When people experience a minor headache, muscle tension or other pain, they readily reach for over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen—the most commonly used drugs in the U.S. But regular use of these drugs can lead to long-term side effects like intestinal damage, liver failure and more, recent research reveals. Before popping the pills, consider these alternative remedies for natural pain relief.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are such effective pain killers that ibuprofen gel was originally only available on prescription. They are now widely available for self purchase and much better for your health than taking the same non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers by mouth. NSAID pain relieving gels do not cause the same level of side effects as the oral versions, such as indigestion and heartburn. You do need to follow the in-pack instructions, however, and take care not to apply too much. In some cases, overuse of ibuprofen gel can increase your blood pressure.

Aspirin is now believed to target both the NF-kB and COX pathways. These agents inhibit the NF-kB pathway in endothelial cells and block NF-kB activation to inhibit leukocyte recruitment.[114,115,116] NSAIDs have also been found to inhibit both the COX system and the NF-kB pathway. Immunosuppressant drugs also reduce nuclear expression of NF-kB.[39,70,75] Research now indicates that blocking the activation of NF-kB along with other inflammation mediators [Table 2] is the major mechanism for reducing inflammation by natural compounds.


Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with topical diclofenac 1% and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085729.htm) to obtain the Medication Guide.
Arnica montana is a flowering mountain herb with a long history of traditional use in pain relief. Arnica extracts contain numerous pain reliefing ingredients, including sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids which reduce inflammation, swelling and pain, plus thymol which fights infection. Arnica cream, gel and ointment is used to ease muscle pain and spasm, insect bites, superficial burns – including sunburn – sprains and painful joints caused by arthritis or other rheumatic disorders. Herbal arnica products contain measurable levels of active ingredients, while homeopathic arnica products contain lower levels that work in a different way. Research shows that arnica products are as effective at relieving painful joints as ibuprofen gel when applied two to four times a day.
Even as you practice patience, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can help ease the pain you're pushing through. The research behind medicine guidelines for lower back pain finds that these may give slightly better relief than acetaminophen (Tylenol). Over long periods, NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal problems, so don't take them for more than 10 days without consulting your doctor.

The active ingredient in cloves is eugenol, a natural pain reliever that’s also used in some OTC pain rubs. Rubbing a tiny amount of clove oil on your gums may temporarily ease toothache pain until you can get to a dentist. But too much undiluted clove oil may actually hurt your gums, so discuss this approach with your dentist before trying it at home.
Aspirin is now believed to target both the NF-kB and COX pathways. These agents inhibit the NF-kB pathway in endothelial cells and block NF-kB activation to inhibit leukocyte recruitment.[114,115,116] NSAIDs have also been found to inhibit both the COX system and the NF-kB pathway. Immunosuppressant drugs also reduce nuclear expression of NF-kB.[39,70,75] Research now indicates that blocking the activation of NF-kB along with other inflammation mediators [Table 2] is the major mechanism for reducing inflammation by natural compounds.

