Are you sick of taking pain medication that just doesn’t work? You’re definitely not alone. In fact, 1 in 3 Australians suffers from chronic pain.
Many are told nothing can be done for their pain or arthritis, but this is wrong. In fact, there are many things you can do to improve your situation, without a handful of drugs.
Pain medications can also have serious side effects – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Celebrex and Mobic have been linked to liver and kidney damage.
So what should you do if nothing seems to work?
These are some natural solutions that actually can benefit you.
It’s no surprise that exercise makes it on the list of things we need to do to improve our health. In fact, people who exercise and maintain a good aerobic condition will improve most pain conditions, says Charles Kim, MD, assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine and anesthesiology and a certified medical acupuncturist at Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center.
The body produces its own version of painkillers, such as endorphins, that actually increase your pain threshold. Consult with your physio or doctor about what exercise is right for you.
2. Fish oil
Fish oil is a great anti-inflammatory and works well to suppress pain. Take 1200 milligrams a day of fish oil supplements to see a marked difference.
Turmeric is also another natural product that contains high levels of anti-inflammatory chemicals. It can be applied topically to the area, or included in dishes. You can also add it to rice, soup, smoothies and even teas.
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 also a common cause and amplifier of pain.
5. Vitamin D
Did you know Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a host of chronic illnesses, including chronic pain? A 2009 study found that patients deficient in vitamin D require almost twice as much pain medication as patients with adequate levels. To improve your levels, supplement with vitamin D and regularly get natural sunlight.
This natural chemical is found in capsicums and other hot peppers, and is great for reducing pain. It is an active pain-reducing ingredient that temporarily desensitises nerve receptors. Capsaicin has also been proven to diminish soreness for 3 to 5 weeks. You can buy capsaicin cream and apply to sore areas to see relief.
These tasty fruits contain compounds called anthocyanins. They block inflammation and they inhibit pain enzymes, just like aspirin, naproxen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. It’s also true that cherries contain the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.
Many of us have tried peppermint for freshening but did you know peppermint is a natural pain reliever? Try massaging peppermint oil onto sore muscles or adding it to your bath water for instant relaxation.