Could you find pain relief through a method that focuses on soft tissue manipulation and your psyche? The answer is yes. Rolfing, also known as structural integration, involves soft tissue work and movement education to realign your body’s myofascial structure with gravity. (8) (Think of your body’s fascia as the “netting” that encases your muscles and organs.)
Release your inner endorphins. Endorphins are the natural pain relievers produced by your body. They work by binding to the opioid receptors in your brain to block the perception of pain, similar to opioid pain medications, such as oxycodone or morphine. Spurring increased production of these natural hormones can substantially help reduce your pain, as well as produce profound feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.1
10. Cherries – Due to the presence of compounds called anthocyanins—the same phytonutrients that give cherries their rich ruby hue – you can count on cherries to tamp down pain. Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, says, “They block inflammation and they inhibit pain enzymes, just like aspirin, naproxen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories.” Cherries are said to have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food, making them great for remedying issues such as arthritis.
A study involving 172 people with osteoarthritis of the knee compared the use of a arnica gel with a prescribed, nonsteroidal anti-iflammatory gel (the NSAID piroxicam) with 1g of gel applied three times a day for 4 weeks. The results showed a pain reduction of 16.5 in the arnica gel group versus only 8.1 in the NSAID gel group and the researchers concluded that the Arnica gel was at least as effective and as well tolerated as the NSAID gel. A similar trial involving over 200 people with osteoarthritis of the hands showed that arnica gel was just as effective as an NSAID (ibuprofen) gel in reducing pain and improving hand function.
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.
NSAIDs have anti-inflammatory (reduce inflammation), analgesic (relieve pain) and antipyretic (lower temperature) effects. Although different NSAIDs have different structures, they all work by blocking cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes. There are two main types of COX enzymes: COX-1 and COX-2. Both types produce prostaglandins; however, the main function of COX-1 enzymes is to produce baseline levels of prostaglandins that activate platelets and protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, whereas COX-2 enzymes are responsible for releasing prostaglandins after infection or injury. Prostaglandins have a number of different effects, one of which is to regulate inflammation. Most NSAIDs inhibit both enzymes, although a few are available that mainly inhibit COX-2. The pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of NSAIDs are mainly due to inhibition of COX-2, and their unwanted side effects are largely due to inhibition of COX-1.
Did you know that the sensation of pain actually originates in your brain? Fortunately, we can actively alter the way our brain evaluates painful stimuli, helping to increase our pain tolerance and decrease painful symptoms.[12,13] Several techniques that aim to take more control over our minds and that relax the body can work wonders for pain control. Here are a few good examples:
Lower back pain and vaginal discharge: What to know Lower back pain and vaginal discharge are common on their own. When they occur together, this can point to specific medical issues. In this article, learn about seven possible causes of both lower back pain and vaginal discharge. We also describe risk factors, diagnostic methods, and treatment options. Read now
Pycnogenol inhibits TNF-α–induced NF-kB activation as well as adhesion molecule expression in the endothelium. Grimm et al, recently reported that oral intake of pycnogenol inhibited NF-kB activation in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated monocytes as well, thus decreasing the inflammatory response. It also statistically significantly inhibited matrix metalloproteinase-9. This matrix-degrading enzyme is highly expressed at sites of inflammation, and contributes to the pathogenesis of various chronic inflammatory diseases.
Some manufacturers inflate nutraceutical products’ claims and may not cite possible side effects and potential drug interactions. Bleeding complications are associated with white willow bark, ginger, garlic, and others. Therefore, such medicinal preparations are not without risk. Products such as omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) (O3) do have strong scientific support to be considered as an alternative and/or complementary agent to NSAIDs. Published studies have shown the effectiveness of O3 to successfully treat spine-related pain. Capsaicin, oil of camphor, and other natural topical preparations are commonly used for muscle soreness and local application for painful traumatic injuries.[12,16,80] The subsequent sections will review many of these products and discuss both their efficacy and safety issues. As with any drug or natural compounds, additional caution should be used when considering these treatments for children, pregnant or lactating mothers or any other clinical or disease condition that could increase possible risk of side effect or complication.
