Pain. An unwanted annoyance we feel throughout our lives, whether it’s a headache from stresses of the day or chronic pain like arthritis, migraines, menstrual cramps, or joint pain. Everyone has suffered pain in some way or form, and we all seek a way to cure that pain or at least relief from the pain. While there are numerous medical pain management and treatment options, more and more consumers are seeking a natural alternative for pain relief.
Types of Pain Management
The two main types of pain are: acute or short term pain and chronic, long term pain.
Acute Pain: This form of pain is more immediate and happens suddenly such as from a fall or illness. The cause and location of acute pain is readily known.
Chronic Pain: This is ongoing, persistent pain that can last months or years and is considered a health condition alone. Chronic pain can result from an underlying disease. It is typically of unknown origin for the cause of the chronic pain.1
Natural Pain Management and Relief
For pain suffers of acute or chronic pain, there are alternatives to pharmacological pills and drug treatment. These natural treatment options for pain relief can be a quite effective method for pain management. According to WedMD, the term ''alternative therapy'' generally is used to describe any medical treatment or intervention that is used in place of conventional medicine.2 Natural pain relief doesn’t have to replace conventional treatments and in many cases can be complementary. The combination of conventional medicine with alternative pain management is called complementary medicine. Everyone has a unique medical history and condition, so remember to consult with your healthcare provider before using non-prescription pain relief.
The Dangers of Over-The-Counter Painkillers like Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or Acetaminophe
People commonly reach for Over-the-Counter (OTC) painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen at the first sign of pain. However, pain relief prescriptions and OTC pills come with inherent dangers and side effects you should be aware of.
Types of OTC Painkillers
Pain relief in the form of OTC products fall under two main classes:
1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) - fall under three kinds of NSAIDS3:
- ASA known under the generic name aspirin or brand name Bayer or others like Bufferin. This is a NSAID, but it has special anti clotting properties with a high risk of GI bleeding with the high doses required for pain relief so it is less commonly recommended.
- Ibuprofen with brand names Advil and Motrin is the more favorable OTC since it causes less stomach and kidney problems.
- Naproxen is a longer acting form of ibuprofen and has brand names as Aleve and Naprosyn.
2. Not a NSAIDs. These are known as acetaminophen or by the brand names such as Tylenol doesn’t impact the stomach like NSAIDs and is commonly used for cold remedies. There is a risk of liver damage with large dosages.
Prescription Drugs and Opioid Addiction
Last year the Opioid Commission found that opioid addiction and overdose is on the rise. An estimated 142 people in the United States die every day from opioids. Finding realistic and natural relief to pain is a solution that should not be overlooked. Recent Chinese studies have showcased that L-Tetrahydro contains natural effectiveness for treating opioid addictions and recent preliminary clinical trials found that l-THP reduces drug craving, relapse, and promotes detoxification in recovering addicts.4 Discover additional ways to manage pain without becoming an opioid addict.
What about Supplements? Can Supplements Help with Pain Relief?
Natural supplements can form a complementary partner and in some cases replacement to prescription and OTC drugs in the treatment and management of acute and chronic pains. While there are countless, touted, natural supplements for pain on the market, there are several ingredients proven to be effective.
Ingredients From Nature and Proven by Science to Help with Pain Relief
1. L-Tetrahydro Palmatine, an alkaloid compound found in the Corydalis genus. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it has shown to be an effective muscle relaxant with pain-relieving and anti-anxiety effects without habit forming tendencies.
2. Angelica has anti-inflammatory properties and is commonly used to help relieve headache, sinus congestion and fever according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. These herbs are used together in TCM to support pain management.
5 Pain Relief Alternatives to Traditional, Western Medicine
1. Yoga has been proven to be very effective in reducing stress levels associated with pain management and treatments. For sufferers of chronic pain, yoga can be of benefit especially for fibromyalgia, neck pain, back pain, and arthritis.11
2. Acupuncture is an ancient chinese practice that has become more accepted in traditional medical and scientific communities. Through the use of tiny needles, the body’s pain pathways are inhibited and a flood of feel good chemicals endorphins are released. Acupuncture’s main use is for pain relief in many conditions including lower back pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia.11
3. Heat and ice therapy in many forms helps to relieve pain and discomfort. One way heat therapy aids in pain relief is that it dilates the blood vessels of the muscles which increases oxygen flow and nutrients to the muscles, helping to heal the damaged tissue. Ice therapy can reduce inflammation by applying an ice pack to the local pain. Ice helps by acting as a local anesthetic interrupting the pain signals.12
4. Massage and stretch treatment as an alternative pain relief treatment is well acknowledged in the medical community. A recent Prevention article Brent Bauer, MD, director of the Mayo Clinic discussed studies that showed “statistically significant reductions in pain, along with significant reductions in anxiety.”13 Combined with therapeutic stretching, massage is one of many effective alternatives for natural pain relief.
5. Epsom Salt bath provides your body with relief from many types of muscle pain and muscle spasms, as well as many types of arthritis. Water or salt bath therapy can include a deep bathtub, whirlpool tub, or warm pool for water therapy.12
Pain in all forms can be life debilitating. Traditional methods of pain relief are coming under fire as more consumers examine natural pain relief treatments and alternatives. Remember treatment can be alternative or complementary, work with your health provider for the best path for your pain management. We would love to hear about your experiences with managing your pain. Share with the LifeSeasons community and support our belief that knowledge is power and our community our life source.
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