When most of us suffer from a headache or back pain, our first instinct is to reach for a packet of painkillers. Whilst paracetamol and ibuprofen are go-to pain relief for most people, there are also several natural pain relief solutions that could ease discomfort and inflammation. Read on to discover more about natural pain killers including natural supplements, alternative therapies and breathing techniques.
AromatherapyOften used as a complementary therapy to treat chronic pain, aromatherapy typically uses essential oils in massage or inhalation. Although the success of these techniques hasn’t been completely proven, several studies have shown they may help ease pain. In one study, aromatherapy massage was found to be effective for patients with painful osteoarthritis of the knee. Evidence also suggests that inhaling lavender essence inhalation during labour may be a useful therapy to help manage labour pains.
GingerNormally used to spice up dishes like curries and stir fries, ginger has long been used in different types of alternative or traditional medicine. It is typically used to treat digestive problems, flu and nausea, but could also be helpful against muscle pain caused by exercise. In one study, eating 2g of ginger a day for eleven days reported reduced muscle pain in people doing exercise. In another clinical trial, 247 people with knee pain from osteoarthritis took ginger extract for six weeks. They experienced less pain and needed less pain medication than those who didn’t.
Omega-3 Fish OilAccording to the NHS, a healthy diet should include at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids which could have a natural anti-inflammatory effect. The oil in fish has been used to treat skeletal and muscular diseases for hundreds of years, but recent research has shown that it could be used in the treatment of non-surgical neck or back pain. A fish oil supplement can be taken if fish cannot be consumed as part of your diet.
ReservatrolCommonly sourced from plants like Japanese Knot weed, reservatrol is a plant-based polyphenol molecule that is also found in the skins of red wine grapes and berries. It helps to protect plants from exposure to UV radiation and infection. Research has also found that reservatrol may have an anti-inflammatory effect on humans which could help support pain management.
TurmericA member of the ginger family, turmeric is a spice that gives curry a distinctive flavour and yellow colour. Traditionally used as a natural treatment for indigestion and upset stomachs, it is also used to provide natural pain relief people for people with osteoarthritis. The key to turmeric’s effect on inflammation could be the compound curcumin. In several studies, curcumin has shown anti-inflammatory activity.
YogaNot just a form of exercise, yoga has been used to help relieve symptoms associated with chronic pain conditions like migraines, arthritis and lower back pain. During a clinical trial involving 228 adults with long-term moderate lower back pain, some took yoga classes whilst others carried out exercise and lifestyle changes for three months. Those that took yoga classes were more likely to report that their back pain had improved compared to the others. Another study showed that pregnant women who practiced yoga in their second trimester experienced a decrease in physical pain.
Aside from prescribed or over-the-counter medicines, alternative natural therapies and plant-based solutions have been used for pain relief. From commonly used spices to massage and yoga, there are several ways to treat inflammation pain-related conditions. Next time pain strikes, instead of taking a capsule, why not give one of these a try to combat your aches?