As a society we have all grown used to reaching for over the counter and prescription pain relievers when we have a muscle ache, pain or headache, but are there natural alternatives for inflammation and pain relief?
Thankfully, the answer is yes!
Chronic inflammation contributes to many painful conditions, including osteoarthritis, headache and back pain. Anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen work well because they block the enzymes that trigger both swelling and pain. The problem is that these all come with side effects and risk. They cover the symptoms very well, but do nothing long term to actually help solve the problem.
Their natural counterparts not only help remove the symptom, in many cases they also work on healing the underlying issue.
Here are some natural pain relieving ideas to try out:
Tumeric – seems to be a favorite among alternative physicians and herbalists alike. Tumeric is an anti-inflammatory agent containing curcumin, which is on par with hydrocortisone and Motrin, only without the possible side effects.
Capsicum – the active component in chili peppers it desensitizes pain receptors. It can be used for muscle pain as well as migraine headache relief.
Methylsulfonyl-methane (MSM) – MSM is derived from sulpher and has been shown to help prevent joint and cartilage degeneration.
Arnica Montana – a homeopathic supplement that is made from a bright yellow flower grown in Siberia and Europe. It helps with bruising and muscle soreness as well as swelling. Speeds healing!
Green Tea – Flavinoids in green tea are a potent anti-inflammatory which has also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Papaya – contains papain which reduces inflammation, improves digestion and speeds healing on burns.
Vitamin D – A number of studies have linked low levels of vitamin D with increased levels of chronic pain.
Black Pepper Oil – antioxidant, pain reliever, increases serotonin levels, reduces hypertension, curbs the urge to smoke, improves circulation, and even aids digestion.
Rosemary Oil – Muscle aches and pains, migraine relief, anti inflammatory, antibacterial, digestion, shows promise in reducing carcinogen effects and stunting cancer growth and even helps to stimulate hair growth.
Peppermint oil – Pure peppermint oil is a powerful analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, astringent, expectorant and stimulant. It helps with muscle soreness, headache, digestion, healing, breathing issues, fever reduction, allergies and more.
Helichrysum Oil – is one of the most sought-after essential oils, due to its pain-reducing, analgesic, regenerative, fungicidal and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been said to give amazing relief from dental pain and infections when used topically.
Eucalyptus Oil – Antibacterial, anti-infectious, analgesic, anticatarrhal, antiviral, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, and insecticidal.
Eucalyptus essential oil can help with bronchitis, acne, endometriosis, ear inflammation, hay fever, flue, iris inflammation, high blood pressure, sinusitis and vaginitis.
Wintergreen Oil – analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent and stimulant. Methyl salicylate, the main chemical constituent of wintergreen oil, is the chemical foundation for aspirin; however, the synthesized form of salicylate used in aspirin — and other muscle pain relieving products on the market today — present health risks that are not found in wintergreen oil.
Birch Oil – Helpful for arthritis, sore or stiff muscles, bruises, and bone and joint pain. Very closely related to Wintergreen oil.
Along with these helpful herbs and oils
Ice – is among my very favorites. A cold compress 5-15 minutes at a time on the location of swelling or pain does wonders. Repeat as necessary.
Heat – A hot water bottle, heating pad or bath feels wonderful and can relax tired painful stiff muscles and joints. *add essential oils to the bath water for added benefits.
As you can see there are many options available to try that are a little outside of the box. I know it’s a different way of thinking and takes some reprogramming of old habits to not grab the Tylonol, but think of it this way – Most modern medicines were originally based on plants. Nature has everything we need to heal; we just have to find the right one for us.