Natural and Cheap Pain Relievers That Work From A Personal Experience
OTC pain relievers at some point will come with side effects, but natural home remedies for pain usually have no side effects.
Pain can be acute or chronic and when it happens all most people can think of is how to get relief. As an athlete I had to learn how to treat all types of pain from post exercise muscular pain to pain from injuries. As a nurse I have had to help people deal with pain of all types, both acute and chronic. Whether you choose an over-the-counter (OTC) product for acute pain such as a headache, or seek the help of a doctor and prescription medication for chronic pain, at some point, you will likely experience side effects. If you’re inclined to seek more natural solutions, perhaps some of the solutions I’m going to share will help.
One of the easiest solutions to try is hot/cold therapy for a natural pain relief. For acute pain remember the acronym R-I-C-E. Rest – Ice - Compression - Elevation. Most athletes are aware of this simple first aid but sometimes we forget. For a larger area such as lower leg or ankle you may want to fill an ice chest with ice and water and submerge the limb.
After a workout I generally take a long bath which relaxes my muscles. Sometimes I add epsom salts with lavender. While some studies deny Epsom salts actually help with soreness, certainly it’s a go-to product for athletes.
Strengthening your core is of the utmost importance. These muscles help support your entire body but are of particular importance in preventing back and hip pain. The iliacus and psoas or as some people refer to it, the iliopsoas is one of the most important muscle groups and most painful. These muscles can shorten causing iliopsoas syndrome, especially in people who are sedentary or have to sit in their jobs and then become extremely problematic. Yoga and simple stretching on a daily basis and before and after exercise is crucial. Performing abdominal exercises is also important. Try planking or crunches which will also strengthen your back muscles, and even contracting your abdominal muscles while standing in the grocery store line. Anything you do to strengthen these muscles will help.
As a runner I’ve had my share of injuries. I’ve had sprained ankles, sore knees, a torn shoulder, pulled muscles, sciatica and plantar fasciitis. At one time I began pre-medicating in order to run farther or work out longer. My drugs of choice were Tylenol or Advil. Then one day after I got my yearly lab work I had extremely elevated liver enzymes. I was told the combination of Tylenol, having recently eaten oysters and a beer during the same week was probably the reason. So, I vowed never to use Tylenol again and within a few months my liver enzymes were back to normal.
I switched to using Advil and after a few months, I woke up with severely swollen hands and feet that looked like footballs. I was having a severe reaction to Advil and another pain reliever was off my list. After those two experiences I realized OTC drugs like Tylenol and Advil and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are simply dangerous and I begin looking for a more natural solution.
When I developed chronic hip pain at about age 37 I was desperate to find something that helped. I went to a friend’s health food store and he suggested a product by NOW called Joint Support (JS) which contains glucosamine, boswellia, bromelain, sea cucumber and alfalfa as well as vitamins which support joint health and work synergistically. I began megadosing, taking 3-4 capsules every 4 hours and within 2-3 days my pain was significantly better. In less than a week I was pain free. Years later I suggest JS to an elderly patient with severe arthritis. At 85 she had already had surgery on both hips, both knees and both shoulders. Most of her time was spent in a wheel chair. She was sensitive to aspirin and the drugs her doctors suggested didn’t work. At my suggestion she started megadosing with JS and within a week progressed from wheelchair to walker to cane. She was able to go shopping again without having to depend on a motorized cart and started swimming. When she called to thank me she told me she had found a Joint Support cream by the same company that had significantly helped her with mobility in her hands and knees. Her exact words were, “I’ll never be without Joint Support as long as I live.”
Another natural product I found while studying to get my massage license that works very well is Arnica montana, a homeopathic preparation which is now being surprisingly being used in the medical community because it’s extremely effective and isn’t addictive. In fact, I know several surgeons who prescribe Arnica for pain rather than narcotics for everything from pain after bariatric surgery or breast reduction to oral surgery and even cardiac surgery.
Another natural remedy I discovered for pain was fucoidan, which is an extremely effective anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory and has anti-aging effects. Fucoidan is found in brown seaweed. When I made this discovery I was beginning to have symptoms of osteoarthritis. Not only had I had more than my share of injuries due to being an athlete I had a car accident which caused back and neck injuries. I was also having issues with poor vision and extreme night blindness. I had to stop driving at night. My optometrist suspected macular degeneration (MD). I sat through 6 hours of grueling examinations and yet was told to go home and come back in a month because they really didn’t know what was wrong. In the meantime a friend told me about fucoidan and I started drinking it. On the first day of use I was pain free and had the best night of sleep I’d had in years. Within three days the problems with my eyes resolved. In addition, it felt like turning back the hands of the clock. My skin looked better, my joints no longer hurt, I had boundless energy, and I was got my life back.
I’ve used fucoidan for the last five years. I was able to eliminate all the other vitamins and sports products I’d been using for years and I realized I’d merely been throwing away my money on products that were not absorbing and were ineffective. Many of them contained fillers or artificial sweeteners that caused weight gain and thyroid problems. With fucoidan I began to lose weight which was a major factor in my chronic back and hip pain resolving. Further I didn’t have the soreness after working out so was able to maximize my recovery and rehabilitation.
While there is a time and place for doctors and allopathic medicine there are usually also alternatives if one looks.