The 7 Best Natural Pain Relievers
Chronic pain is a modern day epidemic that affects more than 1.5 billion people worldwide. It costs nations billions of dollars in lost productivity and medical expenses every year. Debilitating pain effects more individuals than heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined. Doctors throw drug after drug at these pain syndromes with very little long-term success. Here are some of the best natural agents to reduce pain.
The most commonly used drugs to treat chronic pain conditions include opioids (morphine), non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs which are salicylates such as aspirin and ibuprofen), antidepressants, antiepileptics and anti-nerve growth factor inhibitors. All of these drugs have awful side effects and addictive tendencies. In fact, prescription and over the counter pain medications are the fastest growing drug addiction in North America (1).
In this article, I will review some of the best natural pain relievers you can use to help you get the relief you need!
The Dangers of Pain Medications:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are some of the most commonly prescribed and utilized medications throughout the world. These medications such as aspirin and Tylenol are easy to get and inexpensive. Most people believe they aren’t harmful, however, they are linked with very serious side effects.
They have been shown to damage the stomach lining leading to reduced protein absorption and a much greater increase for food allergens and stomach ulcers (2). They also damage the kidneys and liver and increase the risk of certain forms of cancer.
Many individuals perceive surgery as the best modality for their health issues and sometimes it is. However, research has indicated that nerve damage unavoidably produced during a surgical operation will cause chronic pain in 15 – 50% of patients (3). Other individuals are severely damaged by treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation that cause states of increased inflammation and pain.
In this article, I will go over some of the top supplements for reducing pain and you are also welcome to check out this article on 5 fast pain relief strategies as it goes over things you can be doing with your lifestyle to reduce pain and feel better!
The 7 Best Natural Pain Relievers
While most people are only looking to relieve the immediate symptoms of the pain, this will only provide temporary relief. Addressing the underlying mental/emotional, chemical and physical stressors that are causing the chronic inflammation and pain is the ultimate goal. This process takes time and deep introspection along with trusted holistic health care providers.
Here are some great natural pain relievers that have no dangerous side effects. In fact, these nutrients have a significantly positive health effect on the entire body.
Proteolytic enzymes are specific enzymes that metabolize protein. These enzymes are naturally produced by the human body and other living organisms and help carry out essential functions. Studies have shown that these reduce the inflammatory marker C-Reactive Protein (CRP) as well as arterial plaques, blood clots & scar tissue .
These enzymes are also effective at reducing swelling, pain and edema (4, 5, 6). Proteolytic enzymes are also able to eat away at abnormal and cancer cell growths and allow the immune system to destroy tumorous growths (7).
Turmeric and Ginger
Taking large doses of anti-inflammatory herbs has been shown to dramatically reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. These herbs provide powerful anti-oxidants and help modulate the immune system to ensure that it doesn’t hyper-inflame the damaged or vulnerable regions of the body.
In this video, I go over some of my favorite foods and herbs that I use on a regular basis to keep inflammation and pain to a minimum. Try to include more of these in your daily diet by adding them to shakes, salads and meat dishes.
Omega 3 Fatty acids:
Omega 3 fatty acid supplements are one of the most powerful ways to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation which are the underlying markers we see on labs with individuals who are suffering with chronic pain. Omega 3’s help provide better cell membrane receptor activity and suppress genetic transcription factors associated with inflammation and pain.
It is important to get the long-chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which only come from animal (fish, krill and pasture-raised meats) and algae. Plant based omega 3’s will not have the same inflammation modulating effects.
The supplement I use for all of my chronic pain cases is ProOmega CRP which combines high dose EPA and DHA with liposomal curcumin, N-Acetyl Cysteine and liposomal glutathione. It is the very best product on the market for quelling inflammation and improving cellular health.
Chronic pain is often a sign of leaky gut syndrome and infections in the gut. Parasites will release toxins that increase inflammation within the body and for many individuals with cause states of chronic pain. Probiotics help to neutralize these toxins and fight back against parasites and other antagonistic organisms in the gut.
Probiotics also help to modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. They also improve the bodies ability to absorb key nutrients necessary for joint and tissue repair.
MSM & Sulfur Rich Foods
MSM & sulfur rich foods such as onions, garlic, chives, scallions, cruciferous vegetable family and raw, grass-fed dairy cheese & whey protein help reduce inflammation. MSM and sulfur containing amino acids have been shown to soften scar tissue, improve blood supply to the affected region, reduce muscle spasms and modulate inflammation (8).
Start consuming more sulfur rich foods and consider using a topical magnesium with MSM lotion on painful areas.
Magnesium play a critical role in relaxing muscles, maximizing blood flow and allowing nutrients to be delivered into cells. Magnesium deficiencies lead to muscle spasms, cramping, poor blood flow and lowered intracellular nutrient delivery (9).
All of these create painful conditions in the body. Supplementing with magnesium and/or eating magnesium rich foods like green leafy veggies, sprouted seeds and raw cacao improves these conditions.
Methylation is a key biochemical process that happens billions of times every second to repair the DNA in the body. Poor methylation will lead to chronic inflammation and can lead to chronic pain (10). B vitamins are the key components to healthy methylation processes.
Take a methylated B complex supplement, improve your gut health to absorb these nutrients more effectively. It is also key to eat lots of dark, green leafy vegetables and organic animal products to get these nutrients.