After an injury, first rest, ice the area, use compression, and elevate the area. The acronym to help you remember is RICE. Rest the area. Ice the area 4 times a day for 10 to 15 minutes. If it looks better, compress the area with an Ace-type elastic bandage. To reduce swelling, ice helps, and so does elevating the area above your heart. When the swelling is down but you still have mild pain, apply a topical cream or gel according to the package directions. If it has worsened, consult your doctor.
If you are using a topical anti-inflammatory there is a risk that your skin can become sensitive to light (photosensitivity). If you are using a preparation that contains ketoprofen you should cover the area of skin where ketoprofen has been applied (to protect it from sunlight). Also, you should not use a sunbed, or expose your skin to sunlight during treatment, and for two weeks after stopping.
Laugh more often. One study showed that social laughter actually increases pain tolerance.5 Laughing along with others was shown to have the highest positive impact. Laughter has many positive effects, including increasing circulation and oxygen, and raising your body's level of endorphins (the body's natural pain killers). There is a whole movement called "laughter yoga"—which helps people enjoy the many benefits of laughter without having to need a reason to laugh—it just focuses on laughing for its own sake.
Few people need surgery for back pain. If you have unrelenting pain associated with radiating leg pain or progressive muscle weakness caused by nerve compression, you might benefit from surgery. Otherwise, surgery usually is reserved for pain related to structural problems, such as narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) or a herniated disk, that hasn't responded to other therapy.
The most common cause of anemia is not getting enough iron in your diet but luckily, iron deficiencies are treatable. With an iron supplement for anemia, you can build your body’s iron levels and raise its red blood cell production over time. Not only can it relieve short-term symptoms like dizziness or lethargy, but the right iron supplement can treat anemia and prevent your body from developing it in the future.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. Involved in over 300 biochemical reactions, it helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and preserves bones strength. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.
The active ingredients in fish oil, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), enhance the conversion of COX to prostaglandin E3. A natural anti-inflammatory agent, prostaglandin E3 competitively inhibits the effects of the arachidonic acid conversion to prostaglandin E2, a highly inflammatory substance. Prostaglandin E3 also inhibits the synthesis of TNF-α and IL-1b, both of which are inflammatory cytokines. The EPA and DHA can inhibit the 5-LOX pathway, which converts arachidonic acid to inflammatory leukotrienes, by competitive inhibition as well. When EPA and DHA are incorporated into articular cartridge chondrocyte cell membranes, there is a dose-dependent decrease in the expression and activity of the proteoglycan-degrading aggrecanase enzymes.[12,23–25,27,50,85]
Joints are complicated structures that “rely on bone, muscle, and ligaments all working together to provide a full range of motion,” says Holly Lucille, a Los Angeles-based naturopath. Understanding the source of your joint pain or inflammation is important, she adds, in order to pinpoint the most effective remedy. It could be an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, but in other cases, food sensitivities can be the culprit.
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.
The good news regarding back pain is this: Most cases of lower back pain are believed to be due to “mechanical” problems of the musculoskeletal system rather than serious illness or chronic health problems. Abnormalities, weakness, and added stress placed on the bones, joints, ligaments and muscles can all contribute to back problems. It’s been found that the most common causes of low back pain (there are many!) include: (8)
Looking for a nonaddictive way to soothe aches? LifeSeasons’ award-winning Pain Bloc-R helps deliver the benefits of conventional approaches, including decreased aches and discomforts and increased relaxation, without the common pharmaceutical side effects. Pain Bloc-R combines natural ingredients and compounds, including Angelica dahurica, white willow bark, L-tetrahydropalmatine, and L-theanine, that work together to help support the body’s natural ability to relieve everyday aches.
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I’m not saying NSAIDs are useless. They have their place. If you’re recovering from surgery or a major injury, traditional over-the-counter pain relievers are good for controlling inflammation, swelling, and pain, but NSAIDs are far too powerful for over-the-counter, everyday use. Unlike a lot of natural pain relievers, NSAIDs also don’t address the cause of inflammation or pain; they just mask the symptoms.