Natural Remedies For Pain Versus Prescription Painkillers

Fighting Pain the Natural Way

Painkillers or pain relievers are life-savers, some will argue. Many people depend on these drugs to improve their quality of life. Their use is so widespread to the extent that it is feared some people may be suffering addiction to them.

More and more people are starting to search for natural alternatives for pain relief. This is because prescription pain relievers – as useful as they can be – do come with safety concerns. Natural remedies, by their nature, are usually significantly safer than drugs.

There are actually many options you have for managing your pain the natural way. In this post, we have some suggestions that may make noticeable difference in your quality of life if you work with them.

Painkiller Risks

Before proceeding further, let’s discuss a little about the hazards of pain reliever use. What are those reasons that should make you think first about natural remedies before using drugs?

You cannot really argue against the efficacy of prescription pain killers for combating pain.

But it has been observed that people with pain issues often require more of these drugs with time. You may need to take, say, four tablets, after some time to achieve the level of relief you got with two tablets in the past.

This not only increases the risk of over-dosage, but also that of addiction. And it also explains why there appears to be greater dependence on painkillers these days.

Popular prescription pain relievers include oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone. These are well known for their potential to cause addiction and other side effects.

You may find it even scarier that acetaminophen (Tylenol), which is very easy to get, may pose risks as well. Researchers are starting to understand its effects better.

These are all the more reasons you may want to try out natural alternatives first before using medications.

So, without further ado, let’s delve into some of the natural remedies for pain you can consider.

Turmeric

The efficacy of this notable spice appears to be due to the presence of curcuminoids in it. The most notable of this is curcumin, which research has shown to be very potent for fighting inflammation especially when caused by arthritis. As you may know, the latter contributes greatly to pain.

Curcumin also boasts potent antioxidant properties. As a result, it can help to prevent damage to cells and tissues by free radicals in the body.

Devil’s Claw

This herb, whose botanic name is Harpagophytum procumbens, is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory, just like turmeric. It has been used in traditional African medicine for many years.

Devil’s claw may be helpful in managing pain due to its effects on inflammation. But more research is still needed to better prove its efficacy.

Willow Bark

Some people describe this herb as “natural aspirin.” This is because willow bark contains the compound salicin, which shares similarity to the main constituent of the drug.

People commonly use this natural remedy to control inflammation. They take it in different forms, including liquid, capsule, or dried (for making tea).

White willow bark can be used to ease a variety of discomfort. These include low back pain and headaches.

But it is important to see your doctor first before using willow bark for pain relief.

Spicy Foods

Many of us do not love hot, spicy foods. We’d easily pass them on for something else.

But some spicy foods can actually be beneficial to people with pain issues. Perhaps, most notable among this is cayenne pepper. This contains a potent compound called capsaicin, which you can find in some topical treatments.

This key constituent helps by reducing the amount of another compound that promotes pain sensation in your body. It can be useful for dealing with muscle tension and soreness. You could even find capsaicin beneficial for treating skin infections.

Researchers have found that another spicy food called wasabi contains certain properties that can fight inflammation to provide pain relief.

Ginger

This is one of those herbs whose medicinal potency is no longer secret to most people. Ginger contains phytochemicals that may afford you relief from muscle and joint pain. The constituents help to tackle inflammation.

One thing you will like about ginger for pain relief is that it is very safe. You are not likely to have side effects if you take it in right doses.

Cloves

Available in oil or powder form, cloves are used for treatment of a wide variety of conditions. They also help in providing pain relief by fighting inflammation. Their active ingredient eugenol is present in some topical pain treatment products.

Eugenol is a powerful natural pain reliever. Its presence explains why some people with toothache pain apply clove oil for relief until they can see a dentist for help.

Essential Oils

In many places around the world, people have long used essential oils for pain relief. There is also research evidence that gives backing to this benefit.

Peppermint oil contains properties that are helpful for relief of muscle pain and unexplained pain, among other benefits. When you combine it with lavender oil, you get faster relief from headaches and muscle tension. The combo can even help you deal with pain you experience following your workouts.

Evening primrose oil is another one that has potential for analgesic effect. Rich in gamma linoleic acid, the oil is becoming increasingly popular for treatment of premenstrual symptoms, including pain.

There are several other potentially beneficial oils, including rosemary oil, for pain relief. They are commonly used for massage.

Heat Therapy

This is one of the most basic home remedies you have for pain management. Heat therapy basically requires you to apply heat on the affected part.

This may take the form of a hot bath, using a hot water bottle, or using an electric heating pad – practically anything you can think of to safely apply heat.

So, how will heat therapy provide relief?

This treatment helps to improve circulation and ensure greater availability of nutrients and oxygen in the affected part. It also assists by suppressing pain sensation.

Ice Therapy

The use of ice typically goes together with that of heat. But each is best suited for peculiar type of situations. You can consider ice therapy as some sort of first aid after an injury; heat therapy follows later.

You should apply an ice park soon after suffering an injury. This will help to suppress swelling and inflammation, thereby inhibiting pain sensation. You may then proceed to heat therapy afterwards.

If you are to choose one, heat is a better option, especially when you have a chronic pain problem.

Acupuncture

The thoughts of needles in the skin will certainly not be exciting to many people having pain problem. But the truth is that they really help.

The ancient practice of acupuncture provides a classical example of how needles can provide pain relief.

A practitioner uses tiny needles to balance the natural flow of energy in your body to provide relief. Experts know how to insert the needles far enough from points of pain while promoting relief.

There is research evidence that the ancient Chinese practice can help relief migraines and chronic pain.

Exercise Caution

You may look at some of the suggestions we have here on natural remedies for pain and be eager to try them out immediately. But, we advise that you tread with caution. These are only suggestions, not medical advice.

It is important to consider speaking with your doctor before trying these out – especially the herbs. Excessive use of some of them may lead to side effects. Besides, you may be allergic to some of the herbs.

Herbal remedies for pain – in some cases – may interact with medications you may be taking. They may also not be ideal for an underlying medical condition you may be having.

We should also mention that these natural remedies for pain are more likely to provide temporary relief.

It is important to note that pain is usually just a symptom of a possible underlying condition. In this case, you will be treating only the surface while neglecting the core problem. You should get yourself checked, if you haven’t done so and the pain is persistent.

Conclusion

With the suggestions in this article, you can deal with pain without using drugs. There are many other helpful ideas out there, including laughing more, getting more restful sleep, and doing back stretching exercises. Proper hydration and sun exposure also help.

You can try these ideas first before using painkillers. You may only start considering prescription drugs, suggested by your doctor, if these failed.

Again, remember that pain may only be a sign of a present health issue. You should not hesitate in getting help to rule out that possibility.

 

REFERENCES

5 Surprising Natural Painkillers: Willow Bark, Turmeric, and More (https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-relief/surprising-natural-pain-killers)

Herbal Remedies for Natural Pain Relief | Everyday Health (https://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/natural-pain-remedies.aspx)

14 Natural Pain Relievers (https://www.spine-health.com/blog/14-natural-pain-relievers)

 

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