From all over muscle soreness to a stiff back, annoying aches and pains are just a part of life. But if you hesitate to pop a pain pill every single time one surfaces, your instincts are spot on.
Over the counter NSAIDs and acetaminophen can come with some dangerous side effects.
Natural pain cures that work
But that doesn’t mean you have to simply live with the pain. There are a number of natural pain cures that can help you get some relief, without all the risk.
Sore muscles or joint pain:
You’ve heard of serotonin before, right? It’s the happiness hormone that puts you in a good mood. Well it turns out serotonin doesn’t just make you feel sunnier, it can help knock out that nagging muscle soreness you seem to be fighting all the time too.
Experts believe the amino acid s-adenosylmethionine, or SAM-e for short, encourages your brain to pump out more serotonin, which in turn could wipe out your pain.
A regular daily dose of 400 to 1,600 mg of SAM-e can reportedly help relax tight muscles, reduce stiffness, ease aching joints and even calm nerve pain. And while this isn’t an instant fix like popping a pain pill, over time SAM-e could can help pain-free become your new normal.
In head to head tests SAM-e has held its own against prescription NSAID pain killers, over time working just as well as the drugs to relieve osteoarthritis pain in double blind crossover studies.1,2 And in a study of fibromyalgia patients, 800 mg of SAM-e daily over six weeks relieved pain and stiffness.3
Back pain or aching joints:
Research has revealed Devil’s claw, an herb native to South Africa, may help ease the ache of osteoarthritis or back pain as well as drugs. But without all the troubling side effects. The herb appears to have natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.4
In a four month, double blind study when researchers compared Devil’s claw to a slow-acting prescription pain reliever for osteoarthritis pain. The herb performed just as well as the drug.5 Reportedly Devil’s claw significantly reduced volunteer’s pain, making it easier for them to move around and slashing their need for other pain relieving drugs.
And experts say Devil’s claw may be able to help tackle back pain too. Several studies found the herb relieved lower back pain more effectively than both a placebo and a prescription pain medication.6
Bellyaches, muscle and joint aches, or headaches:
It turns out the common (and delicious) spice ginger may be good for a LOT more than just baking, stir fries and sushi. According to researchers ginger could be the key to banishing bellyaches, slashing joint pains, easing aching joints or stopping migraines in their tracks.
When mom turned to ginger ale to help soothe your upset tummy she was onto something. Ginger has a long tradition of being used to cure stomach troubles, and has been found in the medicine bags of traditional healers for hundreds of years. And studies show it can indeed help relieve nausea and indigestion.7,8,9,10
And if it is muscle or joint pain that’s got you down ginger could be your answer too. Just two grams a day of anti-inflammatory ginger (about a quarter teaspoon) a day was able to reduce muscle pain in a group of volunteer exercisers. And osteoarthritis sufferers taking a ginger supplement had significantly less pain, and were able to use less pain meds as a result.12
Even headaches don’t stand a chance when ginger is on the job. In a head-to-head comparison with the migraine drug sumatriptan ginger was a shining star. Researchers report that folks who used the spice supplement experienced similar results to those using the drug, with migraine pain significantly easing within two hours for both. But those taking the ginger reported far fewer side efffcts.13
You too can be pain free without drugs. Give these natural pain cures a try.
Do you have a favorite go-to pain reliever? Share it with us in the comments below.
1. “S-Adenosyl methionine (SAMe) versus celecoxib for the treatment of osteoarthritis symptoms: A double-blind cross-over trial,” BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2004; 5: 6
2. “Comparative Clinical Trial of S-Adenosylmethionine Versus Nabumetone for the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis: An 8-Week, Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Double-Dummy, Phase IV Study in Korean Patients,” Clin Ther 31 (12), 2860-2872. 12 2009
3. “Oral S-adenosylmethionine in primary fibromyalgia. Double-blind clinical evaluation,” Scand J Rheumatol. 1991;20(4):294-302
4. “Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of an aqueous extract of Harpagophytum procumbens,” Planta Med. 1992 Apr;58(2):117-23
5. “Harpagophytum procumbens in the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis. Four-month results of a prospective, multicenter, double-blind trial versus diacerhein,” Joint Bone Spine, 2000;67:462-467
6. “Harpgophytum procumbens for osteoarthritis and low back pain: A systematic review,” BMC Complement Altern Med. 2004; 4: 13
7. “Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials,” Br J Anaesth. 2000 Mar;84(3):367-7
8. “A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting, Nutr J. 2014; 13: 20
9. “Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia,” World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Jan 7; 17(1): 105–110
10. “Effects of ginger on gastric emptying and motility in healthy humans,” Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 May;20(5):436-40
11. “Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise,” J Pain. 2010 Sep;11(9):894-903
12. “Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis,” Arthritis Rheum. 2001 Nov;44(11):2531-8
13. “Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine,” Phytother Res. 2014 Mar;28(3):412-5
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