There’s a lot of talk about the dangers of taking too many NSAIDs. NSAIDs—nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—include a long list of drugs, but the best known are probably aspirin, ibuprofen, celecoxib, naproxen and oxaprozin, although there are several more. While the link to stomach problems and Reyes syndrome has been quite publicized, there are other conditions that they can exacerbate. Increased risk of heart failure and increased risk of renal failure are two reasons to limit the use of these drugs and the potential for an allergic reaction is the third.
If you’re in pain, you want something to take it away, quickly.
People who suffer from chronic pain face the most risk. Arthritis victims are often facing severe daily pain, as well as those who suffer from other chronic conditions. Anyone who pushes themselves in the gym on a daily basis often knows that sometimes that extra weight lifted or push to do more comes with consequences. If you have float therapy or cryotherapy available in your area, these are two natural ways to relieve pain without ingesting any drug.
Try these herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Ginger, turmeric and Valerian root are three herbal alternatives that can help pain. You can use all three to make tea to help soothe pain. Turmeric comes in capsule form or you can create a paste and apply it to the area affected. Be aware that it turns the area a vivid yellow. One study shows that while NSAIDs do stop inflammation, ginger not only does the same, but also provides antioxidants that breaks up the inflammation already existing and neutralizes the acidity of the fluid in arthritic joints. These natural anti-inflammatories also come with other benefits and have no side effects.
Create your own pain relief cream from chili peppers.
Once when a member of my family was in dire need of some muscle pain relief and the stores were closed, I rumaged through my cupboards to see what I had available. Luckily, it was summer and we had loads of super hot peppers in the garden. I mixed turmeric, some ginger, coconut oil and whole hot peppers—minus stem—in the blender and applied it to the area that hurt. It worked, but it did stain everything a blissful yellow. Since then, I’ve found online recipes that will keep for weeks and are far better. It’s a cheaper alternative to capsaicin cream, which also works for muscle strains and arthritis.
- Soak in Epsom salt. The magnesium in Epsom salt enters the body transdermally—through the skin. It helps reduce muscle spasms, the pain of migraines and fibromyalgia. Eating sunflower and pumpkin seeds also increases magnesium levels.
- White willow bark was the first aspirin. The bark contains a substance called salicin that changes to salicylic acid in the stomach. Basically, that’s what aspirin is. However, synthetically produced, as in aspirin, it can cause stomach upset. The natural alternative—white willow bark doesn’t and still provides relief.
- Stress can cause pain and tension. A cup of chamomile tea can help.
- A massage is also relaxing and can help with deep muscle tension and pain.