Pain is our body’s way of saying something is not right. Over half of Americans suffer from some sort of pain. The dependency of pain-medication abuse-skyrocketing-400">pain medications are on the increase by 400%. Many of these medications have severe side effects and can be very addicting. Americans do not have to run to harmful medication when nature has provided us with such a variety of natural ways to ease pain.
SAM-e (S adenosylmethionine)
SAM-e is made from a naturally occurring amino acid. Doctors aren't entirely sure why it tamps down pain, but it reduces inflammation and may increase the feel-good brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. A study at the University of Maryland School of Nursing and the University of California, Irvine, showed that SAM-e was as effective as some NSAIDs in easing osteoarthritis aches; the researchers found that SAM-e stopped pain by 50 percent after 2 months, though it took a few weeks to kick in.
For joint pain from arthritis or autoimmune disorders fish oil really can help. Digested fish oil breaks down into hormone like chemicals called prostaglandins, which reduce inflammation. In one study at the University of Pittsburgh, about 40 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients who took fish oil every day were able to cut their NSAID use by more than a third. After about 10 weeks, nearly two-thirds were able to stop taking NSAIDs altogether.
The movements of tai chi s one of many alternative therapies that can provide relief from pain, possibly letting you cut back on pain medications. Virtually all major health organizations - including the Arthritis Foundation -- recommend tai chi as an activity for seniors because it provides balance of body and mind. "The movements of tai chi keeps the body fresh and allow the person to find a freer range of motion in the joints, greater flexibility, better balance," says Cate Morrill, a certified tai chi instructor.
Olive oil contains a natural chemical which acts on the same biochemical pathway as ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Research has shown that olive oil is comparable to ibuprofen in its pain killing efficacy when taken regularly and can provide the same reduced risks of blood clots, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers of Michigan State University opine that eating about 20 tart cherries may relieve pain better than aspirin. These cherries exhibit antioxidant properties comparable to vitamin E. Anthocyanins which is found in cherries inhibited cyclooxygenase-1 and 2 enzymes, which are the targets of anti inflammatory drugs at doses more than ten times lower than aspirin. Arthritis and gout can be controlled by daily consumption of cherries.
Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
Ginger is being studied by biochemists and pharmacologists interested in its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and sugar-moderating effects in the body. In the past 30 years or so their work has confirmed how ginger shares properties with conventional over-the-counter and prescription NSAID’s, in that it suppresses the synthesis in the body of the pro-inflammatory molecules known as prostaglandins — but with few if any side effects. Recently, however, an even more exciting body of work is emerging that shows how ginger extract can actually inhibit or deactivate genes in our body that encode the molecules involved in chronic inflammation.