Natural Relief for 10 Painful Symptoms
Pain is your body’s way of alerting you that something is amiss. In response to it, many people immediately grab pain relievers and similar medications to take care of the symptoms. Some medications, can have extreme side effects ranging from nausea to liver damage to allergic reactions to increased risks for heart attacks and stroke.
By Sharing Possible Cause of Pain You May Find Some Natural Relief
Pain is often your body giving you clues to the origin. Once identified and healed the pain often goes away.
Ask yourself some important questions:
- How long have you had the pain?
- Has the pain reoccurred?
- Might the treatment to relieve pain do greater harm?
- Is your body’s warning signals a clue that there’s possibly something much more serious or even deadly ahead if you deaden your bodies warning signals being pain and not stop the cause?
- Are you getting temporary treatment for the symptom while ignoring the cause?
Doctors are often pushed by patients to provide instant pain relief. Yet ignoring the true cause and origin of pain can be extremely detrimental short term and or long term, even cause death by not first exploring the cause versus only treating the symptoms.
Eliminate the Cause, There’s No Need for a Cure – Subside Pain Naturally
In many cases, you needn’t put yourself at risk to make your pain go away. First, focus on identifying the underlying cause of your pain. Is it due to an injury? Is it tension due to stress at work? Could changes in weather be playing a role?
When we identify a cause, there are often many possible solutions to eliminating pain and or eliminating any reoccurrence of the pain.
The correct treatment relieves pain by adjustments which address the root cause—healing a prior injury, realignment, or even fatigue from job stress and so on. In many cases, however, pain may persist even after you’ve tended to the cause. If your pain is chronic, you should know that natural treatments are available and worth giving a try before immediately embracing over-the-counter or prescription drugs.
Natural treatments for pain relief can often take care of the issue—without exacerbating other body ailments (and in some cases helping them as well). Below you’ll find 10 common causes of pain along with top natural remedies to treat them.
- Back PainBack pain affects nearly eight out of ten people.i Many women suffer from lower back pain during pregnancy and post pregnancy due to changes that occur in the pelvis as well as weight gain stress pressures on muscles and the spine. Back pain can be caused by anything from actual injury to genetics to age to fitness level.
- Chiropractic adjustments, spinal manipulation and spinal mobilization.ii This is useful for all types of back pain, including pregnancy-related pain.In a study of pregnant women with low back or pelvic pain undergoing chiropractic treatment, 52 percent improved after 1 week, 70 percent after 1 month, 85 percent after 3 months, 90 percent at 6 months and 88 percent at 1 year.iii
- Take up yoga (strengthens core muscles) and/or mindfulness meditation (which involves focusing on your breath to reduce discomfort). Concentrate on changing pain-related thoughts and behaviors.iv
- Use hot or cold packs on affected areas.
- Exercise to strengthen back muscles.
- Try acupuncture or myofascial release therapy (a massage technique that focuses on myofascial tissue and trigger points). One study looking into myofascial release therapy for pain associated with fibromyalgia showed a significant decrease in pain as well as vast improvement in sleep, anxiety, depression and quality of life even after a month post-treatment. Scores for pain dropped after the 20-week intervention program.v
- Herbs and supplements like white willow bark, turmeric, pine bark and green teaviii have been shown to assist with general aches and pain.
- SciaticaSciatica involves extreme leg pain and related disabilities. While most patients can be treated successfully for acute sciatica, approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of patients suffer from chronic problems.vii Causes vary, but risk factors include smoking, stress, being tall, age and strenuous physical activity.
- Reduce stress via exercise, meditation and similar activities.
- Avoid too much bed rest. Patients should stay active and keep doing daily activities.Chiropractic adjustments of the lower back and the pelvis.
- Herbs and supplements can also reduce pain, especially turmeric, vitamin D (best obtained via sun exposure), omega-3, St. John’s Wort, garlic and Jamaican dogwood.
- Quit smoking.
- Neck pain
Natural TreatmentsYour neck is made up of seven bones, muscles, joints, nerves, tendons and ligaments. Pain can originate in nearly any of these—or even from outside areas like your jaw or shoulders. Overuse is a common issue, i.e. from exercising too much, computer work, texting on mobile devices, etc.