15. Bromelain – This natural pain-reducer comes from the enzymes present in pineapple stems. Research shows that it reduces levels of prostaglandins, which are hormones that induce inflammation. Bromelain may benefit people with arthritis and conditions marked by musculoskeletal tension (like TMJ syndrome), in addition to those suffering trauma-related inflammation. The enzyme also promotes healing in muscles and connective tissues.
How it works: A misaligned spine can cause muscle tension (read: pain). Both physical therapy and chiropractic treatment improve spinal alignment. Physical therapists strategically stretch and strengthen the muscles that help hold the spine in place. Chiropractors manipulate the spine to relieve areas of tension on the muscles. Consult your primary-care doctor for a referral.
When anti-inflammatories are taken by mouth they work by blocking (inhibiting) the effect of chemicals (enzymes) called cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. COX enzymes help to make other chemicals called prostaglandins. Some prostaglandins are involved in the production of pain and inflammation at sites of injury or damage. A reduction in prostaglandin production reduces pain and inflammation.
Hi Paul, This is not a condition I’m very familiar with. I’ve done a bit of research for you and found that most people will regain up to 70-90% of their original strength and functional levels within two years. The same reference suggests that ‘Specific pain medications used to treat PTS include opiates and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are usually used in combination. … After the acute phase, different medications such as gabapentin, carbamazepine, and amitryptiline may be used specifically to treat nerve pain.’ It’s possible that diclofenac gel will help the pain – this is the most effective topical NSAID available without prescription. Your doctor can prescribe other versions. Nerve pain is difficult to treat topically, although capsaicin cream (chilli extract) is prescribed to treat other forms of nerve pain eg related to shingles. Physio will help the nerves to recover – a medical herbalist may be able to suggest herbal creams that might promote nerve regrowth. Hope that helps.
Curcumin is a naturally occurring yellow pigment derived from turmeric (Curcuma longa), a flowering plant of the ginger family. It has traditionally been used as a coloring and flavoring spice in food products. Curcumin has long been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines as an anti-inflammatory agent, a treatment for digestive disorders, and to enhance wound healing. Several clinical trials have demonstrated curcumin’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antineoplastic effects. Results of a study by Zandi and Karin suggested that curcumin might be efficacious in the treatment of cystic fibrosis because of its anti-inflammatory effect.[121] Curcumin is known to inhibit inflammation by suppressing NF-kB, restricting various activators of NF-kB as well as stemming its expression.

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.
If these aches and pains sound all too familiar, then there’s a whole host of safe and effective treatments available to get back pain relief and to then relieve arthritis pain – herbal remedies, special foods, over-the-counter medicines, exercises, and more (see our Arthritis Solutions Special Report for details). But the quickest and safest way to soothe arthritis pain is with a topical cream that contains:

"There are three that I swear by. I use Icy Hot Roll-On ($5; walmart.com) on my feet at the end of the day after I do my exercises to stretch my feet. It's also great for traveling because it doesn't get messy! I like Salonpas Spray ($8; walmart.com) because it can get hard-to-reach places on my back or shoulder blades. And since Tiger Balm ($5; walmart.com) is strong, I use that when my legs are sore and I sleep with it on. I wake up the next morning and feel great." —Nicole Winhoffer, founder NW Method
There is nothing worse than having to wait for your pain medication to kick in when you’re in a bad way, only for it to wear off in a few short hours once it does start to work. What you need in these times is fast pain relief that acts fast and lasts for several hours. Thanks to the LUMINAS Pain Relief Patch, this is now possible, even without the use of harmful drugs.
The use of fish oil (in the form of cod liver oil), an omega-3 EFA, for the treatment of muscular, skeletal, and discogenic diseases, can be traced back to the late 18th century as detailed by Curtis et al.,[24,25] Unfortunately, because of the rapid onset of rancidity of this polyunsaturated oil when exposed to air, and hence its disconcerting odor, cod liver oil fell out of favor. With improved extraction techniques, such as using a protective nitrogen blanket and enhanced oxygen-free encapsulation methods, there is less chance of oxidation during the manufacturing process. The therapeutic benefits of fish oil can now be realized without the regurgitation and odor of previous products caused by peroxides and rancid tasting fish oil.[14]
Perhaps you bent the wrong way while lifting something heavy. Or you're dealing with a degenerative condition like arthritis. Whatever the cause, once you have low back pain, it can be hard to shake. About one in four Americans say they've had a recent bout of low back pain. And almost everyone can expect to experience back pain at some point in their lives.

I am a science writer, former massage therapist, and I was the assistant editor at ScienceBasedMedicine.org for several years. I have had my share of injuries and pain challenges as a runner and ultimate player. My wife and I live in downtown Vancouver, Canada. See my full bio and qualifications, or my blog, Writerly. You might run into me on Facebook or Twitter.


