the two groups; the median time to recovery was 17 days in the regular paracetamol group, 17 days in the as-needed paracetamol group, and 16 days in the placebo group.”

According to lead author Dr. Christopher Williams, “The results suggest we need to reconsider the universal recommendation to provide paracetamol [acetaminophen] as a first-line treatment for low-back pain…” Unfortunately, back pain is also one of the leading causes for opioid addiction, which now claims the lives of 17,000 Americans each year. Prescription opioids have also become the latest “gateway drugs” to illicit drug use. It’s important to realize that prescription medications like hydrocodone and oxycodone are opioid derivatives—just like heroin.

The risk of addiction to these drugs is very high—a fact noted in a lawsuit filed by Chicago and two California counties against five drugmakers of OxyContin.15 In their suit, they charge the drug companies with contributing to an epidemic of drug abuse. In Santa Clara County, the death rate for opioid overdoses has tripled in the last decade, and according to assistant County Counsel Danny Chou, this is all due to a “decades-long marketing plan” by drug companies “to create a market for these drugs that never should have existed” in the first place.

Consumer Reports Guide to Safe Opioid Use

Earlier this summer, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced his office is taking steps to address the mounting problem of opioid addiction. This effort includes but is not limited to tracking drug overdose trends, educating health care professionals and the public about prescription drug abuse, and promoting programs shown to prevent such abuse. The federal government will also require manufacturers of extended-release and long-acting opioids to provide prescribers with educational programs explaining the risks and benefits of opioid therapy, and how to select appropriate candidates for such therapy.

While I urge you to seriously reconsider the need for a narcotic pain reliever, there are times when they may be warranted short-term. In such cases, please make sure you adhere to the following common sense advice issued by Consumer Reports16 to limit your risk for adverse effects, accidents, and addiction as much as possible:

Read the label and never exceed the maximum dose. Take the smallest dose necessary for as short a time as possible Do not drive when taking opioids
Do not mix with alcohol, and do not take in combination with drugs without consulting with your doctor first. Taking a narcotic pain reliever with sleeping pills is one of the most deadly combinations Make sure to keep the drugs in a locked medicine cabinet to prevent misuse by family or other visitors. Properly discard unused pills by taking them back to the pharmacy
If you have sleep apnea, opioids can exacerbate the condition with potentially lethal consequences. Also, if you have a cold, asthma, or bronchitis, you may need to lower your dose until you’ve recovered, as opioids tend to interfere with breathing Make sure you’re under regular monitoring by your doctor

NAC Helps Counteract Acetaminophen Hazards

As for making acetaminophen use safer, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), which is an antidote for acetaminophen toxicity, is well worth knowing about. NAC is administered as part of standard care in cases of acetaminophen overdose.17, 18 While I generally do not recommend using acetaminophen-containing drugs for minor aches and pains, they are sometimes necessary to temporarily suppress severe pain, such as post-surgical pain. For those instances, I recommend taking it along with NAC.

It is believed that the liver damage acetaminophen causes is largely due to the fact that it can deplete glutathione, an antioxidant compound secreted by your liver in response to toxic exposure. Glutathione also helps protect your cells from free radical damage. If you keep your glutathione levels up, the damage from the acetaminophen may be largely preventable. NAC is the rate-limiting nutrient for the formation of the intracellular antioxidant glutathione, which is why it’s such an effective antidote. Mortality due to acetaminophen toxicity has been shown to be virtually eliminated when NAC is promptly administered in cases of acetaminophen overdose. So whether you are taking Tylenol in prescription or over-the-counter form, I strongly suggest taking NAC along with it.

Non-Drug Options for Pain Relief

With all the health risks associated with acetaminophen and opioid painkillers, I strongly recommend exhausting other options before you resort to these drugs. Below I list some non-drug alternatives for the treatment of pain. These options can often provide excellent pain relief for mild pain, without any of the health hazards that prescription (and even over-the-counter) painkillers carry. This list is in no way meant to represent the only approaches one can use. These are just some of the best strategies that I know of. If you are in pain, please try these first, before even thinking about prescription painkillers of any kind.

