May 13, 2016


Acetaminophen is one of the most used drugs in the world. It might be one of the most abused drugs, too. People pop pain pills by the handful. Many people die every year from over the counter pain medication. Even taken as recommended, acetaminophen can have adverse affects.

Research participants in a recent study viewed 40 photographs. Those who took the pain relieving drug rated all 40 photographs less extreme than those who took the placebo. The highs were not as high, the lows not as low.

“People who took the pain reliever didn’t appear to know they were reacting differently,” the study leaders said. “Most people probably weren’t aware of how their emotions may be impacted when they take acetaminophen."

As alt. country queen Lucinda Williams sings in her song "Joy", "You took my joy, I want it back."

I knew over the counter medicines had some serious drawbacks, but I didn't know dulling down life was one of them. Even more reason to continue my own personal study.

For the past year I have been experimenting with non-steroidal pain relievers. I was used to taking them without hesitation, mostly for headaches. Then I began to learn more about these seemingly innocuous little pills. My project was to see if I could live without them.

I have been pleased with the results.

Now when I get a headache, going to the pill bottle is down on the list of things to do, a last resort. The first thing I do is try to pinpoint the cause of the pain. I find it is usually associated with the following conditions:

  • lack of sleep
  • not enough to eat
  • stress
  • dehydration

Instead of reaching for the pill bottle, I address the underlying condition that I have self-diagnoseed. As a result I have cut my own pill popping by almost 100%. 

Natural remedies that work for my headaches are:

  • time - most headaches go away on their own
  • ensuring I am well fed and hydrated
  • relaxing/napping
  • massaging shoulders and neck
  • stretching/yoga

Medical health practitioners agree that caution is warranted.

“Overuse of the medication can harm your liver. I recommend that if you can tolerate mild pain for a short time, it may be better to live with it rather than immediately try to eliminate the problem." - Dr. Paul Ringel

Pain is no fun. But neither are complications from treating pain, like losing your joy.

Thinking of pharmacuitical alternatives to acetaminophen? They have potential negative side effects as well. Try to treat naturally, and return to fun as soon as you can without having to worry about your liver. Or death.

Having said that, sometimes headaches can be caused by serious conditions. If your headache persists, or worsens, even with treatment, it is probably best to consult your care provider post haste.


  1. Anonymous5/13/2016

    There are some wonderful drugs out there, but there is also a lot of lies and manipulation. I'm currently reading the Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whittaker, this amazing book goes into detail regarding the misuse and abuse of psychiatric medications. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI's) come out particularly bad, well to be fair anti psychotics and lithium doesn't fair much better. Professor Peter Gotzsche from the Nordic Cochrane Centre gives an excellent talk on the subject:

    1. Alex, thank you for the link to this talk. I've just started listening to the video. It seems really good. I've heard very positive comments Robert Whittaker's book you mention. There is a website that called "Beyond Meds" that is a wealth of information on this subject. The author of Beyond Meds has worked closely with Robert Whittaker as I recall. Agree with you, there are a lot of lies and manipulation regarding diagnosis, treatment and drugs for people experiencing emotional and mental health problems. Cheers for the brave people who are finally exposing the gross abuse of the psychiatric and pharmaceutical profit machine.

    2. Anonymous5/17/2016

      Your welcome Terri, glad you are finding the talk interesting. Yeah, the beyond meds website looks good and draws on a holistic approach - lots of useful info. I've finished The Anatomy of an Epidemic and have just started the Emperors New Drugs by Irving Kirsch which is mainly about the placebo effect and SSRI's. Whitaker's Mad in America website is another great resource. We have the Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry as well, doing sterling work here in the UK. To be fair on psychiatry this practice is rife throughout medicine unless people are lucky enough to get a plant based doctor. Alex

  2. Anonymous5/13/2016

    Thank you for this scary, but educational, post. I will stop the Tylenol right now. My issue is back trouble, and when I stopped taking Aleve (naproxen) because of the liver issues, I turned to Tylenol as a "safe" alternative. Now I see that is not the case. I find that I take the pills when I am stressed or in a hurry and don't take the time to stretch my back, or take a warm shower to relax instead. This post is a good wake up call - I should never be in such a hurry to jeopardize my health with these pills. Thank you again - I needed to see this. -- Mary

  3. Anonymous5/14/2016

    24/7 pain is not easy to live with and I've found that no amount of medication really takes it away. I now try heat, relaxation techniques, taking a nap to see what gives me a bit of relief for the time being. On occasion I take medication, but it's rare. I'm trying to stop any medication unless it is absolutely necessary.

  4. Acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) trashes the liver. Ibuprofen (aka Aleve, Advil, Motrin) trashes the kidneys. I rarely take either, except as a last resort when I really need some relief from some pain. Ibuprofen or any of the NSAIDS really mess up my thinking and emotions. I get irritable and can't think straight on them.

    I have great empathy for those who have experience pain, especially chronic pain. I have so little tolerance for pain, I just can't imagine how I would cope if I had it all the time.

    I have used self-acupressure for headaches for myself. I've done acupressure on countless others who have been amazed that it helped their headaches as much as it does. Sometimes the headache goes away altogether. Other times it takes the sharp edge off the pain.

    I have two books by Michael Reed Gach on self-acupressure. Both are excellent. He has a website and has posted some You Tube videos demonstrating self-acupressure which are very good also. A web search of his name will bring up resources if you are interested.

    Self-acupressure is free treatment and can help most any ailment. No drugs!

    Homeopathy is another great interest of mine. It is a learning curve to get involved with it because it is opposite of supplements, over-the-counter products and prescription drugs. I've had some success with things I've used it for. It prompts the body to heal itself. Remedies are inexpensive and side effects.

    I use a lot of supplements (vitamins, amino acids, herbs, etc in order to stay out of doctor's offices and pharmacies. However, lately I've been wondering if there are liver problems associated with overuse of supplements. I've been reading more and more about we can cause imbalance from using too many supplements so I have reduce what I take. Supplements are heavily promoted by marketers and advertisers, which makes me suspious of many of their claims.

    1. Anonymous5/17/2016

      Hi Terri, you might find the following information useful regarding supplements:
      The evidence base is at the bottom, they are completely artificial and damage health. Alex

  5. PS. I really like your list of remedies Gregg. We are led to believe our pains and problems need to be solved by some product we have to purchase. Sometimes we can solve our own and not spend a bit. It's quite empowering!


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