According to American statistics, 1 in 5 adults suffers from some sort of chronic pain, which is not surprising when you step back and assess the modern way in which we live. Stress, long hours working at a desk or behind a computer, lack of sleep, and minimal exercise all contribute to more serious conditions resulting in living with a lot of pain and inflammation in the body. I used to turn to over the counter pain medications whenever I had a headache or anti-inflammatories for sports injuries to relieve the pain. However, all the medication did for me was mask the symptoms I was experiencing, and they created more problems for me because they irritated my stomach and caused damage to my kidneys.
There are many over the counter and prescription medications that are available for pain management, but these don’t come without more serious side effects and long-term risks. After spending a long time researching natural alternatives, I found that there is a natural remedy for almost everything. All we need to do is be open to trying alternative treatments and changing our lifestyle and diet to a healthier one. In this article, I will uncover some surprising natural pain remedies to help you get over those over the counter drugs and heal your body the right way. Let’s take a look at the best pain killers – a natural approach.
The Problem with Conventional Medicine
Doctors save lives every day and I am certainly not discrediting them at all, but I do believe they have a time and place to be called upon. Now, I am not telling you to ditch all of your medication and go the natural way but would rather like to offer you all of the information so that you can make an informed choice about your health and so that you can discover the wonderful natural benefits that nature has to offer us when we truly explore the options.
Conventional, or Western medication never comes without risks and side effects. Every insert to any type of medication has a list of precautions and side effects that should always be read before taking them. But do you really sit reading those inserts? I know I would normally look for the directions and then put that long list away.
The problem with a lot of these pain medications is that they treat the symptoms for temporary pain relief, and you need to keep taking them to block the pain. This is where the side effects and long-term damage can come into effect. Many people easily become addicted to pain medication, not because they need it anymore, but because their body is so used to getting those chemicals and starts to rely on them for that “pick-me-up” good feeling. There are certain cases where more extensive pain management is needed and this should always be done with caution, under the guidance of your doctor, and always sticking to the recommended dosage.
Over the Counter Medications
The most common painkillers that you can purchase in a store are “over the counter” medications which normally contain either aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
Aspirin is one of the oldest over the counter medications for pain and fall within the category of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Even though they relieve symptoms of pain, they can cause your stomach to bleed if you take them for too long. Taking too many NSAIDs can also lead to kidney damage.
Ibuprofen and Naproxen
Ibuprofen and naproxen offer the same stomach and kidney side effects as aspirin, however, they act faster and leave the body faster.
The most powerful painkillers are called opioids and they block the nerve signals in the body that transmit feelings of pain to your brain and offer feelings of pleasure.
Opioids need a prescription and are often administered for pain management after surgery, for a painful injury, or for those suffering from long-term conditions such as cancer.
Side Effects of Opioids:
- Itching and Switching
- A Weakened Immune System
Taking higher than normal doses of opioids can stop your breathing and they are commonly associated with addiction because they are becoming widely abused. Going the Natural Route
Natural Pain Killers
Natural pain killers can work just as well as conventional ones, if not better. Instead of only treating the symptoms, they can also help remedy the root cause of the pain. Natural remedies are safe to take more often and have very few possible side effects. Let’s take a look at some surprising (and some more common) natural pain killers and what each of them are good for.
Cayenne pepper and wasabi can act as natural pain killers if you can handle the heat. Cayenne pepper has several pain-relieving benefits and can especially help with post-surgery pain and can also help with external pain relief. Capsaicin is a natural pain killer found in cayenne pepper and can help with muscle pain, tension, and painful skin infections. You can look for capsaicin in topical pain creams and add some more of this spice into your daily diet.
Wasabi isn’t just a great addition to your sushi, but it is currently being researched for its pain blocking qualities, particularly the isothiocyanates which help block inflammation receptors in the body.
White willow bark is a natural pain killer that works like aspirin. White willow trees have bark that is rich in salicin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. In the 1800s salicin was used to make aspirin because of its pain-reducing qualities. It can help with headaches, lower back pain, and many other conditions. Willow bark comes dried for use as a tea or it is available in capsule form.
