Every day, millions of people rush to the pharmacy for some over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription pain medication. Most of us who live with the debilitating effects of chronic pain would do almost anything to find relief. While painkillers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) or the more addictive opioid drugs can help manage your pain, know that they can also cause severe damage to your body.
OTC painkillers are considered safe by most people, but when taken in large doses they can be deadly. An acetaminophen overdose is one of the most common poisonings worldwide, causing numerous emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths due to acute liver failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled in the past decade.
The good news is, more and more people are seeking natural alternatives to ease their aches and pains. So before you rush off to the pharmacy, check out the natural remedies below to heal your body and fight pain naturally.
1. Healthy weight
Give the body the right nutrients and it will start to heal itself. Maintaining a proper weight, or losing a few pounds if necessary, is a good way to start eliminating chronic aches and pain.
Besides giving your body the nutrients it needs, regular exercise should also be part of your daily routine to manage and eliminate pain.
Turmeric is a nutrient powerhouse. Curcumin, turmeric’s main active compound, is one of the best remedies to fight chronic inflammation and pain. Research has shown that 500 mg of turmeric taken tw0 to four times a day can do wonders for people suffering chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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The active ingredient in chili peppers, capsaicin, can temporarily block pain receptors in our skin. You can find capsaicin as a dietary supplement or as a pain-relieving cream for topical use.
5. Fish oil
When our body digests fish oil, anti-inflammatory, hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins are created which help fight chronic pain.
6. Vitamin D
Many Americans spend too much time indoors, resulting in vitamin D deficiencies. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with many diseases, chronic pain included.
7. Ice or heat packs
Pain can be caused by many things. While ice packs can help ease swelling and muscle or joint pain, some conditions will get better when you add a little heat.
8. Vitamin B12
Known as the painkilling vitamin, daily supplementation of 2 mg vitamin B12 promotes the regeneration of injured nerves. Vitamin B12’s analgesic effect has shown to be beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, lower back pain, and neuralgia.
If you are suffering from chronic inflammation and joint pain, powdered ginger, ginger oils, or ginger tablets can go a long way.
10. Willow bark
Commonly used to treat fever and inflammation, willow bark can be taken as a natural painkiller to treat arthritis, back pain, headaches, and inflammatory conditions. In the 1800s, willow bark’s active ingredient, salicin, was used to produce aspirin.
Skullcap, another powerful herb known for its medicinal power to treat anxiety, nervous tension, convulsions, and pain.
Magnesium – often called the master mineral – is involved in over 300 physiological reactions in your body. Upping your intake of magnesium through magnesium-rich foods such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds or magnesium supplements has shown to balance levels of NMDA, a brain chemical responsible for transmitting pain. However, if you are struggling with kidney issues, you should contact your physician first.
Several studies have shown the beneficial effect acupuncture can have on arthritis pain.
A dose of 500 milligrams of glucosamine sulfate taken three times a day has shown to alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis.
15. Tart cherries
Packed with high levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin, tart cherries can help repair muscle damage to reduce muscle pain.
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