Thursday, April 18, 2013


It has taken quite a few years to find natural pain relievers that work for me and my specific problems/conditions. But knowing I am not using anything that could cause undesirable side effects, has made it worth the time and effort. Before I go into detail about my remedies, here is a reminder about over-the-counter pain medication. 
The non steroidal pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) can cause serious gastrointestinal problems if taken for long periods of time. In addition to doing nothing beneficial for the actual problem and masking the pain they can also lead to liver damage. Stronger prescription pain relievers such as Naproxen and Celebrex are even potentially more dangerous.
Up until about 20 years ago, I also used Tylenol on an almost daily basis for my aches and pains. But transitioning into alternative medicine led me to the first natural pain reliever I tried, white willow bark. It actually contains compounds from which aspirin is derived but without the harmful side effects. It was very helpful for relieving my headaches, backaches and joint pain, all of which I was experiencing on a regular basis. But it should not be used during pregnancy, only because it may interfere with the absorption of iron and other minerals. Also, people with an allergy to aspirin should not take it. At this time, I was also becoming religious with taking glucosamine and chondroitin for my joints and know that after a matter of months, joint pain was becoming less and less.
But my tendons and ligaments were a different story. So the next natural remedy I started was for the different types of tendinitis that started to plague me. Tennis elbow was the first and so painful that I couldn't even touch my elbow. Of course after my GP diagnosed it, he wrote me a prescription for Naproxen. After taking only a few pills, my digestive tract was so distressed, that I had to seek other pain relief. It was then I discovered MSM which stands for methylsulfonylmethan, a natural substance present in the human body and food. This turned out to be so effective that it became, and still is, a regular in my vitamin/supplement regiment. Using a topical cream with MSM and glucosamine is also very helpful. When the pain flared in intensity I used DMSO topically, which is derived from trees and MSM is made from it. These became the staples of my treatment plans while suffering with tendonitis, plantar fascitis, torn meniscus, back problems, etc. Along with not being harmful, MSM is beneficial to all types of inflammation in the body. But I learned to be patient for relief as these natural remedies are not the "magic bullet" like traditional medications.
The last pain reliever I will discuss is the homeopathic wonder, Arnica montana. After discovering this gem about 10 years ago, I am never without it! Taken in pellet form under the tongue, it relieves minor muscle or joint aches and pains, strains, sprains, bruised, backache or over exertion. I use the 30c potency 3 to 4 times a day if I have physically over exerted myself and find it quite helpful. My younger daughter used only this as pain relief during both of her home births! But the real gem of Arnica is when used in cream or gel form, such as Boiron Arnicare Arnica Gel and everyone should have it on hand. The moment after you bump or bruise yourself, applying it topically will not only help reduce swelling and pain, but also keep the area from turning black and blue (or at least keep it to a minimum)! There is always a tube of the gel form in my house and handbag. 
While there are many other natural pain relievers, these are the ones I have used and still use the most for all of my needs. Please don't hesitate to leave a comment if you have questions about the remedies, dosages I use, etc.

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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.
© 2013

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