- Chiropractic treatments can help realign your neck or other points of your body. In a recent study, more than 50 percent of participants showed pain reduction of two or more scale points after 6 weeks. After 6 months, 65 percent of participants experienced pain reduction.v
- Invest in physical therapy, massages (myofascial release therapy) or acupuncture to target trigger points.
- Stretch your neck, especially if it has become cramped from sleeping.
- Drink plenty of water since it supports spine health.
- Avoid repetitive actions like cradling a phone in your neck or sitting at a computer too long.
- WhiplashWhen soft tissue in your neck becomes injured, it can lead to whiplash. It’s the equivalent of an ankle sprain, except that it is in your neck. Whiplash often occurs during falls or even extreme accidents like a bike or car accident.
- Treat the area with ice.
- Wear a cervical collar to reduce movement and the chance of reinjuring the area.xi
- Make a Chiropractic appointment to make sure there are no misalignments in the spine.
- MigrainesMigraines manifest in different forms: cluster headaches, ocular migraines (visual disturbances, including light anomalies and blindness) and rebound headaches caused by taking drugs for pain relief. Migraines can vary in intensity, but most people experience some type of discomfort.
- Occipital nerve stimulation can be used for chronic migraine sufferers. It involves implanting a device in the subcutaneous tissue.xi Patients can use this device when they feel a migraine coming on. It releases magnetic pulses to stimulate the occipital cortex.
- Look into massages/relaxation techniques since many migraines are caused by tension or stress.
- Use dietary supplements, which can be effective, especially if taken before known migraine triggers like weather changes. Recommended supplements include vitamin B2 (Ribloflavin), magnesium, melatonin, coenzyme Q10 and feverfew.
- Caffeine has been shown to assist with reducing migraine pain and improving other symptoms. It was most effective when taken with ibuprofen, but does have some beneficial qualities on its own.xiii
- Improve daily routines. People who suffer from migraines shouldn’t skip meals or sleep. Also, avoid foods that are known to trigger migraines, i.e. chocolate, beer, food additives, coffee and red wine.
- Cervical and Thoracic Chiropractic adjustments and massages have been used to effectively reduce headache pain and intensity levels.xiv
- Ankle sprainsAnkle sprains are all too common for many people. While usually minor injuries, severe strains can require weeks of rehabilitation. Sprains are caused by minute tears in the muscle tissue and are often the result of tripping, overuse or lack of preparation (i.e. not warming up).
- Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE): Most doctors will tell you to start with this. While there isn’t a lot of evidence that RICE is highly effective,xiv it does assist in reducing further injury by keeping you off of your ankle.
- Turmeric and garlic have been shown to reduce pain and relieve sprain symptoms.
- Soaking in Epsom Salt is popular for helping with sore muscles.
- Prevent sprains by wearing the right shoes and warming up before exercise.
- Chiropractic adjustments of the ankle and foot help stablize area so it can heal faster.
- Post workout/delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)Exercise helps you stay healthy, but it can also lead to extremely sore muscles right after, several hours later or days after workouts. There is no single cause of muscle soreness, but lactic acid contributes to the problem as well as over-exercising, injuries or stress.
- While it might seem counterintuitive, regular exercise can help reduce muscle soreness since it improves muscle tone over the long run.
- Prevention is also important. Stretch muscles, warm up, get plenty of sleep, and stay hydrated prior to workouts.
- For extreme soreness, rest the muscles and apply ice.
- Golfer’s elbow
TreatmentGolfer’s elbow is similar to tennis elbow in that it causes pain near your elbow. Discomfort is located in the area where the tendons of the foreman attach to the elbow. Pain may be solely located here, or it might also spread to forearms and wrists. Anyone who uses their wrists often or tightly closes their fingers repetitively or for long periods can also get golfer’s elbow.
- Exercises that strengthen the muscles in this area can help.xvi Therapeutic exercise, including FlexBar exercises, along with standard physical therapy has shown an improvement in golfer’s elbow pain level by over 80 percent.
