NSAIDs: The Greatest Fallacy In Orthopedics

Are NSAIDs the answer to Knee Osteoarthritis, or are they part of the problem?

Introduced in the 1970s, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and naproxen quickly became a go-to treatment due to their ability to provide temporary pain relief.

Despite recent research pointing towards multiple downsides to this antiquated treatment method for knee OA, as well as the emergence of multiple safer & more effective alternatives, many doctors still continue to adopt a one-dimensional approach, prescribing NSAIDs to their patients as a quick band-aid solution.

But does that really lead to better patient outcomes in the long-run?

Many doctors, especially general practitioners, are not specialized in treating knee osteoarthritis specifically. They only learn about it in medical school for a couple of hours in medical school, with the default treatment option being NSAIDs. And if they have been working for the past 10-20 years, chances are that they have not kept abreast of the latest developments in knee pain treatments.

Moreover, when they diagnose you at the clinic, most general practitioners usually spend no more than 15 minutes understanding your condition. The unfortunate reality is that doctors are usually working with limited information – while they are skilled professionals, they do not have the same level of understanding that you have over how you feel and what you are experiencing.

GP clinics can get really busy, and doctors may not be able to afford you with enough
time to adequately diagnose and treat your knee pain

Worst of all, some doctors don’t even have your best interests at heart. Some of them may try to push expensive solutions to you just to make a quick buck. The markups on pharmaceutical medication can be between 4-20 times as much as their cost price. Others may even resort to recommending more expensive options such as surgery and may receive illegal kickbacks from medical companies.

Instead of leaving your destiny completely up to the whims of your doctor, it’s important to do your own research and go beyond the cookie-cutter solutions offered by most doctors for knee pain.

With that said, here are 6 reasons why you should avoid NSAIDs as much as possible

Reason 1: NSAIDs may worsen your knee osteoarthritis symptoms

Knee cartilage cannot regenerate quickly as it does not have direct access to the blood supply.

NSAIDs may worsen knee osteoarthritis pain as they may inhibit the enzymes responsible for cartilage repair and bone healing.

Here’s an anecdote from Joe Rogan, the #1 Podcaster in the world, regarding the effects of ibuprofen on knee pain

“My friend Cameron Haynes is an ultramarathon runner. He was having all these joint pain so he started taking ibuprofen everyday, 800 mg. Not just once, but sometimes twice a day. Yet he was suffering from constant aches and pains.

Dr Rhonda Patrick shared with me what ibuprofen does to your gut biome and how much it messes you up and actually creates inflammation and can cause stress or strokes. Once he stopped taking it, all his pain went away. It turns out that he was creating inflammation by destroying his gut biome.”

Reason 2: Big Pharma is often downplaying the downsides and exaggerating the effectiveness of their drugs

Many pharmaceutical companies are profit-driven and may resort to unethical practices just to maximize profits.

Whenever you look at studies and data sponsored by these pharmaceutical companies, think carefully about their motivations. Are they incentivized to lie to you and skew the data in their favor? Or do they have your best interests at heart?

In 2004, pharmaceutical company Merck abruptly withdrew Vioxxx, a popular NSAID at that time, from the market, after the FDA discovered that scientists from the pharmaceutical giant Merck skewed the results of clinical trials in favor of the arthritis drug Vioxx to hide evidence that the drug increased patients’ risk of a heart attack.

The Vioxx Scandal was one of the most significant drug scandals of the past few decades

Another instance of the endless greed of Big Pharmaceutical companies happened in 2012, when Pfizer also came under scrutiny for deceiving the public by falsely representing a study about Celebrex, an arthritis drug. Pfizer claimed that Celebrex was safer than other anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen.

Pfizer was forced to pay over $60 million in charges for bribing government officials to approve and prescribe Pfizer products.

If you think that these pharmaceutical companies care about your well-being more than profits, you’re dead wrong.

Reason 3: NSAIDs come with many potential risks & side effects

Many doctors recommended taking NSAIDs to relieve knee OA pain, so it must be safe to use right?


