When someone lives in pain, especially chronic pain, it can be debilitating and discouraging. People with chronic pain miss out on everyday life because they can’t muster the strength or energy to enjoy what normal people do. The pain is exhausting and often causes depression. When people can’t go out with friends and family, they often feel isolated, adding to physical and mental distress. To avoid taking prescription medications, what can those with chronic pain do to relieve pain naturally? The following are lists of many things you can try to relieve pain without taking prescription drugs.
Herbal Supplements for Pain Relief
Many people prefer to take supplements instead of prescriptions. Herbal products that may reduce pain include:
-White willow bark is used to treat inflammation — the main cause of most aches and pains. It is considered to be the natural equivalent of aspirin. Originally, people would chew on its bark to relieve pain and fever. It is now sold in a tea and capsule form and is used for treatment of headaches, back pain and osteoarthritis. You must use caution not to take too much, however, as it can cause upset stomach, slow kidney function and cause internal bleeding.
-St. John’s wort is considered an effective herbal remedy for treating nerve pain as well as a host of other ailments, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
-Evening primrose oil is effective in treating nerve pain due to its high amounts of omega 6 fatty acids, which exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. Taking omega 3 fatty acids with evening primrose oil increases the oil’s effectiveness. Taking too much of this herb at once may cause diarrhea so don’t take more than 2-6 grams at a time.
-Valerian root has been used extensively for treating insomnia, nerve disorder, nerve pain and anxiety.
-Peppermint oil is considered an extremely effective treatment for nerve pain as well as joint pain and headaches. It comes in an oil form and is rubbed on the affected area to relieve pain.
-Arnica is a plant with high anti-inflammatory properties. It contains several fatty acids that can be used to treat bruising, aches, sprains, and muscle and joint stiffness when applied topically. Arnica has been shown to reduce pain associated with osteoporosis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
-Boswellia comes from the boswellia tree. In a study, people who often got cluster headaches had milder, less frequent headaches when they took boswellia regularly.
-Feverfew and butterbur may help to prevent and treat pain associated with migraines. Although there are no studies to prove its efficacy, people seem to have good results.
-Caffeine, in combination with a pain reliever, can ease the effects of a migraine.
Items from the Spice Rack
-Turmeric can be used to treat indigestion, ulcers, upset stomach, psoriasis, osteoarthritis and even cancer.
-Clove is available in capsule or powder form, and may ease nausea and treat colds as well as relieve pain associated with headaches, arthritic inflammation and toothaches. Cloves may also be used as a topical pain reliever. Cloves can increase abnormal bleeding so someone taking a blood thinner should take cloves carefully.
-Curcumin is a spice that is known to be extremely effective at reducing inflammation, a common cause of pain. A study found that supplementing with turmeric and curcumin significantly reduced muscle soreness.
Other Helpful Supplements
-Hydration: drinking enough water can actually reduce pain. This is especially important with back pain. Once the body begins to become dehydrated, it pulls water from the discs in your back first. Dehydrated discs can cause many issues. Drinking an adequate amount of water also helps to reduce stiffness by helping the blood carry healing nutrients and oxygen through the body, and flush toxins out of the muscles and soft tissue.
-SAM-e is known for treating osteoarthritis and depression, as well as easing pain, relieving stiffness, reducing joint swelling and rebuilding cartilage.
-Proteolytic enzymes are responsible for breaking down protein into amino acids; however they are also useful for reducing inflammation, encouraging blood flow, relieving digestive pain and boosting the immune system.
-Probiotics are the bacteria that live in your gut and help keep you healthy. Probiotics lessen inflammation and may help with irritable bowel syndrome as well as pain and bloating. A few foods high in probiotics are kefir and sauerkraut.
-Omega-3 fatty acids are good fats that lower inflammation to reduce joint pain and stiffness, as well as back pain. Experts recommend foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish, canola oil, brussel sprouts, spinach and eggs.
-Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a host of chronic illnesses, including chronic pain. A study showed that patients with deficient vitamin D levels require twice the amount of prescription painkillers as those that take vitamin D daily and get adequate sun exposure.
-Magnesium has been shown to balance levels of a brain chemical known as NMDA that is responsible for transmitting pain throughout the nervous system. Magnesium deficiency is a common cause and amplifier of pain.
Non-supplement Natural Remedies
-Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that seeks to relieve pain by balancing the body’s natural energy paths. It is believed that acupuncture may relieve pain by making the body release serotonin, a natural ‘feel-good’ chemical.
-Heat and ice: Moist heat placed over top of a tight muscle helps to loosen the tension in the muscle and relax it away. Ice placed over top of an inflamed area will relieve the inflammation. Heat or ice should be placed on the affected area for 20 minutes and then removed for 40 minutes, repeating as often as needed.
-Massage therapy has been shown to not only help with relaxation but can also diminish the body’s perception of pain. Massage therapy increases blood flow which helps to nourish and heal soft tissue. Massage also releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural analgesic.
-Laughter may sound like a simple or even crazy fix, but one study showed that social laughter actually increases pain tolerance. Laughter has many positive effects, including increasing circulation and oxygen as well as raising your body’s level of endorphins.
Pain of Eczema and Psoriasis
Eczema and psoriasis are very painful and irritating skin issues that can be calmed by keeping skin well nourished and hydrated. Epiphany Therapeutics offers a cream specifically for eczema and psoriasis to heal and protect the skin using only natural ingredients to supply nutrients essential for healthy skin.
People are plagued with many different types of illnesses and sources of pain. Whether it’s back pain, joint pain, osteoarthritis, cluster headaches, migraines, muscle aches, sprains, stiffness, ulcers, upset stomach, eczema or psoriasis — most people run to the doctor to get a prescription. However, after you speak to your doctor and identify the problem, consider trying one of the natural remedies covered here. If the natural ideas don’t work, then try the prescription route. You should always speak to your doctor about all supplements to make sure there will be no interference with any medications you are currently taking.