- Stretch out sore muscles.
- Chiropractic adjustments of the neck, shoulder and elbow have been shown to reduce pain and decrease inflammation.
- Ice the inside of your elbow.
- Limit activity until pain is reduced.
- Muscle sorenessEven if you haven’t exercised in a while, you might have muscle soreness—for a variety of reasons. For example, you might be stressed out at work, and even infections like the flu can cause achy muscles.
- Many foods can help reduce inflammation and pain, including berries (i.e. cherry or blueberry) or hot peppers, which contain capsaicin—a substance with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.
- Rest and get plenty of fluids.
- Use heat and/or cold packs on affected areas. The National Institute of Health recommends that areas should be iced one to three days.xvii
- Massages and acupuncture help improve trigger points that might be causing soreness.
- Shoulder painShoulders are workhorses. They allow for range of motion, but this also increases your chances of an injury. Shoulder pain can be related to a number of problems, including a torn rotator cuff, inflammation or even frozen shoulder (caused by injury or scarring). A serious shoulder injury will require a visit to the doctor. If it’s just sore, then natural remedies may assist in reducing tenderness.
- Physical or occupational therapy can help patients improve range of motion and decrease pain.
- A shoulder sling helps stabilize the shoulder, but still allows for daily activities.
- Chiropractic adjustments of the neck and shoulder can be very benefitial.
- Ice the affected areas to reduce inflammation.
- Avoid extreme activities that could make symptoms worse, especially certain exercises and lifting heavy items.
An assessment at your next appointment can help guide you once more is known as then more detailed natural strategies can be identified to relieve your specific type of pain. If pain persists or is severe, contact your primary care physician to ensure there isn’t a more serious underlying illness.
i NINDS. (2014, December). Back Pain Fact Sheet. Retrieved from National Institute of Neurological and Stroke
ii NINDS. (2014, December). Back Pain Fact Sheet. Retrieved from National Institute of Neurological and Stroke
iii Chiropr Man Therap. 2014 Apr 1;22(1):15.
iv Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington; Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle; Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle. (2016, March 22-29). Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Usual Care on Back Pain and Functional Limitations in Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA, 1240-9.
v Castro-Sanchez, Adelaida Maria; Matarán-Peñarrocha, Guillermo A.; Granero-Molina, Jose; Aguilera-Manrique, Gabriel; Quesada-Rubio, Jose Manuel and Moreno-Lorenzo, Carmen. (2010, December 28). Benefits of Massage-Myofascial Release Therapy on Pain, Anxiety, Quality of Sleep, Depression, and Quality of Life in Patients with Fibromyalgia. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
viii Joseph C. Maroon, J. W. (2010). Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief. Surgical Neurology International, 80.
ix B.W. Koes, M. v. (2007, June 23 ). Diagnosis and treatment of sciatica. BMJ, 1313-1317.
x Hurwitz, Eric L.; Morgenstern, Hal; Harber, Philip; Kominski, Gerald; Yu, Fei and Adams, Alan H. (2002 October). A Randomized Trial of Chiropractic Manipulation and Mobilization for Patients With Neck Pain: Clinical Outcomes From the UCLA Neck-Pain Study. American Journal of Public Health, 1634-1641.
xi U.S. Library of Medicine. (n.d.). MedlinePlus. Retrieved from NIH.gov
xii Antonios Mammis, A. M. (2015, October 14). Occipital Nerve Stimulation.
xiii S. Diamond, T. B. (2000, September). Ibuprofen plus caffeine in the treatment of tension-type headache. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 312-9.
xiv Younes Jahangiri Noudeh, N. V. (2012, March 31). Reduction of Current Migraine Headache Pain Following Neck Massage and Spinal Manipulation. Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, 5(1), 5-13
xv Michel P.J. van den Bekerom, P. A. (2012, August). What Is the Evidence for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation Therapy in the Treatment of Ankle Sprains in Adults? Journal of Athletic Training, 47(4), 435-443.
xviPage, P. (2010, September). A NEW EXERCISE FOR TENNIS ELBOW THAT WORKS! North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 5(3), 189-193.
xvii U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Muscle Aches.