Many drugs interact with the body in unforeseeable ways. If you are also taking other medications for other existing health conditions, it’s hard to predict how that combination of pharmaceutical drugs can disrupt the natural processes in your body.

How do NSAIDs work?

NSAIDs work by inhibiting cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes. The two types of cyclooxygenase enzymes include

  • COX-1: Responsible for protecting the stomach lining and facilitating kidney function and blood clotting
  • COX-2: Produced in response to inflammation, pain and fever

When COX enzymes are inhibited, prostaglandins which contribute to inflammation, pain and fever are reduced, providing pain relief.

Here’s why you might suffer from these side effects

The same COX enzymes that are responsible for protecting the stomach lining, regulating blood flow and helping the kidneys function properly may also be inhibited, leading to a myriad of side effects including

  • Gastrointestinal issues – Heartburn, Indigestion, Nausea
  • Cardiovascular issues – Heart Attack, Stroke, Heart Failure
  • Kidney problems – Reduced kidney function

According to an Italian study on the usage of NSAIDs, it was found that they are a major cause of hospitalizations and emergency visits to the hospital, making them pose a huge health risk to the general population.

Dr. Bob Overholt from the Dr. Bob show explains the downsides of using ibuprofen below:

“Ibuprofen also bother the stomach. Be careful of using them for too long a period of time – they will bother and damage the kidneys, you can get high blood pressure from overuse of ibuprofen or Aleve”

Reason 4: NSAIDs do not provide long-term benefits

NSAIDs do not address the root cause of the problem. Thus, taking NSAIDs for pain relief will not lead to long-term improvements in pain and function.

Imagine a fire raging in your house. The fire alarm goes off, warning you about the fire. It continues ringing nonstop. 

Consuming NSAIDs for knee pain is like turning off the fire alarm without putting out the fire. You might get some temporary peace & quiet, but it doesn’t stop your house from burning down.

Worse still, using NSAIDs to mask your pain temporarily can even lead to your knee pain deteriorating over time. Many people continue to overuse and overwork their damaged knee joints, which further exacerbates their knee osteoarthritis.

Many people end up taking a cocktail of multiple painkillers just to ease the pain. And when the pain slowly but surely starts to escalate, they find themselves in a never-ending cycle of misery and a world of hurt.

Dr Chris Van Tulleken did a 14-day experiment with her and weaned her off Codeine and Paracetamol – and they found that her pain levels were similar to before, indicating that the painkillers had no real effect on her. Eventually, she was weaned off ibuprofen as well and when she substituted the pills with exercise therapy, her condition improved by leaps and bounds.

Reason 5: Costs of NSAIDs can quickly add up over the long run

NSAIDs from popular brands such as Advil, Motrin IB and Aleve can cost between $50-300 annually, depending on the dosage as well as the location of the patient.

And because NSAIDs don’t treat the root cause of knee osteoarthritis, patients can expect to continue taking them for the rest of their lives.

These costs can add up to thousands of dollars, over the rest of your life. Is that what you really want for yourself – to be completely reliant on these drugs?

This money could have been better spent elsewhere. 

On vacations with the family. 
On gifts for your spouse, children or grandchildren. 
Or on your favorite hobbies.

But wait there’s more…

Not only do NSAIDs cost a lot of money over the long-run, moreover seeking further medical treatment to deal with the side effects caused by them can also add up rapidly.

A study was conducted in 1999 on the cost of NSAID adverse effects to the UK National Health Service, which primarily comprise gastrointestinal problems.

The study found that on average, a patient who was prescribed an NSAID would cost the NHS an additional £48 (approximated to be around $200 in today’s value when accounted for inflation & exchange rates.)

Patients prescribed with NSAIDs had to spend even more money to fix their gastrointestinal issues, which were common side effects from NSAIDs

Not only are you harming your body when you overdose on NSAIDs, but you are also putting your financial security at risk, with all these costs that you might be burdening yourself with.

