The Joy of Aches and Pains

by Timothy Sullivan – Cranston, RI

Our complaints that we were being overworked fell on deaf ears. Our kettlebell instructor, Melissa Beliveau (owner of Fitness with Bells in East Providence) laughed sadistically, enjoying every gripe and curse that came out of us. Even though my fellow 6 AM kettlebell classmates griped, moaned and complained about how sore we were going to be later that day, we wouldn’t have it any other way! Sure, we probably could have benefitted from a “No Pain…No Gain” line of encouragement, but that was not happening!

Aches and pains are a necessary part of achieving optimal fitness. “Rest and recovery” is one of Gunnar Peterson’s 4 fitness factors he uses in training celebrities and athletes in his Beverly Hills gym. Personally, I treat soreness with extra hydration after the workout, and I make sure that I eat something substantial to help my body repair itself following a hard workout session. I have never been one to take aspirin or acetaminophen in response to either headaches or muscle soreness, as millions of Americans do on a daily basis. Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines are generally considered safe as part of a sensible exercise regimen if someone is experiencing   significant discomfort. Those who do take medicine, especially those who take acetaminophen, should reconsider their use and pay heed to the warnings on the label.

Research is beginning to show a variety of health concerns that parallel the use of acetaminophen.
• The American Medical Association cautions against the overuse of acetaminophen, especially in combination with alcohol consumption, as “Overuse of acetaminophen is now the leading cause of liver failure in the United States.”
• Research published in the February 2012 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology found that “The use of ibuprofen and acetaminophen were independently associated with an increased risk of hearing loss in women.”
• William Shaw, PhD writes in the 2013 Journal of Restorative Medicine: “It appears that the marked increase in the rate of autism, asthma, and ADHD throughout much of the world may be largely caused by the marked increase in the use of acetaminophen in genetically and/ or metabolically susceptible children, and the use of acetaminophen by pregnant women.”
• Schutz et al published a finding in the May 2008 Journal of Autism that “Children given acetaminophen after the MMR vaccine were significantly more likely to become autistic than children given ibuprofen.”
• In the February 24th edition of the Journal of American Pediatrics, Liew et al found that “Maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk for HKDs and ADHD-like behaviors in children.”

When you consider that millions of Americans drink alcohol, use acetaminophen, and perhaps even take statins, which also can contribute to liver failure, it is no wonder that health care costs are continually rising.

Fortunately, it isn’t too late to change how you deal with aches, pains and headaches commonly treated with analgesics.

• Migraine Headaches: Use acupressure as follows: “Place your finger in the depression between your first and second toe and press firmly for 3 to 5 minutes.”
• Tension Headaches: “Apply peppermint oil to your hairline; it creates a cooling sensation that relaxes the muscles in your head and neck.” Or drink ginger tea.
• Cluster Headaches: Use capsaicin cream. “Apply a small amount to the inside of your nostril that’s on the side of the head where you are experiencing pain.”

Timothy Sullivan is a wellness broker who began writing wellness articles in 2009. As a lifelong enthusiast for wellness, he saw the need to publicize recent and current medical study results translated into terms that ordinary people could understand and apply in their everyday lives. Among his accomplishments, he has developed a unique, low tech method for gauging overall aggregate wellness in the workplace, and is the founder of Life Panel Inc., a Wellness Brokerage firm (

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