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!
I will admit I wasn't a believer. I have torn my knees all up and have had surgery. Surgery fixed the torn meniscus but the pain didn't stop. So I got on the pain pill routine. I hate taking the pills they make me feel fuzzy. A friend recommended Topricin to me. I got some and used it. Within days I noticed I needed less pills. It really does help the pain. I love it IT WORKS! I still have the pills in case it gets really bad but most of the time the pain can be managed by using the cream. I even keep a small tube in my purse just in case I need it. It also helps to show people what I am using. An added benefit is that it doesn't smell.
Whether you’re a runner looking for a quick solution to cure your muscle soreness or someone with chronic pain, a topical pain gel or cream is a great temporary relief option. These excellent products work very well and have given many runners relief from pain during the recovery process from various types of injuries. Bringing quick relief to sore or aching muscles requires a cream or gel which has the ability to be quickly absorbed and reaches deep into your tissue to help muscle pain.

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Cinnamon is a popular natural remedy for helping to control blood sugar, but it can also keep inflammation levels low in the body and improve digestion. (20) Spices have long been used for medicinal purposes, but in a modern day where pharmaceutical options abound, it is rarer to use food as medicine. Still, cinnamon and other spices can have broad anti-inflammatory benefits and in many cases, can be equally as effective to (or more) than NSAIDs, whether over-the-counter or prescription. (21)

This is a good option for anyone suffering from minor arthritis pain or sore muscles. It has no odor and is perfect for rubbing into the back to relieve backaches and pain. This product does not use any heating or cooling feature, so it is perfect for someone who wants a smell-free pain relief cream without a lot of added features. People have been using this cream for decades, and many continue to prefer it.
Celadrin's® effectiveness is supported by numerous clinical studies. In a recent double-blind study conducted at the University of Connecticut, 100% of the subjects using Celadrin® showed significant joint improvement in less than 30 minutes. The benefits increased with consistent use. Subjects were assessed for pain levels, range of motion and muscular endurance. Significance was shown in every area.
The US governmental agencies, through the FDA and others, routinely inspect the manufacture of vitamins or supplements made in this country, as they do for any other food product.[30,63,74] Contaminants, such as the recently discovered high lead content found in various Ayurvedic preparations that were made by an Indian manufacturer and imported into the US,[30,61,63,74,102] are generally thought to be uncommon, but can be a concern when purchasing imported supplements.
Presently, you would find different types of anti-inflammatory creams available on the market and every brand is unique in its own way. Once you use the different varieties you would understand the advantages that some of these creams have over other oral medications meant for pain relief. These creams would enable you to minimize inflammations underlying muscles and joints as well as the inflammations of the skin. Outlined below are a few examples of good quality anti-inflammatory creams that you could choose from to help you effectively deal with inflammations and pain. Ensure that you take your time to select what would best serve your needs.

1. Capsaicin. Capsaicin creams and gels are made from chili peppers.  They cause a mild to moderate burning sensation thought to alter nerves' ability to interpret pain by lowering the presence of a neurotransmitter called Substance P. Brand names including Capzasin and Zostrix are marketed for arthritis, backache, and other joint and muscle pains.  These creams aren't generally associated with any adverse side effects though some patients may feel the heat more intensely than others.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have shown efficacy in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) pain but are also associated with a dose-dependent risk of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, hematologic, hepatic, and renal adverse events (AEs). Topical NSAIDs were developed to provide analgesia similar to their oral counterparts with less systemic exposure and fewer serious AEs. Topical NSAIDs have long been available in Europe for the management of OA, and guidelines of the European League Against Rheumatism and the Osteoarthritis Research Society International specify that topical NSAIDs are preferred over oral NSAIDs for patients with knee or hand OA of mild-to-moderate severity, few affected joints, and/or a history of sensitivity to oral NSAIDs.
studies and meta-analyses report a strong relationship between chronic pain and abnormalities in glucose metabolism. Insulin resistance and abnormal blood sugar pave the way for inflammatory pathways, resulting in chronic pain. Magnesium deficiency is another that comes to mind. Magnesium helps to block the brain’s receptors of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that may cause your neurons to become hypersensitive to pain. Intestinal integrity is one that many people don’t think to connect to their pain. However, high-quality food choices are crucial for managing pain due to the way they influence gut health. Substances in grains may increase intestinal permeability, allowing undigested food particles, bacteria, and other molecules to enter the bloodstream, which can influence inflammation and chronic pain.