Reason 6: Other safer and more effective treatments for knee OA exist

Great treatment options that are not only effective in the long-term and have no side effects actually do exist. 

But because big pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars annually not only on their marketing budgets, but also to financially incentivize usage of their treatments among hospitals and doctors, these other options often do not get the spotlight and are largely overlooked.

Many unscrupulous doctors are in bed with pharmaceutical companies. Do not blindly heed your doctor’s advice
without questioning it. Do your own research, and seek a second opinion if necessary.

Instead of relying on pharmaceuticals, which do not solve the root cause of knee OA, and may result in plenty of side effects, the best thing that you could do for your own knee pain, is to start off by exploring conservative treatments first.

They are often cheaper, more effective, and rarely lead to side effects.

What conservative treatments should you rely on instead of NSAIDs?

The most popular treatments in the market today are NSAIDs, knee surgery and corticosteroid injections. They can be very costly, may not lead to long-term improvement of knee function, and may result in multiple side effects.

Fortunately, there are other more conservative treatment options that can help provide long-term improvements in pain and function for your knee.

They include:

  • Physiotherapy (Exercise Therapy & Strength Training)
  • Knee Supplements
  • Massage
  • Heat & Vibration Therapy

These options are great alternatives to drugs, injections & surgery

All of these options are excellent, but we would like to highlight one of the best treatments in the market at the moment.

The HeatPulse Knee Massager by Hydragun – Heat & vibration therapy for knee pain

The HeatPulse Knee Massager offers an excellent way to alleviate knee pain and help you regain knee mobility and function. What makes the HeatPulse such a great option?

  • DeepTherm™ Far Infrared Heat that penetrates deep into the knee joint, unlike ordinary heat compresses
  • 120 Hz dual core vibration that loosens up stiff joints
  • Instant, long-lasting relief
  • Use anytime, anywhere. Use it as part of your daily routine, or whenever the pain in your knees starts to flare up. No need to book an appointment with the physio or chiro.
  • No side effects – Safe, conservative form of treatment
  • Affordable – One-time payment of $169

The evidence for heat therapy in the treatment of knee OA

Countless research studies have been conducted in the US, Europe and Asia regarding the usage of heat therapy for knee osteoarthritis.

And there is strong evidence for heat being one of the most effective and safest way to get quick relief without any of the side effects associated with NSAIDs and painkillers.

Not only does heat therapy decrease pain immediately when it is applied to the knee, but it can also lead to improved long-term patient outcomes such as reduction in knee stiffness, improvement in knee mobility and a decrease in soreness and aches.

Here are links to some of the studies that have been conducted over the years. Click on each image to learn more about each specific study.

How does heat therapy work?

Firstly, heat therapy can help to improve blood flow to the knee joint. This increase in blood flow can increase the amount of oxygen and nutrients flowing to the knee joint, speeding up the repair and recovery process.

Secondly, heat can act as a pain reliever, by stimulating the sensory receptors in the skin. This disrupts the pain signals travelling to the brain, offering pain relief.

Lastly, heat can help to increase the production of synovial fluid, the lubricant that is present within your knee joint. This increase in lubrication in your knee joint can reduce friction and stiffness, leading to smoother movement and less pain.

The evidence for vibration therapy in the treatment of knee OA

The evidence for heat therapy is very compelling but it is not the only way to deal with knee OA pain.

There has been an increasing number of studies done on the subject of using vibration for knee OA pain and many of them are showing signs that vibration therapy is helping to improve knee function and reduce pain as well.

Side effects were not reported in the studies that were conducted, and there is improvement of pain, stiffness in the knee which can last up to 4 weeks after treatment.

Vibration therapy was sometimes combined with other forms of therapy as well and proved to be effective – leading us to conclude that vibration therapy can be an effective complementary treatment for knee OA.

🛡️100% Risk-Free Offer

Hydragun cannot guarantee that the HeatPulse Knee Massager will work for your knee pain.

However, their 100% risk free offer is ironclad.

