No-Pill Pain Remedies

Man sits on his bed holding his head in painWhen you feel pain, the first thing you may do is reach for a bottle of pills, but as it turns out, there are multiple ways to reduce pain without the use of medication.

Most of them involve natural means of conditioning your body or finding ways to take pressure off of pained body parts.

Prescription opioid painkillers such as Oxycontin, morphine, and codeine are potential gateway drugs. Chronic use of aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding, and are responsible for as many as 16,500 deaths per year in this country alone.

What you need is a solution that gets rid of the pain and, even better, has beneficial side effects that promote wellness throughout your body.

To achieve successful pain relief, symptoms should continue to be treated. Pain is distracting, and you need to feel well enough so that you’ll be able to focus on a strategy to resolve the underlying cause and either lessen or eliminate it altogether.

These are natural pain relief measures you can use to help relieve symptoms of pain that have just occurred:

Injury: Ice for the first couple of days to reduce inflammation, then moist heat after the first to second day, which will boost blood circulation and promote tissue healing.

Strained muscles: Add magnesium (such as Epsom salts) or sodium bicarbonate to a hot bath to help relieve inflammation and soothe muscle strains.

To work on managing pain that is chronic or intermittent, there are a variety of options from which to choose.

Relaxation: When in pain, we tend to take shorter breaths. Be conscious of how you’re breathing and whether it’s shallow. Draw out your breath, as it will help relax your body. That dispersal of tension will also help disperse pain symptoms. Think of childbirth and how breathing methods have been used for years – It’s a way to work through the pain and relax.

Supplements:

1) Glucosamine and chondroitin: These natural, proactive options can be used for aching joints. Glucosamine sulfate has been found effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis2, and chondroitin sulfate goes hand in hand with halting the degenerative process, and in some cases – reversing it altogether.

2) White willow bark: Willow is one of the natural sources of aspirin. The extract can be used to treat arthritis, backaches and joint pain. Studies have show that it outpaces placebo in treating low back pain.3

Topical treatments:

Capsaicin: It’s what makes hot peppers hot, and is found in over-the-counter topical creams. By depleting some of the chemical in nerves that transmit pain, it can offer temporary relief.
Nutritional treatment: You can help relieve your pain symptoms through what you eat. There are foods that contribute to an inflammatory state, such as the over-processed, sugary, high-fat foods that line grocery store shelves.

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet, which can take the fire out of chronic pain. Your meals should revolve around whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. Focus on getting the following nutrients, which have anti-inflammatory effects.

1) Omega-3′s: This healthful fatty acid can be found in fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, krill oil and flaxseed. One study found that eating broiled or baked fish a couple of times per week cut the risk of rheumatoid arthritis almost in half.4

2) Antioxidants: These vitamins and minerals, which include vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin E and selenium, clean up free radicals that can lead to inflammation and tissue damage. In the produce section and at the farmer’s market, go for the rainbow effect: choose from a wide, colorful variety of fruits and vegetables.

Exercise: It may seem like the last thing you should do, but exercise can actually help alleviate pain. “Feel good” endorphins are released through exercise and flood the body. Strengthened muscles can also help support bones and cartilage. And better flexibility will help keep your body from freezing within a limited range of motion.

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