Performance Health®, Bon Vital'®, Biofreeze®, BVspa™, TheraBand®, the Color Pyramid Design™ and Associated Colors™, TheraPearl®, Hygenic®, Pedigenix®, Prossage®, Active Ankle® and Cramer® trademarks are property of Performance Health and/or its subsidiaries and may be registered in the United States and other countries. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. ©2017 Performance Health. All rights reserved.
As part of your exercise routine, you may want to consider doing yoga regularly for lower back pain relief. One study of over 960 people with low back pain found that those who completed a 12-week yoga program experienced greater improvements in back function and reduced pain compared to controls who did not participate. (4) There’s even evidence that mindfulness meditation, often practiced in some form with yoga, can also help people deal with chronic back pain more effectively. (5)
An ancient mind-body practice, meditation has been found to increase pain tolerance and promote management of chronic pain in a number of small studies. In addition, a number of preliminary studies have focused specifically on the use of meditation in the management of low back pain. A 2008 study published in Pain, for example, found that an eight-week meditation program led to an improvement of pain acceptance and physical function in patients with chronic low back pain. The study included 37 older adults, with members meditating an average of 4.3 days a week for an average of 31.6 minutes a day.
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.
Customers attest to the fact that it relieves pain immediately, and say it’s a good staple to have in your medicine cabinet to treat all kinds of aches and pains beyond arthritis as well. They like that it’s not greasy, doesn’t burn and rubs in easily. Some say it works better than pills because you can apply it directly to the areas that are experiencing pain, and they love that it doesn’t have the medicinal smell of some other pain-relief creams.
Never use a topical product if you have open wounds, scratches, or broken skin to reduce risks. You don’t want to cover up these with Band-Aids. Never apply near your eyes or mucous membranes, including your private area. Be sure to follow the directions on the product. Using these products for too long can make you skin become sensitive and you might have an allergic reaction. If you use a patch and it starts to itch, burn, or your skin has a rash or is red, stop using it. You can use the product for a long time before your body becomes sensitive to one or more of the ingredients. If you have a reaction, see your healthcare provider at once. This can also happen with lotions, creams, sticks, roll-ons, and gels. Don’t keep adding more to your skin if the product doesn’t seem to work. More is not better.
ASU is a vegetable extract made from the oil of avocados and soybeans that is said to slow the progression of osteoarthritis. It slows down the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body and thus the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. It has also been found to spur new cartilage cell growth. It is available in capsule form at a recommended 300 mg daily.
The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) medication is still the mainstay of most classically taught clinicians for joint and spine related inflammatory pain, despite their commonly known side effects [Table 1]. NSAID mechanisms are primarily through interaction with proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1a, IL-1b, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α). Increased concentrations of TNF-α are believed to cause the cardinal signs of inflammation to occur.[44]
Achy back? You're not alone: back problems send more Americans to the doctor annually than nearly any other medical problem, according to a 2013 Mayo Clinic study. Whether you're recovering from misjudging a heavy load (we've all been there), dealing with a lingering injury, or have a chronic problem, you don't necessarily need to resort to popping tons of pain relievers. Talk to your doc about these 15 expert-approved natural back pain remedies, and find out if they are safe and appropriate for you.
"Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls ($15; yogatuneup.com). Hands down. They're like a surgeon's scalpel to your fascia. I use them on myself and with clients both pre-and post- workout to improve soft tissue and enhance mobility. They've really helped change my body for the better. Also, they're super easy to travel with." — Adam Rosante, fitness and nutrition coach and best-selling author of The 30 Second Body (BTW, we've got exclusive HIIT moves from his book here.)
NSAIDs don’t just damage your gut lining. They affect your gut bacteria, too. A study of regular users found that different NSAIDs caused different changes in gut bacteria.[5] Ibuprofen and arthritis drug celecoxib (Celebrex), for example, increased pathogenic Enterobacteriaceae, a family of bacteria that includes E. coli, Salmonella, and a number of lesser-known bacteria that contribute to eye, skin, respiratory, and urinary tract infections.[6]
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