Meditation and mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation, which focuses on awareness of the present moment, can reduce the way we perceive pain. In one study, only four days of training led to a 40% reduction in pain rating and a 57% reduction in pain-unpleasantness.[14] This kind of meditation can help you to control back pain, fibromyalgia, and migraines. Read more about meditation and mindfulness for pain control here.

Often patients will experience a different response in treatment with a different medication. This could be why some medications have helped your symptoms while others do not have a significant effect. This is not unusual, and it is difficult to predict which medications will most benefit a given individual. The best way to determine which NSAID is best for you is to try different options. Often a physician will recommend one NSAID, and if adequate relief of symptoms is not obtained within several weeks of treatment, another NSAID can be tried.
In one study of 28 women with osteoarthritis pain, half of the women listened to a 10 to 15 minute recorded script twice daily that guided them through muscle relaxation techniques. Women in the guided imagery group showed statistically significant improvements in their pain levels and mobility within 12 weeks, versus women in the control group who did not see any improvements.4
Get enough restorative sleep. Getting enough sleep is critical to managing pain and promoting healing, so it's important to employ a variety of sleep aids to help you get a healthy amount of sleep. Regular exercise that physically exhausts the body helps promote deep sleep. Visualization, meditation, and other psychological techniques can also help you get to sleep and stay asleep.

As I write in this month’s Harvard Men’s Health Watch, these so-called topical analgesics work best for more superficial joints like the knees, ankles, feet, elbows, and hands. “In those areas, the medication can penetrate closer to the joint,” says Dr. Rosalyn Nguyen, a clinical instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.


Nearly everyone suffers from some type of back pain at some point in their lives. But no matter when it appears or what may have caused it, back pain can be a real, well … pain to deal with. The good news? There are several simple things you can do to ease pain and keep your back in good condition. The following tips can help you get on the way toward feeling better.
The main advantage of topical NSAIDs is the reduced exposure of the rest of the body to the product, which reduces the side effect profile. Given the toxicity of NSAIDs is related in part to the dose, it follows that topical treatments should have a better toxicity profile. Consequently, the cardiovascular risks of topical diclofenac, even in those with a high baseline risk of disease, should be negligible with the topical forms.
Various randomized, placebo-controlled studies comparing white willow bark with nonsteroidal agents have shown an efficacy comparable to these agents and aspirin. Salicin from white willow bark is converted to salicylic acid by the liver and is considered to have fewer side effects than aspirin. However, it is costlier than aspirin, and should not be used in children (to avoid the risk of Reye’s syndrome), or in patients with peptic ulcer disease, poorly controlled diabetes, hepatic or renal disorders, or other conditions in which aspirin would be contraindicated. The usual dose of white willow bark is 240 mg/day.[18,19,33,41,64,69,99,100]
The main advantage of topical NSAIDs is the reduced exposure of the rest of the body to the product, which reduces the side effect profile. Given the toxicity of NSAIDs is related in part to the dose, it follows that topical treatments should have a better toxicity profile. Consequently, the cardiovascular risks of topical diclofenac, even in those with a high baseline risk of disease, should be negligible with the topical forms.

While these are not the only risks NSAID medications, they are somewhat more common, and some of the more worrisome, side effects. It is always safest to have a discussion with your physician if you have any concerns about the risk of taking these medications. It is important to understand that even in healthy people without underlying medical conditions, there is always the risk associated with any medication. The benefits of taking an anti-inflammatory medication need to be balanced with the possible risks of taking the medication.


