Many elderly already take so many prescription medications each day that adding pain meds to the list may be difficult. Prescription pain medication is often expensive, interacts with other drugs, and has many unwanted side effects. To be certain, there are many cases in which patients must manage strong, chronic pain with prescription medication. However, even over-the-counter pain medication can cause a host of problems when taken improperly or for extended periods of time.
What can you do for those everyday aches and pains? Alternative medicine is becoming not so alternative anymore. Even many mainstream medical professionals acknowledge that natural remedies have their place in many healthcare protocols. What are some natural ways to cope with pain?
Six Natural Pain Relievers
Long term use of prescription or OTC pain medications can cause stomach bleeding, liver problems, and other issues. Here are six natural pain relievers to help you get through the day.
- Turmeric. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, and is very useful in treating cases of pain resulting from inflammation, such as pain resulting from arthritis. You can use turmeric while cooking in order to benefit from its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. However, for pain management, capsules may be more effective. Check with your doctor to see what dose is right for you. Turmeric has anti-clotting properties, so those on blood thinners should consult with their physicians before beginning any pain management regime involving turmeric.
- Ginger. Ginger is another great anti-inflammatory herb. It can be especially effective for those needing to control spasms. You can purchase ginger in capsule form, or fresh and relatively inexpensively at the grocery store. To make fresh ginger tea, cut the ginger up and place it in boiling water to steep. Strain off the ginger pieces and enjoy. Alternatively, make a ginger compress by grating ginger, placing it on some cheesecloth, and dipping it in hot water. Apply the compress directly to area where you are experiencing pain.
- Arnica. Arnica Montana is a flower belonging to the sunflower family. Used homeopathically, arnica is very effective in treating pain and has few or no side effects. Arnica creams, oils, and pellets are all effective. To use the cream or oil, simply massage it into the affected area.
- Valerian. If nerve pain is the root of your discomfort, try Valerian herb. Valerian is a sedative, so it will also aid in helping you to sleep. Valerian tea is available at most natural food stores and online.
- Capsaicin. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers, and temporarily deadens nerve receptors called C-fibers. Capcaicin is effective in relieving arthritis and headache-related pain. To get the best results, take it daily for at least two weeks. You can purchase capcaisin creams of varying strengths at pharmacies and natural food stores. Alternatively, you can make capsaicin at home using recipes such as this one.
- Acupuncture. Even those who are squeamish about needles are often surprised at how gentle acupuncture treatment is. An age-old remedy, acupuncture has been used for centuries to manage pain. In addition, treatments may help to reduce stress and other chronic health issues. Many cities offers clinics where treatments are either free or are under $25 a session.
Whether you’re hoping to avoid side effects from prescription and OTC pain relievers or just to put something more organic into your system, there are many natural pain relievers that are effective and inexpensive.