    1. Medical cannabis has a long history as a natural analgesic19 and is frequently not used by many who read this site and seek to justify their use of opioids. At present, 20 US states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes. Its medicinal qualities are due to high amounts (about 10-20 percent) of cannabidiol (CBD), medicinal terpenes, and flavonoids. As discussed in this previous post, varieties of cannabis exist that are very low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the psychoactive component of marijuana that makes you feel “stoned”—and high in medicinal CBD.

The Journal of Pain,20 a publication by the American Pain Society, has a long list of studies on the pain-relieving effects of cannabis and would certainly seem worth the effort for anyone with chronic pain to utilize. One needs to seek a knowledgeable cannabis physician as many have no idea of the proper dosing. If you are seriously considering medical cannabis for pain, it is imperative that you view my interview with Dr. Alan Frankel, who is one of the leading medical cannabis physicians in the US. He can do consultations on the phone if one needs specific questions answered.

    1. Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars from your diet. Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels and decrease insulin and leptin resistance, which is one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
    2. Take a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat. My personal favorite is krill oil. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work, they manipulate prostaglandins.)
    3. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a drug-free approach for pain management of all kinds. EFT borrows from the principles of acupuncture, in that it helps you balance out your subtle energy system. It helps resolve underlying, often subconscious, negative emotions that may be exacerbating your physical pain. By stimulating (tapping) well-established acupuncture points with your fingertips, you rebalance your energy system, which tends to dissipate pain.
    4. K-Laser Class 4 Laser Therapy. If you suffer pain from an injury, arthritis, or other inflammation-based pain, I’d strongly encourage you to try out K-Laser therapy. It can be an excellent choice for many painful conditions, including acute injuries. By addressing the underlying cause of the pain, you will no longer need to rely on painkillers. K-Laser is a class 4 infrared laser therapy treatment that helps reduce pain, reduce inflammation, and enhance tissue healing—both in hard and soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments, or even bones.

The infrared wavelengths used in the K-Laser allow for targeting specific areas of your body, and can penetrate deeply into the body to reach areas such as your spine and hip. For more information about this groundbreaking technology, and how it can help heal chronic pain, please listen to my previous interview with Dr. Harrington.

  1. Chiropractic. Many studies have confirmed that chiropractic management is much safer and less expensive than allopathic medical treatments, especially when used for pain, such as low-back pain. Qualified chiropractic, osteopathic, and naturopathic physicians are reliable, as they have received extensive training in the management of musculoskeletal disorders during their course of graduate healthcare training, which lasts between four to six years. These health experts have comprehensive training in musculoskeletal management.
  2. Acupuncture can also effectively treat many kinds of pain. Research has discovered a “clear and robust” effect of acupuncture in the treatment of back, neck, and shoulder pain, osteoarthritis, and headaches.
  3. Physical and massage therapy has been shown to be as good as surgery for painful conditions such as torn cartilage and arthritis.
  4. Ginger: This herb has potent anti-inflammatory activity and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
  5. Curcumin: In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility.21 A past study also found that a turmeric extract composed of curcuminoids blocked inflammatory pathways, effectively preventing the overproduction of a protein that triggers swelling and pain.22
  6. Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains specific active anti-inflammatory ingredients. This is one of my personal favorites as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.
  7. Cetyl myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a “joint lubricant” and an anti-inflammatory. I have used this for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards. I used a topical preparation for this.
  8. Evening primrose, black currant, and borage oils: These contain the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
  9. Cayenne cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
  10. Methods such as yoga, Foundation Training, massage, meditation,23 hot and cold packs, and other mind-body techniques can also result in astonishing pain relief without any drugs.

(click on the link above to read more from Dr. Mercola)