“I use Relief cream on every client who comes in with any type of pain, and they all say they absolutely love the fragrance (as do I) and how it feels on their skin—in addition to how well it relieves their pain. It is the ONLY topical pain cream I would even think of using (and having on my hands) all day long, and with its non-irritating ingredients I can do so worry free. I have never had anyone I have used it on or sold it to complain of any type of negative skin reaction to the product, which I find amazing since with most ever other product of its kind you run a significant risk of experiencing secondary skin irritation. As you can imagine I couldn't be happier with Relief's amazing formulation and superior results!” *
Music therapy is a low-cost natural therapy that may reduce some of the stress of chronic pain in conjunction with other treatments. Studies find that it may reduce the disability, anxiety, and depression associated with chronic pain. It is thought to help because it can shift attention away from the unpleasant sensations of pain, and it may cause the release of endorphins or changes in catecholamine levels.
Cetyl myristoleate (CMO) is a fatty acid, an ethylated esterified fatty acid derived from bovine tallow oil. Though it is similar to fish oil, it is made specifically to help joints through its action as a cellular lubricant. Clinical studies show CMO to be an effective natural anti inflammatory compound that promotes healthy joint function. It increases joint flexibility and range of motion by lubricating the joint at a cellular level. It works to decrease inflammation specifically in the joints and lubricate their movement. In other words, it increases the fluids that cushion the space between the joint bones. CMO is reported to effect change at the cellular level, within the cell membranes themselves. It assists in the reduction and prevention of breakdown in joint cartilage. This can be especially helpful for those suffering degenerative osteoarthritis. The Journal of Rheumatology reported on a double-blind study of patients with chronic knee osteoarthritis where the CMO group saw significant improvement while the placebo group saw none. In fact, the scientists were so impressed with the results they concluded CMO “may be an alternative to the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for treatment of osteoarthritis.”
As a doctor I’ve tried, recommended and prescribed many pain-relieving creams and gels to treat painful joints, backache, sore muscles, strained tendons and sprained ligaments. Medical guidelines even recommend that doctors prescribe topical creams and gels to treat mild to moderate joint pain. The best pain relief creams and gels are often just as effective as oral painkillers, but with much less risk of side effects. When I experience muscle or joint pain, I prefer to use a pain relief cream myself.
After you apply diclofenac gel (Voltaren) or liquid (Pennsaid), you should not cover the treated area with any type of dressing or bandage and you should not apply heat to the area. You should not shower or bathe for at least 30 minutes after you apply the liquid (Pennsaid) and for at least 1 hour after you apply the gel (Voltaren). Do not cover the treated area with clothes or gloves for 10 minutes after you apply the gel (Voltaren), or until the liquid (Pennsaid) has dried if you are using the liquid.
Physical activity. Exercise helps build strong, flexible muscles that will be less prone to injury. It can also help the healing process for an aching back, prevent problems in the future, and improve function. Work with your doctor to develop an exercise program, or seek a referral to another health professional who can. A good program typically includes the three major forms of exercise: aerobic activity, strength training, and flexibility exercises.
A lot of people who read this are going to want to try it on their low back pain, neck pain, and/or other kinds of muscle pain. Will it work? The only honest answer is, “Who knows?” I have no clinical experience with this yet, and certainly it’s unstudied. It might be worth trying, in moderation, with the full awareness that there’s every possibility that it could be a waste of time and money.
The usual dosage of standardized turmeric powder is 400–600 mg taken three times per day.[13] Side effects are few, but with extended use, this agent can cause stomach upset, and in extreme cases gastric ulcers may occur at very high doses. Caution should be used if the patient is taking anticoagulant medications or high doses of nonsteroidal drugs. Studies have shown that curcumin may be used in combination with lower doses of nonsteroidal medications.[7–9,11,21,40,87,111,121]
While these are not the only risks NSAID medications, they are somewhat more common, and some of the more worrisome, side effects. It is always safest to have a discussion with your physician if you have any concerns about the risk of taking these medications. It is important to understand that even in healthy people without underlying medical conditions, there is always the risk associated with any medication. The benefits of taking an anti-inflammatory medication need to be balanced with the possible risks of taking the medication.

