Nothing brings a person into a doctor’s office faster than pain. When you hurt, you want quick relief.
Sure, you can try over-the-counter pills, or your doctor may prescribe stronger medication to ease the pain.
Problem is, you could easily have troubling side effects, even if the medication is effective.
In fact, NSAIDs, one of the most popular types of OTC pain relievers, can set you up for a “heart attack in a bottle!”
Rather than risk additional health issues, why not try a couple of non-drug remedies that can relieve pain and allow your body to heal by itself?
Better, safer choices
The following natural pain relievers and supplements are easy to find, safe and worth trying to prevent and/or relieve pain. Just be sure to consult your health care professional if you’re on medications for specific conditions and follow dosage guidance…
- Glucosamine helps rebuild bones and prevent cartilage wear and tear, especially in knees. It also prevents inflammation of the joints and adjoining muscles.
- Chondrotin sulfate, often found in combination with glucosamine, it also helps build cartilage and prevent joint pain.
- Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and prevent enzymes called collagenases from damaging joints.
- SAM-E stands for S-Adenosylmethionine, which helps repair joints and reduce inflammation and pain. It is mostly used for arthritis, but it also reduces muscle stiffness and fatigue.
- MSM and sulfur-rich foods such as onions, garlic, chives, scallions, cruciferous vegetable and grass-fed dairy cheese help reduce inflammation. MSM provides the raw material for producing cartilage in the body since it helps build collagen, the binding tissue for bones.
- Calcium is well-known to be necessary for the production of strong bones and teeth. It’s also helpful in reducing joint pain and inflammation, especially in knees.
- Vitamin C is an anti-oxidizing agent that helps protect connective tissues like ligaments, tendons, and skin as well as bones and joints. Vitamin C also helps make collagen which aids in flexibility of muscles and blood vessels.
- Magnesium is critical for relaxing muscles, maximizing blood flow and allowing nutrients to be delivered into cells. A deficiency in magnesium (found in green, leafy veggies and sprouted seeds) could result in painful muscle spasms and cramping.
- Gelatin acts as a lubricant that prevents normal wear and tear of bone tissue.
- Probiotics help neutralize toxins from any antagonistic organisms in the gut. Chronic abdominal pain is often a sign of infections in the gut, which could be from parasites or other sources.
- Turmeric, ginger, and boswelia are anti-inflammatory herbs that have been shown to dramatically reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. They can improve the immune system which reduces damage from inflammation to vulnerable parts of the body.
- Proteolytic enzymes reduce the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein and are effective at reducing swelling, pain, and edema (swelling). In addition to metabolizing protein, the enzymes destroy abnormal cancer cells and allow the immune system to destroy tumors in the body.
- Arnica, an herb that comes from a European flower, appears to have natural anti-inflammatory and healing properties that decrease pain and post-surgery swelling. It can be used together with ice, herbs, or conventional pain relievers, either in the form of an ointment rubbed on skin or in the form of sublingual tablets. Ask your health care provider which is best for your needs.
- Capsaicin, an active component of chile pepper, desensitizes pain-prone skin nerve receptors. Use of capsaicin ointments and creams diminishes soreness for three to five weeks while the nerve fibers regain sensation. Topical capsaicin is effective for arthritis patients and people suffering from migraine and cluster headaches. “Current formulations are better suited for acute problems, like a sore muscle or an arthritis flare-up, than everyday pain and stiffness,” says Philip Gregory, PharmD, a professor at Creighton University and editor of the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.
- Good nutrition is an essential part of total health, but when you can’t get all the necessary nutrients from diet alone, or your pain has not responded to dietary additions, nutritional supplements can help joint or nerve pain. For the best chance of finding lasting relief, use these supplements as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
Editor’s note: If you suffer from chronic pain and conventional medicine has let you down, or you just want to escape the potential dangers of OTC and prescription drugs even for occasional pain, you must read Conquering the Pain: An Alternative Doctor’s Fresh Look at the Newest and Oldest in Alternative Pain Therapies. Click here to get your copy today!
- You’re in pain. You want releif. Naturally. — NBC News
- Philip Gregory, PharmD, professor at Creighton University and editor of the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.
- “How to Know Whether Ice of Heat Will Ease the Pain” — Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
- Nutritional supplements for nerve pain — Laser Spine Institute
- Best supplements for pain relief — Natural News