When you have pain, there’s nothing you want more than relief, right now. For many that means reaching for a bottle of pills from the medicine cabinet. You may be surprised to learn there are other, safer home remedies you can use to get pain relief instead. In many cases, natural pain remedies can offer the same results as medications, but without the side effects.
This may seem strange since the last thing you want to do when your bones and joints ache is get up and move- but it will pay off. Along with a hot soak, it’s my go-to method for pain relief. Exercise will strengthen and stretch muscles to reduce inflammation, breakup spasm and get important nutrients such as oxygen flowing. This increased motion also improves the effects of the synovial fluid which surrounds and lubricants our joints, helping them to move better and reducing pain.
Soak In Epsom Salt For The Magnesium
The magnesium in Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and helps reduce inflammation. Magnesium helps reduce pain and swelling and allows the muscles to relax and repair themselves. It’s also important for bone health. Low levels can make it harder for your body to heal from injuries. Add half a cup to a bowl of warm water and soak your painful joint for 15 minutes. Or add 2 cups to your bath water. You can also get magnesium from capsules, applying magnesium oil directly to painful areas or eating magnesium rich foods. These include nuts, dark leafy greens, legumes, beans, and many different types of fish and seafood.
Applying Hot And/Or Cold
Applying heat and/or cold often eases joint, back and other types of pain. Cold helps by causing blood vessels to constrict, which reduces swelling. That’s why, when you experience an injury- whether it’s a bee sting or a sprained ankle- icing is a good first choice. You can use an ice pack, a bag of frozen vegetables, or submerge the affected area in a container of ice water. Heat, on the other hand, is a muscle relaxer, it relieves pain by loosening tense muscles. Heat via a heating pad or bath also increases blood flow to an injury, which brings important healing nutrients. Some find one or the other provides more relief, but you can also try alternating the two, ending with the cold treatment to enjoy both benefits.
Tumeric And Ginger
As I discussed in a past post, these have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling in the body and relieve pain. Try them in a tea. Bring the water to a boil and add the ground ginger and turmeric. Reduce the heat and allow the ingredients to simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture to remove any clumps and thick particles. You can even add some Manuka honey to sweeten the drink and add to the benefits.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil is a great way to lubricate the body and the joints. It can help make movement easier, and it reduces the pain associated with arthritis and some injuries. Olive oil has many of the same properties as some pharmaceutical medications such as Advil or Tylenol, but it is all natural. It’s also easy to find and easy to apply to the body. You should choose organic olive oil when possible. You can find it at most groceries and health food stores. To apply the olive oil, just drizzle some out onto your hands and then massage it all over the body.
You probably have dandelions growing in your yard, and think of them as pesky weeds. The truth is, they can help fight pain, speed up the healing process, contain a lot of vitamin A and C which aid in tissue repair, and help strengthen the immune system. The best way to get the effects of dandelions is to make them into a salad. Clean the dandelions properly and make sure there are no bugs or dirt on them by rinsing them in cool water several times. This is especially important if you are picking them from the wild. Place the dandelion leaves in a bowl and toss with olive oil. Season as desired and eat.
Blackstrap molasses is packed with nutrients that can help the body heal faster and reduce pain and inflammation. It’s been used to treat arthritis pain for many years, due to its ability to improve muscle and nerve function and even help strengthen bones. Since blackstrap molasses can be very sweet, it works well as a drink. Boil the water, add the molasses and stir well until it dissolves. Drink while still warm. If storing, keep in a cool place. You may need to reheat again before stirring. It can can also work as a laxative so drink with caution.
White willow tea has been used to treat pain for centuries. Even before pain medications were invented, this drink was used with success. The same ingredient used in Aspirin occurs naturally in white willow tea. This drink was so popular that even Hippocrates wrote about it. You can find white willow capsules at many pharmacies and health food stores, but most people prefer to make it as a tea. Make sure to clear with your provider since it acts as aspirin would. Add a white willow bar to recently boiled water and allow it to dissolve, then top off with honey and lemon for flavor.
Peppermint and Eucalyptus Oils
Both peppermint and eucalyptus have pain relieving properties that make them great natural pain relievers. You can combine the oils of both to make an oil blend that is perfect for treating minor pain and injuries at home. Mix the peppermint and eucalyptus oils with a carrier oil (olive, almond, or grapeseed) and add the mixture to a glass bottle. Shake to mix thoroughly. Store the oil blend out of direct sunlight and in a place that is not too cold or hot. This natural oil can be messaged gently in to the body as often as desired but do a spot check first to ensure you don’t have a reaction and don’t use on broken skin, around children or pets and never ingest eucalyptus essential oil since it’s toxic.
Juniper Berry Tea
Juniper berries help the body to heal faster by reducing inflammation and swelling around joints and other areas of the body. While this tea is a natural pain remedy, pregnant women should not drink it as it can lead to complications. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Pour it into a mug and add the dried juniper berries. Allow them to dissolve into the drink for at least 20 minutes. You can even include some honey to make the drink more flavorful.
Lavender essential oil is an excellent natural analgesic compound that helps to mitigate symptoms of pain while soothing the nervous system. Dab a few drops of the oil onto a cotton ball, and press it into the temples to ease headache pain and tension on the nervous system. You can also try diffusing with lavender essential oil by adding 10 to 20 drops of the oil to your diffuser since it also helps to relieve anxiety and tension that may be contributing to pain symptoms. It’s vital that you never ingest lavender essential oil, as it may have a toxic response in the digestive system.
Rosemary is another essential oil that may relieve muscle and bone pain by reducing inflammation and relaxing smooth muscles. Dilute essential oils in a carrier oil (olive, almond, or grapeseed). Use three to five drops of essential oil for each ounce of carrier oil. Research suggests that the herb acts on opioid receptors in the brain which are involved with the sensation of pain. It also found rosemary oil helped to reduce pain in people experiencing opium withdrawal. You can grow Rosemary and other herbs at home- find out more here.
Natural pain relievers can be a safe, effective alternative to manage pain. Clear it with your provider since they may not be suitable for everyone. See if they can help ease your pain and improve your day.