While this natural remedy offers amazing healing benefits, it also comes with side effects if taken in excess, including stomach issues and excessive bleeding (just like aspirin) and is dangerous for children. It is always important to follow dosage instructions and to consult your natural or medical doctor before taking certain medications.
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Turmeric has been around for many centuries and although it is the spice that gives curry its rich yellow color and unique flavor, it is also used for its natural medicinal benefits
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that researchers have found to be a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Curcumin helps protect the body from free radical molecules that cause damage to cells and tissues.
Turmeric comes in capsules and powdered form and can be used to treat arthritis and osteoarthritis. It offers pain relieving properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties to effectively treat the symptoms of these conditions. To find out more about how to naturally treat the pain and inflammation that arthritis causes
Curcumin is also used to treat and ease the pain caused by ulcers, cancer, and psoriasis.
Clove is another spice that has amazing healing properties. This spice has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. properties. Cloves contains eugenol which is a natural anesthetic that offers pain relief and works especially well for topical pain. Eugenol is often found in over the counter creams or pain rubs.
Clove can be used in a supplement form or as a topical rub or essential oil. Clove essential oil can also be used to treat pain when diluted and rubbed onto the area. Clove oil can help treat any tooth and gum pain when rubbed on the affected area in small amounts because it can reduce the swelling and irritation in those affected areas and offer anaesthetizing properties for the pain.
Clove has also been used to help treat arthritis and the pain associated with this condition when drinking it as tea.
Heat and Cold Therapy
Used for centuries, this is the safest and one of the most effective natural pain killers. Heat and cold therapy can be used directly on the source of pain and as often as needed. Applying a cold pack can help with sports injuries, sore muscles, headaches, inflammation, and stiffness from strains and sprains. Cold therapy can be used in conjunction with heat therapy as well.
Heat therapy is most effective for treating arthritis pain, stomach pain, and muscle pain once the inflammation has been reduced. If in doubt, cold therapy is always a better option. Apply your heat or cold pack onto the affected area for short periods throughout the day. Be aware of the temperature of the pack on your skin to avoid any harm to your skin.
Everybody has heard of or used ginger in their cooking or baking, but ginger can be an effective natural remedy for treating pain. Ginger can be taken in a supplement form for a stronger dose, as well as steeped in hot water to make a tea.
Ginger can help treat nausea and muscle pain. Researchers suggest that ginger may reduce inflammation and accelerate recovery because of the active compounds and antioxidants that are contained in ginger. The active compounds help protect the lining of the stomach from damage caused by over the counter drugs and opioids too.
Not only is ginger great for muscle pain, but the mefenamic acid it contains helps relieve menstrual pain and various studies have shown that ginger can help reduce osteoarthritic pain too.
Feverfew is a plant that has been used for its medicinal properties for many years. The flowers and leaves of the feverfew plant have been found to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it the perfect natural pain killer.
Traditionally this plant was used to treat headaches, toothaches, stomach aches, arthritis, and fevers. Feverfew can cause side effects, however, such as nausea and vomiting, so it is important to always take the recommended dose.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil comes from the Mentha piperita L.plant. It contains carvacol, menthol, and limonene which are the active compounds that contribute to its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and pain-relieving effects.
Peppermint oil is often diluted to be used as a topical treatment on the area that is experiencing pain.
A 2015 review showed that peppermint oil helped treat painful spasms and problems related to arthritis. Research has also shown that applying peppermint oil to the temples and forehead can relieve tension headache pain.
The Painful Truth
Over the counter and prescribed pain medications are used too haphazardly today and are linked to more serious side effects and addiction. An overdose of these medications could ultimately lead to death. It is, unfortunately, the painful truth behind these medications and not everyone is well-educated on the use of these medications.
With a rise in addictions and overdoses worldwide the need for natural pain relief is important now than ever before. Natural pain remedies are found in most homes today and are safe and effective to use for the whole family, and without side effects or long-term complications.
A simple adjustment to your diet can also lead to a pain-free lifestyle. You can also explore the options of acupuncture, yoga, and meditation to become more mindful of your body and to discover exactly what it needs and where treatment is needed.
Would you consider trying Natural Pain Relief ? Let me know in a comment below
Until Next Time