The following is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or propose to serve as an alternative to any prescribed treatment of any illness.
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Most people just want their pain to go away, some people, like us, prefer not to take medication. But we all need to find out what’s causing the pain first. And if there is a way to address the cause of the pain instead of just covering up the warning sign, even better.
But, in the meantime, when we search natural pain relief, we’re hit with half a dozen ads for the greatest natural pain relief formula usually including turmeric, white willow, Boswellia, ginger, and some enzymes. And I know that if those ingredients are from a reputable lab, that formula will help. Because for the past two decades my patients have sworn by my Anti-inflammatory support formula.
And to be fair, there are a lot of other options, some of them more controversial than others. This article will not include information about Kratom or CBD, because at the time of this publication those two ingredients are considered unregulated drugs by the DEA.
So first, let’s look at the most popular natural (and legal) pain relievers. Plus, a few of the more scientifically valid physical therapies that rarely get any media coverage unless it’s bad.
And of course, a bunch of free lifestyle medicine self-care tips to avoid recurring pain.
Common Pain Relief Supplements
Also known as Indian frankincense, Boswellia has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine. Boswellia may provide relief for a variety of conditions, including arthritis, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis.
Although generally recognized as safe, boswellia should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women and can interact with some medications.
Digestive enzymes are a natural medicine that can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Enzymes work by breaking down food into smaller pieces, which makes it easier for the body to absorb and use. Digestive enzymes also may break down some of the proteins associated with inflammation.
Ginger is a popular spice with a long history of use as a natural medicine. Its purported health benefits are many and varied, but one of the most well-known is its anti-inflammatory effects.
Inflammation is a response by the body's immune system to injury or irritation. It is characterized by redness, swelling, and pain. ginger has been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation in several studies.
One study found that ginger was able to significantly reduce inflammation in rats with arthritis. The rats were given ginger extract for four weeks and showed significant improvement in their symptoms.
Another study looked at the effect of ginger on human cells. The study found that ginger was able to inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that play a role in the body's immune response.
The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger make it a valuable natural remedy for several conditions, including arthritis, headaches, and menstrual cramps.
Turmeric is a root that’s part of the ginger family. It is widely used as a spice in many cuisines, but it also has some amazing health benefits.
Curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. It can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body, which can lead to a host of other health benefits.
Turmeric can also help to boost cognitive function and protect against age-related cognitive decline. Additionally, turmeric has strong antioxidant properties that can help to protect cells and DNA from damage.
So, if you’re looking for a natural way to boost your health, turmeric is a great option. Just be sure to buy turmeric that contains a high percentage of curcuminoids to get the most benefit.
White Willow Bark
White willow bark is a natural aspirin that can help relieve pain and inflammation. It contains salicin the active ingredient in aspirin. Willow bark can be used to treat headaches, low back pain, and other conditions.
However, just like aspirin, it should be used with caution in people with sensitive stomachs. And people under the age of 18 should not use willow bark because of the risk of a serious complication known as Reye's syndrome.
Hidden Risks of Pain Management
Whether you choose natural supplements, topical analgesics, over the counter, prescription medication or some combination of all, pain management may not work for everyone.
Pain is the body's way of telling you that something isn't working right. It might only be temporary, like a pulled muscle, but it could also be a sign of a more serious health issue.
Pain that lasts more than a few days, doesn’t respond to medication or massage may require professional evaluation. And too often that evaluation results in stronger pain management that does not address the underlying cause of pain. So, any blessed relief is short lived and more importantly the damage that the pain was trying to warn you about can spread undetected.
But a non-invasive functional exam may pinpoint the cause of pain effectively and more important than ever, economically.
Chronic pain is an invisible injury that can leave sufferers feeling isolated and alone. One of the most common prescriptions for chronic pain is psychiatric medication, which can provide some people some relief some of the time and that can be critically important.
Because if pain is caused by any condition other than fracture, dislocation, cancer, infection, or organ failure, conventional medicine has little to offer. Even though published research, from around the world, for decades has put the pieces of the puzzle together.
But since there is no magic pill to sell for the real cause of chronic pain most people will continue to suffer needlessly. And because the source of the pain remains with chemotherapy, constant and never-ending pain management provides the only relief they can hope for.
Related Article: Pain Relief Exposed
Biggest Mistakes Most People Make Managing Pain
Most people don’t look forward going to a doctor and more than ever, must weigh the cost of relief to immediate pain ratio. So, unless pain is unbearable or makes work, play, or rest impossible, many people just live with pain or find the cheapest remedy.
And with so many commercials, most people’s first choice for pain relief is an over-the-counter pain medicine. But just because you don’t need a prescription, doesn’t mean that over the counter pain relief doesn’t come with risk.
Aspirin sends thousands of people to the emergency room every year. Acetaminophen is a leading cause of liver failure. Ibuprofen even at label dosing can cause irreparable digestive tract damage and naproxen can damage esophagus, liver, and kidneys.
So, more people want a less dangerous pain reliever and there are options but ignoring and covering up pain is kind of like taking the batteries out of the smoke detector and just hoping that there’s no fire.
Because like a house on fire, timing is critical. The first two weeks that most people try to ignore or self-manage pain allows damage to spread across systems in the body.
It’s no longer just a muscle, just a mild sprain, just some inflammation, just an ache or pain that will probably go away on it’s own.
