If you’re suffering from a headache or muscle pain, your first instinct may be to reach for the “Aspirin” or other over-the-counter pain-relief medication that is a staple in most medicine cabinets. While this may be fine on occasion, if the pain you are suffering from is chronic, taking over-the-counter painkillers may only be a band-aid solution with detrimental side effects.
If you’re regularly using over-the-counter medications to treat your chronic pain, you could be doing more harm than good. The regular use of these over-the-counter pain medications may just have serious long-term effects, such as liver damage or intestinal failure. Prescription medication can also be addictive.
There are a number of alternatives available to alleviate pain and treat the root causes—without the possible side effects of over-the-counter and prescription pain medications. These remedies reduce inflammation and swelling, while improving blood circulation and mobility. As an added bonus, these alternative pain relief solutions also promote relaxation, since stress can often aggravate chronic pain. These remedies can also address the underlying reasons for pain and promote good health.
A way to fight pain is in the spice aisle of your grocery store. Ginger is particularly helpful for people suffering from joint pain caused by conditions such as arthritis, since it reduces inflammation and increases circulation. To relieve pain, steep some ginger root in hot water to make ginger tea or use it as a spice in dishes.
If you suffer from chronic pain, you may just have a deficiency in vitamin D. In fact, a study found that individuals with a deficiency in vitamin D require twice the amount of over-the-counter painkillers to relieve pain compared to those who don’t have a deficiency. If you suffer from chronic pain that does not seem to be linked to a disease or condition, try taking vitamin D supplements or eating foods rich in the vitamin, such as fish, fortified soy or dairy products, eggs, or mushrooms.
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, it turns out that an orange a day, or other vitamin C-rich food, may help keep the pain away, since vitamin C is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Patients suffering from nerve pain, particularly pain caused by diabetes, can benefit from taking vitamin B supplements daily and adding foods that are rich in the vitamin to their diet (though people with diabetes should make sure that the foods they add will not affect their condition). Vitamins B6 and B12 are thought to be the most efficient in relieving pain due to their ability to promote homocysteine, thereby reducing inflammation. I recommend taking a B-vitamin complex supplement.
Whether taken orally or applied topically, magnesium can treat muscle spasms and improve circulation. Many report that taking a bath with Epsom salts, which are rich in magnesium, also works wonders. So go run some warm water, throw in some Epsom salts, and relax the pain away.
While supplements offer a range of benefits when it comes to naturally relieving pain, a number of non-invasive therapies are available to individuals suffering from pain, too. These include acupuncture; acupressure, which is when the practitioner applies pressure to acupuncture spots; massage; and craniosacral therapy, which involves a practitioner gently manipulating bones, tendons, and other tissues to improve circulation and release tightness.
Finally, as I mentioned briefly in he points above, diet can also critically affect pain. To reduce your risk of pain, cut out processed foods, refined sugar, grains, fried foods, and dairy. Instead, introduce foods into your diet that are packed with healthy nutrients and fats, as well as brightly colored fruits and vegetables.