Everyone must deal with pain; it’s an unfortunate inevitability of being human. When you’re in pain, you usually reach for ibuprofen or acetaminophen, maybe some aspirin. Sure, they work, but using these pain relievers can have severe side effects, and that’s why we’re all seeking more natural ways to relieve our pain.
Yes, there is such a thing as “natural pain relief”
You may not realize that there are supplements used for pain relief that are as effective as prescription and over-the-counter medications (that don’t have the adverse side effects).
Why not just use regular pain relievers?
While there is undoubtedly a place for prescription and over-the-counter medications for pain relief, they aren’t necessary in every case. Most pain relievers have harmful side effects that most of us either aren’t aware of or don’t realize we can avoid.
- Acetaminophen is great for headaches, fevers, pain, and inflammation. Still, it has a list of side effects, including nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, headache (ironic, eh?), yellowing of the skin or eyes, and dark urine. Excessive, daily use of acetaminophen can also cause liver damage.
- Ibuprofen also works well for inflammation, pain, and fevers. Unfortunately, it also includes common side effects such as nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach pain, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.
- Opiates (such as morphine and oxycodone) are very useful for relieving pain but can also increase your sensitivity to pain (there’s irony again!). They also cause nausea, vomiting, confusion, constipation, depression, and others. Plus, the longer you take these medications, the more your tolerance builds and will require you to take a higher dose to see any effect.
What supplements are best for relieving pain?
There are so many different supplements; it’s hard to know where to start. However, since we all know why you’re here, let’s start with the most important part: your pain.
Muscle, Back, and Joint Pain
- Tumeric curbs inflammation. You can cook or make tea with it or take it as a capsule.
- Devil’s claw root is known to ease lower back pain and mild arthritis discomfort.
- Capsicum/capsaicin (which comes from chili peppers) is typically applied on the skin in the form of a cream, though sometimes produced in pill form to help with diarrhea and cramps.
- Comfrey extract is useful for back pain but can harm your liver if taken by mouth (so make sure to use the skin cream instead of trying to take it as tea or a pill!).
- White willow bark has been called “nature’s aspirin” because of its ability to decrease inflammation. It is available as a capsule or tea.
- Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, can lower the frequency and severity of headaches.
- Feverfew and butterbur are herbs that can help prevent and treat migraine pain and are available in pill form or tea.
- Omega-3 fatty acids (or “good fats”) lower inflammation and can also help with back pain, joint pain, and menstrual cramp pain.
- Probiotics are (good) bacteria that live in your stomach. They lessen inflammation and can also help with pain and bloating from irritable bowel syndrome.
- Capsaicin can ease your arthritis pain and is available in a skin cream that can be applied multiple times daily for relief.
- Boswellia can reduce osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis pain and is available as a capsule or tablet.
- Devil’s claw root works for arthritis pain as well as muscle and joint pain.
All these supplements have little to no negative side effects and offer more benefits. But of course, it’s important to talk to your doctor before making any changes, as everyone’s body is different and may not respond the same. Supplements can also interact with certain medications in unanticipated and sometimes severe ways, so make sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
But consider this: next time you have a migraine or muscle pain, wouldn’t it be nice to skip the ibuprofen and have a cup of hot tea instead?