If you’re struggling with chronic pain—no matter whether it’s achy knees or migraines—maintaining the delicate balance between managing that pain and avoiding dangerous drug side effects can be tough. NSAIDs can provide some temporary pain relief, but that relief can come at a steep cost. Internal bleeding, kidney issues, high blood pressure and heart problems are all potential side effects.
Natural pain relievers could help you cut back on your pain pills—or in some cases, even help you go cold turkey—without the same risks. Following are seven proven-effective natural pain relievers that could turn out to be the key to relieving your pain without the worry of drug side effects.
If you’re suffering from pain triggered by inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, astaxanthin—a naturally-occurring carotenoid extracted from marine plants and animals—could be the answer. Not only does this powerful antioxidant slash painful inflammation, it fights free radicals helping minimize future damage. Reduce pain now, and prevent pain later with four to 12 mg of astaxanthin daily.
If you want the pain-relieving power of an NSAID drug, but without the scary side effects, you might want to take a closer look at the pineapple. Because, as strange as it seems, a mixture of enzymes found in the delicious pineapple fruit has shown great promise as a pain reliever. Studies on the powerful enzyme mixture known as bromelain are still in their early stages, but the results so far are quite impressive. In fact, some studies have even concluded that bromelain works better than NSAIDs in some cases. For everything from post-surgical pain to daily arthritis aches, try between 250 and 1000 mg per day, twice a day.
When it comes to natural pain relief, people are often stumped about how to tackle headaches. But it turns out the little flowering plant known as feverfew could be just what the doctor should have ordered. Taking feverfew on a regular basis could mean fewer headaches, and headaches that don’t hurt as much when they do show up. A typical dosage is 100 to 300 mg daily to reduce headache frequency and severity.
A number of studies have linked SAMe—a compound that circulates naturally in our blood—to less arthritis pain. A natural anti-inflammatory, experts say for some folks SAMe may work just as well as NSAIDs. An exciting metastudy, which combined the results of 14 different studies, revealed that SAMe can have real world benefits for users, both slashing pain and increasing mobility. For arthritis pain, 200 to 400 mg, three times a day is recommended. For fibromyalgia and other nerve pain, experts say take up to 400 mg twice of SAMe a day, for best results.
The exotic spice turmeric has been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine for centuries, but modern medicine is finally catching up. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation recommends taking 400 to 600 mg of turmeric three times per day to reverse back pain. If it’s your joints that are acting up, turmeric can help there, too. In at least three separate studies, turmeric has been shown to reduce inflammation and joint pain. A dosage of 400 to 600 mg, three times per day should do the trick. For an added boost try taking a combination of turmeric and bromelain, which have been shown to work synergistically to increase their painkilling benefits.
6. Vitamin D:
For folks with a hidden vitamin D deficiency a supplement of this vital vitamin could turn out to be a pain-relieving godsend. It’s estimated that somewhere between 40 percent and 70 percent of American adults are running low in D. A deficiency can cause the nerve pain associated with fibromyalgia, as well as muscle and bone aches. Your doctor can run a simple blood test to see if you’re low. Experts say up to 2,000 IU daily may be needed to bring your levels back up to normal.
7. Willow bark:
Researchers say it could be either the salicin in willow bark (the basis of aspirin) or the herb’s antioxidant content that make it such an excellent natural pain reliever. But whatever the cause it has impressive pain-relieving powers. Willow bark has been shown to help relieve back pain, headache pain, joint and arthritis pain, tendonitis pain, and more. A typical dosage is 240 mg.