Natural Pain Relievers

When you are hurting, natural pain relievers can be a godsend. These herbs, foods, and pain supplements help ease the discomfort, make movement easier, and provide other health benefits. They may help you limit or avoid pharmaceuticals that could have negative side affects.

The active ingredients in most pain and anti-inflammatory supplements are naturally found either in healthy foods or they are made by your body. However, it is not usually feasible to try to get the amounts you need from food. Natural pain relievers safely supply the amount you need.

Important Note: Consult your licensed health provider before using natural pain relief supplements if you are pregnant or nursing, have kidney or liver conditions, or use medications.

Natural Pain Supplements

Pain supplements work in different ways and often have multiple effects in the body. Many are anti-oxidant rich and reduce inflammation. Others boost circulation, promote relaxation, have lubricating or protective effects, or block pain signals to the brain. Some are applied externally while others are taken orally.

Emu oil and Linseed oil (flaxseed oil) rubbed into the skin are reported to be helpful. Emu oil has a long history of use by the Australian aborigines as natural pain relievers for burns, wounds, bruises, and sore bones, muscles, and joints.

Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) in a bath of hot water a few times a week can help you relax and ease pain. 

Lubricating, anti-inflammatory oils are natural pain relievers. Omega-3 rich fish oil and krill oil and Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO), found in fish and dairy butter are three helpful choices.

For best results, take both krill and fish oil to protect your joints and reduce disease causing inflammation throughout your body.

Research shows that krill oil does a better job of protecting joint cartilage from damaging inflammation than fish oil. Fish oil excels at reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines in your blood. Suggested optimal doses for pain relief are 300 mg of krill oil and 1400 mg EPA and 1000 mg DHA from purified fish oil. (read more here)

Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils contain gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty that is also good for treating the discomfort of arthritis.

Astaxanthin is a powerful anti-inflammatory fat soluble antioxidant from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae. It gives krill, salmon, and flamingos their pink color because of its high carotenoid content. At doses of 4-8mg, astaxanthin shows promise as a natural pain reliever. It reduces muscle and joint soreness in arthritis sufferers, athletes, and weekend warriors. 

Gluscosamine and chondroitin are well known for protecting joint cartilage damaged by arthritis and even helping it rebuild over time. Combine these supplements with Omega-3 rich fish and krill oils to slow and prevent further damaged caused by inflammatory cells.

Enzymes are natural pain relievers that safely control inflammation and quell pain. There are several effective enzymes. For example, protease reduces inflammation from soft tissue injury when taken on an empty stomach. Catalase and bromelain reduce swelling and inflammation from injuries. Choose a well-researched systemic enzyme formula such as Wobenzym and follow directions for use.

MSM - Methylsulfonylmethane is an anti inflammatory supplement also found in many foods including fruits, vegetables, cow's milk, seafood and meat. It is a sulfur-rich detoxifier and anti-inflammatory.

MSM works by reducing inflammation and boosting circulation. It makes cells more permeable so nutrients get in and toxins get out. This is important for healing and pain relief.

Look for OptiMSM, the pure form. Some proponents of MSM suggest that you start with four grams a day and work up to ten or more after a week. Starting with the lower amount helps you avoid detoxification symptoms.

DMSO is a nonsteroidal antioxidant and anti inflammatory supplement applied externally for pain. At 70-90% concentration, it easily penetrates membranes. Pain relief lasts up to six hours.

DMSO can irritate sensitive skin. If it feels like it is burning or itchy, try a 70% concentration with aloe. It can also cause a sulfur taste in your mouth.

MSM is a metabolite of DMSO and is also used externally.

SAMe may be for you if you have joint pain and feel depressed. Your body naturally produce this S-adenosylmethionine molecule, but production drops off as we age.

SAMe has been proven as effective as Celebrex for arthritis pain, but it takes up to a month for best results. The study groups used doses of 600-1200mg daily, but people report good results at 400mg. Take this pain supplement with food and use enteric coated tablets to avoid stomach upset.

Because SAMe helps produce neurotransmitters in your brain it also helps improve mood. It is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It is used for making cartilage and also glutathione, which is important for detoxifying the liver.

Anti-Inflammatory Spices and Herbs such as Saint John's Wort, Scullcap and Turmeric have mild to powerful pain relieving properties for muscles, nerves and joints. A lot of research supports the benefits of curcumin for reducing stiffness, pain and inflammation, making it a helpful remedy for joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthrits and muscle pain. 

Foods as Natural Pain Relievers

The foods you eat can either contribute to pain relief or make it worse. If you have been experiencing on-going pain, a leaky gut, or weakened mucosal lining in your intestines, might be fueling chronic inflammation. Especially if you suffer from bouts of diarrhea and/or constipation, take steps to heal your intestines with anti-inflammatory foods and supplements.

anti inflammatory foods
  • Enjoy an ounce or two of dark anti-oxidant rich chocolate. Choose 70% cocoa or more. 70% chocolate still tastes good. You may find that 85% and higher too bitter for your taste, but if not, go for it!
  • Season your food with lots of cinnamon, chili powder, turmeric (be careful it stains everything!) and ginger. Grate a piece of root into a cup of water. Enjoy! 
  • Besides their undisputed nutritional value, the fiber in vegetables escorts inflammatory substances out of your body. Eat lots of them raw and cooked.
  • Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir and probiotic-rich refrigerated or homemade sauerkraut and other cultured vegetables heal and support the gut, plus they benefit your immune system which plays a big part in your body's inflammatory responses. 
  • Eat a portion or two of wild caught salmon every week for high quality protein Omega 3's, and astaxanthin. Choose olive oil for dressing salad and vegetables instead of store bought dressing made with unhealthy oils.
  • Tart cherries and cherry juice as a regular part of your diet have years of folk wisdom and science behind them as a remedy for joint and muscle pain. 
  • A healthy diet free of foods you are sensitive to, with  limited amounts of processed food, sugar (spikes blood sugar which increases inflammation), and conventionally raised red meat is important naturally improves overall health, gut health, and helps normalize inflammation.

Freedom from pain is important to your mental and physical well-being. Natural pain relievers including anti-inflammatory pain supplements and anti-inflammatory foods are an important part of your holistic pain relief plan. They can ease acute and chronic discomfort as well as provide other important health benefits. 

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