If you are anything like us your medicine cabinet is full of over the counter pain medicines. We love all of the wonderful things that modern medicine has for us and we take advantage of them every day. Both acetaminophen and ibuprofen have some well-known side effects that can be avoided by choosing more natural pain remedies.
Between Summer’s headaches and my old injuries, we go through quite a bit of pain medicine. Sometimes nothing will work except the good name brand stuff. Sometimes we could get by, and perhaps be better off, with a natural alternative. My father was a carpenter and he was really big on using the correct tool for the job.
I want to make clear that this post is not making any medical claims or giving advice. Please talk to a medical professional and as always follow the Most Important Health Advice.
Dangers of Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen
If I’m going to suggest some natural alternatives I should first explain why. Natural isn’t always better
Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug(NSAID) used to reduce pain, swelling, fever, and inflammation. The primary concerns with Ibuprofen are that it can damage the stomach lining and that it increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots [source].
Acetaminophen is a pain and fever reliever that works by blocking pain receptors in the nervous system. Unlike Ibuprofen acetaminophen will not reduce inflammation but is generally easier on the system. The main concern with acetaminophen is that the safe dosage is lower and if you take multiple medicines that contain it is is relatively simple to overdose. Overdoses with acetaminophen will cause liver damage and may result in death.
Both of these drugs are generally well tolerated and are considered safe when taken in the recommended doses. However, there are side effects and some people are unable to take them at all. Remember that if your doctor has prescribed these drugs they have considered your health and considered them safe.
Natural Pain Remedies We Love: Curcumin and Ginger
Curcumin is the primary compound in Turmeric and has powerful anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. It has also been studied for relief of arthritis pain and swelling with quite a bit of success. Curcumin is not easily absorbed by the body so make sure you pick a supplement that contains black pepper extract for better absorption.
Below is the brand I most recommend but there are many options.
Ginger is another natural pain reliever much like curcumin. Ginger is often used to relieve upset stomach, nausea, and motion sickness. It is also effective in reducing pain and swelling and reducing swelling. What is great for us is that ginger has been shown to help with headaches and migraines. Just like curcumin, there are many options online for ginger but we recommend the one below. As always though, please shop around.
Curcumin and ginger are both natural pain and swelling relievers but they work in different ways. This means that they can be safely and effectively used together. They can also both be eaten as part of your regular diet. We always try and find ways to work them into our diet both because of their benefits but also because they are delicious.
Natural Pain Remedies I Use For Muscle Pain
Whenever my muscles hurt, which is pretty common, I always go first for my heating pad and ice pack. Most of the time alternating between the two for 20 to 40 minutes will do the trick. It’s best if I can avoid taking anything but that isn’t always possible.
If that doesn’t work and I have time my next option is a round of light yoga. If you go and search on YouTube you can find a yoga program for almost anything. Below is a great one for headaches.
When I need more I have been using Tiger Balm since high school. It’s made with camphor, menthol, and some natural oils and it is amazing at soothing sore muscles. The best thing is the price. For less than $9.00 you can get enough to last a very long time.
Thanks to Cynthia Thurlow for reminding me of this refreshing drink on Twitter. Golden milk is easy to make and contains both turmeric and ginger so it has a lot of anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. I highly recommend this easy, two minute golden milk recipe from Nicole at Fitful Focus.
What Do You Use?
Thanks for reading. I really appreciate it. I would love to hear what natural pain remedies or treatments you use. There are a lot of great natural ways to reduce pain other than the ways mentioned here. If you have tried anything from this post it would be pretty great to get your feedback.