Safer Natural Pain Relievers
There are safer natural pain relievers that can relieve pain as well as or better than the commonly used but more dangerous pain relievers. As I explained for my email newsletter subscribers, the commonly used and commonly prescribed pain relievers acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) do more harm to your health than most people (including physicians) realize. You can read my newsletter issue about those pain relievers’ risks of causing heart attacks, destroying your joints, dissolving your liver, and causing blindness by clicking here. (You don’t have to subscribe to read that issue, but it is free to subscribe for additional issues if you wish.)
First let me point out that pain is an indication that something is wrong or damaged in the body. So it is not something to be condemned, suppressed for long, or viewed as a malfunction of the body to be overcome. It should be viewed as a friendly notification that you need to take action to remedy what’s troubling the body. Many pain relievers don’t address the causes of pain—they only temporarily alleviate it. So I generally recommend seeking to identify and resolve the cause of your pain, especially if it is chronic or reoccurring. If your medical practitioner doesn’t recognize the importance of addressing the cause of pain (or worse, doesn’t believe the cause of your pain can be resolved), it may be prudent to find a practitioner who is more focused on addressing causes rather than symptoms of disease.
With that said, there are times where some temporary pain relief is appropriate while you work on resolving the cause of your pain. So here I’ll cover both internal and external safer natural pain relievers that can work as well or better than the more dangerous ones. You’ll notice that many of the supplements and products I suggest are made by NOW Foods. That’s because they tend to produce high quality products with a minimum of unnecessary additives while keeping the cost to consumers low. Unlike most other dietary supplement manufacturers, NOW Foods does not sell through distributers. They sell directly to merchants and consumers, thereby keeping your cost down while still providing a quality product. Therefore I use and suggest them.
One safer natural pain reliever that’s less common but far safer than drugs is methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). It is actually a naturally occurring compound in food as well as in human tissues. And unlike most other pain relievers, it can be used both externally and internally. It reduces inflammation, blocks the pain response, and reduces scar tissue. When a friend of mine suffered a broken hip from a rollover automobile accident he had considerable pain from the injury. I was delighted to hear from him that the MSM pills I gave him relieved his pain better than the prescription painkiller his doctor had prescribed! There are also lotions and creams that can be used to apply MSM topically. I’ve used and recommend NOW Foods’ MSM lotion. It is odor free, inexpensive, and contains both a relatively high concentration of MSM as well as liposomes to enhance penetration into the body. It’s available in some health food stores as well as Amazon.com at http://amzn.to/2p8iOCn NOW Foods also makes capsules of MSM. I’d suggest taking them with food. To relieve pain, taking a total of 2,000 to 6,000 milligrams (mg.) per day is a general dosage. Ideally, divide that into a few smaller doses taken a few times a day. NOW Foods offers an MSM supplement in 1,000 mg. capsules at http://amzn.to/2okIAhU Bear in mind that MSM has a cumulative effect, so it may relieve pain more when taken over time.
Exercise helps lubricate the joints through movement. It increases circulation and flushes toxins from both the muscles and the joints. It also releases natural pain-killing endorphins. Additionally, shedding excess body fat through exercise takes stress off joints and muscles. Used intelligently, it is certainly one of the safer natural pain relievers.
Safer Pain Relieving Treatments
I and others I know have had great results from acupuncture. Though I haven’t used it for pain relief, acupuncture is a proven pain reliever that has been used for centuries. It can provide immediate as well as longer-term relief from pain.
If you have pain due to injuries or misalignments in the body, in some cases chiropractic treatment can help. It doesn’t hurt to at least get examined by a chiropractor. A good chiropractor will tell you of treatment options best suited to you and—if appropriate—perform quick adjustments on your body that can make for rapid or gradual pain relief. I (and of course many other people) have had great results from chiropractic treatment.
