Are you feeling frustrated for being dependent upon medication to help ease your chronic pain? There are millions of people world-wide who suffer from chronic pain.
Chronic pain can be caused by; past injuries, migraines & chronic headaches, autoimmune diseases, liver disease, IBS/IBD, pelvic inflammatory disease, period pain, structural problems, arthritis, chronic inflammation and generalized wear and tear.
Whichever the cause, chronic pain can be debilitating in your life. Pain will interfere with almost all aspects of your life. People in pain experience less pleasure in life. Chronic pain interferes with and disrupts important processes like sleep and rest, performance of simple tasks, exercise, ability to work and your independence.
Chronic pain can also be attributed to low self-esteem and confidence; this increases the risk of falling into anxiety and depression.
Pain killers do certainly offer quick and effective pain relief. However, on a long-term basis they can create more of a strain on your health.In addition to building resistance towards the pain medication, prolonged use increases the risk of complications like gastritis, gastric ulcers, constipation, altered gut flora, leaky gut, liver and kidney inflammation and damage.
Luckily, pharmaceutical drugs are not be your only path to pain relief. Nature provides us with many natural anti-inflammatory foods, herbs and spices that provide natural analgesic benefits combined with improved tissue health and structure. Though research on herbal remedies is still in its early phases, many herbs are thought to provide pain management and decrease inflammation. Below is a list of common foods, herbs and vitamins used for natural pain relief.
Natural Pain-Relieving Foods & Herbs
Though unclear how turmeric works against pain or inflammation, its activity are primarily due to a chemical called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. This anti-inflammatory spice is often recommended for joint pain and inflammation including fibromyalgia and other inflammatory conditions. Turmeric is usually safe to use, long-term or high doses use may however cause indigestion and should also be avoided by anyone with gallbladder disease.
Here is more on this amazing spice. If you need to start adding more turmeric in your life, try some of these delicious recipes: Turmeric Mango Smoothie, Peach Turmeric Smoothie, Turmeric Flax crackers with Veggie Pulp & Sweet Potato, Carrot & Turmeric Soup.
Target; Arthritis, muscle pain
Compounds in cherries called anthocyanin are powerful antioxidants that work in two ways to tamp down pain. The compounds are believed to reduce inflammation and block pain signals by blocking inflammation and inhibiting pain enzymes.
There is also a study that shows tart cherries may also be able to reduce muscle pain post exercise by reducing the possibility of muscle damage.
The Target: Migraines, arthritis, sore muscles
Ginger offers effective anti-inflammatory relief from migraines, arthritis and muscle aches. Ginger extract is believed to help with joint and muscle pain as it contains phytochemicals, that help stop inflammation. This spicy root is in addition a traditional stomach soother, easing seasickness and nausea.
One study showed that it was just as effective against period pain as ibuprofen. We have some great juice recipes containing ginger like Carrot, Apple & Ginger, Green Carrot Ginger, Green Ginger Ale & Cranberry Apple & Ginger.
- Fish Oils
The Target: Achy back, neck, joints
Eating fish high in omega-3’s and low in mercury can help relieve back pain by improving blood flow and reducing inflammation in the nerves and muscle cells. Omega-3s help by improving the blood flow and forcing down inflammation in nerves and blood vessels.
Fish oils have been shown to be equivalent to ibuprofen in numerous studies for the relief of arthritis and possibly other types of pain. Vegan options for omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts.
Research shows that rose hip is highly beneficial for people with osteoarthritis. Most research show rosehips reduce pain and stiffness and improves function in people with osteoarthritis.
There have been approximately 30 studies that support the benefit of using rosehips for pain relief and arthritis. A study resulted in a significant reduction in pain and use of medication after 3 weeks and significant reduction in disability, stiffness, and severity of the disease after 3 months of treatment. This can be taken as a tea or as a powder or a vegetable capsule.
The bromelain content, an enzyme extracted from pineapple stems reduces levels of prostaglandins, the hormones that induce inflammation and is used as a post injury compound. Bromelain may profit people with arthritis and conditions marked by musculoskeletal tension (such as TMJ syndrome), as well as those suffering trauma-related inflammation.
Low levels of magnesium in the body can lead to general muscle aches and muscle cramps. Found in dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds and dark chocolate, magnesium is an important electrolyte nutrient that supports muscle and nerve function. This can be very effective for restless legs syndrome, aching muscles, tense muscles, fibromyalgia, migraines, cramps and pins and needles and muscular pain.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D has some effects on nerve and muscle function. Studies suggest that low levels of vitamin D may be associated with chronic pain of fibromyalgia.
A new study by the British Society for Rheumatology suggests that low levels of vitamin D in the body are linked to chronic widespread pain. Musculoskeletal pain is a recognized symptom of severe vitamin D deficiency.
- Herbal Remedies
There are a number of pain reducing herbs that can be used under the care of a qualified herbalist. However, be careful when embarking on this treatment path since pain management herbal therapies have yet to be thoroughly studied.
Pain relieving herbs include Jamican dogwood, Californian poppy, Devils claw, Ginger, Boswellia, Kava, Willow bark, Corydalis, Celery seed and St Johns Wort. Also, using topical essential oils diluted in base oil such as wintergreen, peppermint and capsaicin (chilli) may reduce pain. (I have used peppermint oil dabs around my temples and base of skull with headaches and it works very well). Also, another remedy is soaking in 1 cup of Epsom salts in a warm bath regularly allowing transdermal magnesium absorption.
What to Avoid if You Experience Pain
- Night Shade Veggies
These vegetables include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers (capsicum) and chilli. In cases of arthritis, the nightshade family in moderate to large servings may increase pain and discomfort.
- Gluten & Dairy
People who suffer with auto-immune diseases will benefit from eliminating possible food allergens such as gluten and dairy for 6 weeks to observe any reduction in pain and discomfort. Other food allergens may exist, doing a Reboot can help reduce pain and inflammation and by proper reintroduction of foods you can observe any flare-ups. For more information on Reboot as an elimination diet and on gluten sensitivities beyond the gut.
- Processed Foods
Processed foods will increase pain and inflammation, particularly refined flours, sugars and processed hydrogenated fats so these should be avoided, eating a natural wholefood diet as much as possible.
It is important to remember however that regardless of the herb you might try, there is limited research into their safety and efficacy, the government also doesn’t regulate herbal products for quality. The best way is to consult a health-care professional before testing out a herbal remedy.