✅30-day moneyback guarantee, no questions asked
✅Free shipping
✅Free returns, no restocking fee
✅No side effects from heat and vibration therapy

There’s virtually no harm in trying the HeatPulse Knee Massager out. After all, what is the worst that could happen?

If it helps you to reduce knee pain, that would be great!

If it doesn’t, you can just write in to Hydragun’s customer service and they’ll process your refund within a couple of days.

Success Stories – Knee OA sufferers who got great results with the HeatPulse Knee 

The HeatPulse Knee Massager was featured by: 

Exercise therapy

Exercise therapy is great. It’s undoubtedly one of the most effective treatments for chronic knee OA pain.

How does exercise help with knee OA?

  • Pain reduction – Exercise can decrease the production of inflammatory mediators within the knee joint which in turn reduces stiffness and pain. Exercise can also strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee which reduces the stress
  • Improvement in range of motion – Gentle stretching exercises can improve the flexibility in the knee joint
  • Mental benefits – Exercise contributes to the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good hormones.

There’s a ton of evidence that supports this. Yet many people make the grave mistake of reducing their level of physical activity when they are experiencing slight pain, which further worsens their condition in the long run.

Dr Jeffrey Peng, orthopedist & sports medicine specialist, recommends exercise therapy as one of the top options for the treatment of knee arthritis

“Exercise therapy seems to be one of the best options for controlling symptoms related to arthritis. Just remember that “motion is lotion”. When we move, we are lubricating the joints, and the day we stop moving we stop lubricating the joints, and all that stiffness and locking and catching related to arthritis returns, along with the pain and swelling.

In addition, exercise therapy has been shown to decrease the progression of arthritis and has excellent long-term pain benefits. Exercise therapy is also incredibly important to restoring function.”

But there are some problems with exercise therapy

Reason 1: It’s hard to plan an exercise program to help with knee rehabilitation

Knee pain is complex and it’s difficult to find the right set of exercises to perform to get pain relief and improvements in knee function from reputable sources.

What exercises should you perform?
When should you progress to more difficult exercises?
What should you do if you experience pain while exercising?What are the common mistakes that could worsen your condition?

Without expert advice, it’s easy to make mistakes that will slow down your progress.

Reason 2: Visits to the physiotherapist are expensive and inconvenient

While experts such as physiotherapists and chiropractors can help design exercise programs that can improve knee mobility and reduce knee pain in the long run, they can be really expensive.

In the United States, a 30-min session with the physiotherapist can cost between $100-200. You can expect to work with the physio for at least 8-20 sessions, meaning that this could set you back thousands of dollars over a few months.

Also, in certain places, it might be difficult to book an appointment with the physio if they are fully booked, which prevents you from getting the relief that you need.

Thankfully, Hydragun has come up with these bonuses to make exercise therapy much more accessible to everyone.

Bonus #1 : Back to 25 – Knee Clinic (Online Knee Rehabilitation Program)

Back to 25 – Knee Clinic is a 3-part online knee rehabilitation program that helps knee pain and knee OA sufferers rebuild the strength in their knee joints and alleviate knee pain.

Knee Salvage, the first part of this program, is offered free of charge to anyone who purchases the HeatPulse Knee Massager.

This program is led by Hydragun’s lead physiotherapist Mathieu Sonier, who has over 11 years of experience, dealing with patients with knee pain.

Bonus #2: Free Online Consultation (worth $60)

Hydragun has also partnered with Mathieu Sonier to provide a free 30-min online consultation for anyone who purchases the Complete Knee Rehab bundle.

Instead of spending over a hundred dollars to visit the local physiotherapist, you can get Mathieu to design a customized rehab program for you at a fraction of the cost.

[This offer will only be available for a limited time only]


While NSAIDS and painkillers can offer quick pain relief, relying on them as your sole form of treatment is going to be a bad idea that will likely lead you down the path of long-term pain.

Hydragun’s comprehensive set of solutions

offer an affordable, effective and safe way to tackle knee OA pain head-on. So what are you waiting for? Check out their website to learn more.

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