To avoid unwanted weight gain, consuming inflammatory ingredients or complications due to nutrient deficiencies, reduce or eliminate the following foods: added sugar, sweetened beverages or snacks, refined vegetable oils, refined grain products, too much alcohol and tobacco products (smoking impairs blood flow and adds to nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues).
Having a variety of solutions for pain relief is not only helpful, it’s strategic. Depending on which type of pain you’re experiencing, you want a personalized option. And having different solutions on hand helps you be prepared for whatever life throws at you. Try adding an external pain relief cream to the mix so you can relieve muscle and joint pain, then get back to doing what you love.
For cinnamon to be used in the diet to reduce pain, it should be in powdered form, and should be the Ceylon variety, not cassia. Cassia is the most common form and is less expensive, but toxicity can be of concern when cassia is consumed in large quantities. Ceylon cinnamon presents no toxicity risks and has more potent health benefits. (22) Ceylon cinnamon is the preferred supplemental form, and for best results, one should take approximately 1-2 teaspoons per day.

Bromelian is a mix of proteolytic enzymes (those found in pineapples), which have been used for centuries to help indigestion and reduce inflammation. Studies indicate this product helps reduce pain associated with arthritis, especially when used in combination with some other natural pain-relieving agents making it a great natural remedy for inflammation and pain.
Sleep disturbances are common among people with chronic back pain, and not getting enough quality sleep may actually worsen inflammation and pain. For a better night's sleep, invest in a good mattress and experiment with different sleeping positions. Adding an extra pillow under your body can help maintain the natural curve in your spine. If you’re a back sleeper, try putting the pillow under both knees; for stomach sleepers, try under your pelvis. If you sleep on your side, sleeping with a pillow between the knees may help.
Many patients have told me they find celadrin cream effective for rapid relief of painful joints. It appears to work best when you apply it all around the joint – for example in a continuous band around the front, sides and back of a knee. One patient, who had two arthritic knees, told me he performed a personal experiment in which he applied celadrin cream around one knee but not the other. He was amazed at the difference in the treated knee which, within hours, became less painful and more mobile. Needless to say, he soon started applying it to both knees!
This can vary depending on the reason for treating you, so speak with your doctor for advice. If you are using an anti-inflammatory for acute muscle pain, usually treatment lasts for as long as you have pain and inflammation. For example, a few days, or weeks. But if you are being treated for conditions like osteoarthritis, your doctor may advise you to use this medicine for the long term.

Chill it. Ice is best in the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury because it reduces inflammation, says E. Anne Reicherter, PhD, PT, DPT, associate professor of Physical Therapy at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Even though the warmth feels good because it helps cover up the pain and it does help relax the muscles, the heat actually inflames the inflammatory processes," she says. After 48 hours, you can switch to heat if you prefer. Whether you use heat or ice -- take it off after about 20 minutes to give your skin a rest. If pain persists, talk with a doctor.
The only side effect most of these products have is odor. Some of them were reviewed as being neutral to actually smelling good, while others were reported to have quite a strong smell you might not like. A lot of this has to do with the nature of the ingredients in pain relieving treatments. Mentholated ingredients give natural relief, but they do tend to have a strong odor that accompanies them.
Although it is normal to experience some pain and soreness when running or while engaging in similarly intense forms of physical activity, pain that persists long after you exercise is usually indicative of a greater problem. Be sure to consult with a medical professional before turning to any topical creams and gels; they can help you diagnose the source of your pain and may recommend alternate treatment options.
Capsicum annum is a small spreading shrub which was originally cultivated in the tropical regions of the Americas but is now grown throughout the world, including the US. The small red fruit commonly used to accentuate chili owes its stinging pungency to the chemical, capsaicin. This was isolated by chemists more than a century ago and constitutes approximately 12% of the chili pepper. This fruit has been used for various medicinal purposes by the native peoples of the American tropics for hundreds of years.
Vitamins are essential to health. Every natural thing that you eat contains the vitamins needed for growth, repair, bone density, pH balance and hormone regulation. The problem is that many people don’t have access to organic whole foods, so vitamin supplementation is important. When suffering from inflammation, pain and arthritis, the following vitamins may help.
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The first is that inflammation-lowering NSAIDs destroy your gut lining. Check the bottle of ibuprofen or aspirin in your medicine cabinet. You’ll see it right on the label: “NSAIDs such as ibuprofen may cause ulcers, bleeding, or holes in the stomach and/or intestine.”[1] Long-term low-dose aspirin use is particularly likely to cause ulcers and tear holes in your intestine.[2]

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