Nutritional pain relievers
Due to our modern diet, people’s balance of omega fatty acids is often out of balance. Fish and fish oil supplements can improve the body’s omega-3/omega-6 balance, reducing overall inflammation and pain. But most fish are farmed rather than wild-caught and not all species provide a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids. So eating most fish will not help. Wild sardines, mackerel, and salmon tend to provide a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids. If you don’t eat much of those fish or would like to use a supplement, not all fish oil supplements are the same. Some don’t provide a healthful ratio of omega fatty acids. Some may be contaminated with toxic substances from the fish, such as mercury. But I use and suggest NOW Foods’ Ultra Omega 3 fish oil capsules because they contain a high concentration of the omega 3 fatty acids you want; they’re molecularly distilled to remove contaminants; and they’re enteric-coated capsules to minimize reflux and nausea. Take this supplement with a meal that contains some fat. Bear in mind that shifting your body’s levels of omega fatty acids is a gradual process, so you would generally need to consume these fish or these supplements regularly for weeks to start noticing a difference. They’re available via Amazon via this link <iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=jambonwor-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B000SE5SY6&asins=B000SE5SY6&linkId=d3229b517d6c099ba7a65ad5f7282648&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true”></iframe>
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory spice that has been used successfully for thousands of years as a painkiller. It doesn’t just “deaden” or mask the pain. Its anti-inflammatory components protect the body from further free radical damage. Multiple studies have also shown it to reduce symptoms of arthritis and to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and various cancers. You can get bulk powdered turmeric in the grocery store. There are also turmeric extracts in tablet and capsule form available in health food stores. They may have a concentrate of one of turmeric’s most potent anti-inflammatory components called curcumin. Look for supercritical extracts in dosages of 400 to 600 mg, and take three times daily or as directed on the product. NOW Foods makes such capsules available on Amazon at <iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=jambonwor-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B004AC0676&asins=B004AC0676&linkId=2d72794f28ca57585feabf70f573362b&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true”></iframe>
Phenylalanine is an amino acid that can relieve pain. Though not quite as safe as something like applying a cold pack, compared to painkiller drugs, phenylalanine is still a much safer natural pain reliever. Research has shown it is more effective for pain relief when the D or DL forms of it are taken rather than the L form. So look for D-phenylalanine or DL-phenylalanine rather than L-phenylalanine. People with high blood pressure should exercise caution before taking this supplement. But the D form has also been shown to promote alertness and alleviate certain types of depression. It lessens the breakdown of the brain’s natural narcotics, thus it can be helpful in relieving chronic pain. You might be able to find the D form in some health food stores or some pharmacies. But it’s not as common in stores as some the other supplements. So you can also order it online from Amazon at <iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=jambonwor-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B001TNQKLA&asins=B001TNQKLA&linkId=08482b70b0f4289b18ac44cbac265a2b&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true”></iframe> It needs to be taken on an empty stomach to work, so take it at least 30 minutes before food and at least 3 hours after your last food intake. You could take one or a few doses per day. Research has shown that a total of 1,000 milligrams to 3,000 milligrams per day is most effective for pain relief. Bear in mind that it has more effect over time, so it may take a week or two of daily use to notice maximum effect.
Other Topical Pain Relievers
Capsaicin (found in chili peppers) can be used orally, but it’s more effective for pain relief when used topically. And it’s certainly one of the safer natural pain relievers. It desensitizes nerve receptors called C-fibers, which are involved in the pain response. For most commercial products, the best results are achieved when a product is used for at least two weeks. However, with strong dosages, a single application can last for weeks. In one study, an 8-percent capsaicin patch applied for 60 minutes resulted in a painkilling effect that lasted for up to 12 weeks. (Br J Anaesth 2011 Oct;107(4):490–502) You can find capsaicin-based creams and gels like Zostrix and Capzasin in pharmacies as well as online at http://amzn.to/2oGrdcQ
Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) is not as commonly available in stores as most of those other products. But it is quite a potent pain reliever and can also help resolve inflammation. It is a well-researched, safe compound related to MSM. It penetrates human flesh quite well. For joint and other pain, a 70-percent solution of DMSO (70 percent DMSO and 30 percent water) works best. It can be applied several times a day as needed. You can soak a cotton ball with it and rub it into the painful area. Bear in mind that DMSO does have a mild but weird smell and when it’s applied topically it can leave a mild itching or stinging sensation for a while. But its pain relieving effect may be worth it. You can get it from some health food stores, maybe veterinary supply stores, or online via Amazon at http://amzn.to/2oRCk4P Though DMSO can provide safe pain relief with a variety of other pain conditions, I would definitely consider it for relieving pain from muscle spasms.
Tiger balm is another safer natural pain reliever. It uses a combination of aromatic oils including camphor and menthol to relieve pain. You can find it in some health food stores and Asian grocery and herb shops. You can also get it online via the Chinese herb merchant http://eastearthtrade.com I’ve always been pleased ordering from them. They also have other pain relieving liniments at http://www.eastearthtrade.com/healing-liniments.aspx
Finally, the good old-fashioned application of cold packs for several minutes at a time can relieve some pain. They’re particularly beneficial in the first 24 hours after a bruise or sprain.