By doing what everybody’s told to do, you let the fire grow to a much less manageable situation.
Natural Medicine Relief Alternatives for New Pain
The four most popular natural methods to alleviate new pain are:
1. Ice therapy for the first two days
2. Heat therapy starting 48 hours after injury
3. Topical analgesics like creams or ointments
While very popular, non-invasive and drug free, these physical therapies may only help the most superficial, short lived, self-resolving causes of pain.
So when you finally get tired of dealing with the pain…
What to Expect When You Ask Your Doctor
When there is no bleeding, fracture, dislocation, cancer, infection, or organ failure, your doctor can only provide a few options:
1) Wait and See
2) Order Tests
3) Medicate Symptoms
4) Referral to Specialist
5) Order More Tests
6) Alter Medication
7) Surgical Consultation
8) Token Physical Therapy
Repeat as Needed
And while this seems comprehensive, it can be prohibitively expensive and time consuming, even with good insurance. But still, it leaves too many people suffering after jumping through all those flaming hoops. Leaving you with a chronic pain condition.
According to the National Institute of Health, chronic means any
condition lasting more than 12 weeks.
It can take 12 weeks to get a referral or any special testing.
The CDC says after 12 months a condition becomes chronic. And they are both right.
Because each of those time periods allows the fire to spread more, across more body systems, making it harder to contain and nearly impossible to put out.
At 12 weeks local inflammation from the initial pain triggers a chemical habit of emergency reaction in your brain, draining resources from rest, digest, reproduce and repair systems. (1)
After 12 months, chronic pain causes measurable loss of the
thinking part of the brain. Regardless of pain management
Doctor supervised medical massage specifically targets abnormal tension associated with the cause of chronic pain. This type of massage is often used in conjunction with other treatments, such as physical therapy. Medical massage may be recommended for conditions such as:
The therapist will use a variety of techniques to relieve the tension associated with chronic pain.
These techniques may include:
- assisted stretch
- deep tissue massage
- myofascial release
- trigger point therapy
Medical massage is usually performed twice a week for several weeks. The number of sessions will depend on the severity of the condition treated.
Near infrared light therapy is a treatment that uses near infrared light to reduce pain and improve circulation.
The near infrared light penetrates the skin and stimulates the production of nitric oxide and Vaso endothelial growth factor. These substances are important for improving blood flow, blood vessel function and elasticity.
Near infrared light therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing pain, improving circulation, and reducing inflammation.
Research and treatment centers, around the world, have found best results with treating twice a day for several weeks.
And recent developments in LED technology have brought the price down to where most people suffering with chronic pain can afford to own an Infra-red light and treat themselves at home.
PEMF, which stands for Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields, uses magnetic energy to stimulate and exercise the body’s cells.
Also known as High Energy Inductive Therapy (HEIT), PEMF is a trusted method of supporting the body’s natural healing and regulating abilities.
We are electrochemical beings; our brains use electrochemical signals to communicate with every bodily system.
Studies suggest that if we have enough of the right kind of electrical charge in our cells, the body can heal itself. But most kinds of electricity injure most kinds of cells. PEMF charges the cells by magnetic induction, not shock therapy.
PEMF therapy has been shown to be effective in treating pain, inflammation, and other conditions. But machines strong enough for observable induction, (muscle twitching) are too expensive for home use.
PEMF is usually performed twice a week for several weeks. The number of sessions will depend on the severity of the condition treated.
Did you know that pain nerve
pathways in the spine
can be used to change pain into healing? (3)
Specific chiropractic is a type of alternative medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of neuro-musculo-skeletal (nerve, muscle, joint) disorders, with an emphasis on the spine.
Specific chiropractic is not based on the traditional medical model of diagnosing and treating conditions; instead, it focuses on detecting and correcting minor misalignments of the joints in the body that can cause pain and other problems.
Specific chiropractors use a variety of techniques to adjust the spine and other joints in the body, including manual (by hand), instrument-assisted joint mobilization, and focused traction.
Specific chiropractic is often used to treat resistant persistent back pain, neck pain, headaches, and other conditions that are caused by spinal joint malfunction. It is also sometimes used to treat other conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and TMJ disorders. Specific chiropractic is generally recognized as safe.
Specific Chiropractic is usually performed twice a week for several weeks. The number of sessions will depend on the severity of the condition treated.
Self-Care for Natural Pain Relief
The long game for chronic pain. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to managing chronic pain, but self-care is a crucial part of any treatment plan. From exercise and diet to relaxation techniques and stress management, there are many things you can do to help ease your pain.
Exercise is a great way to reduce pain and improve your overall health. It helps to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, and improve circulation. Even 20 minutes of moderate exercise daily can make a big difference in your quality of life.
Diet also plays an important role in chronic pain management. Eating healthy foods helps to reduce inflammation, which can worsen pain. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, sprouted nuts, and seeds, are particularly beneficial. Other anti-inflammatory foods include fruits and vegetables.
There are also several relaxation techniques that can help to ease chronic pain. Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation can all help to reduce stress and improve pain management.
Stress management is another important self-care strategy for chronic pain sufferers. Stress can worsen pain, so it's important to find ways to manage it effectively. Exercise, relaxation techniques, and spending time with friends and family can all help to reduce stress levels.
If you're living with chronic pain, self-care is essential. These self-care strategies can help you manage your pain and improve your quality of life.
Guide to Self Care now available on Amazon.
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