Aches, pains, migraines, sore muscles, and so on. Just about everyone experiences pain sometimes. And what’s the most common way to deal with it? Drugs. Most people don’t think twice about curbing pain with pills, be they over-the-counter or prescription.
While painkillers may not seem like a big deal, they can, over time, erode health in a variety of insidious ways. For example, ibuprofen can trigger ulcers, gut distress, and raise blood pressure. Aspirin can, even at low doses, cause intestinal bleeding — and we all know that opioid painkillers are highly addictive and, increasingly, lethal.
My take: People who think nothing of frequently popping painkillers are playing with fire. Instead, I recommend taking a healthier, more holistic approach to pain management. Here are a few of my favorite pain remedies — no stomach problems, no brain fog, less pain, and better health.
Find Healing Hands
You know what can also kill pain without drugs? People — namely practitioners who help heal hurting bodies with hands-on techniques. Regular acupuncture and massage treatments are two relaxing and healthy ways to prevent pain and to treat it during flare-ups. With acupuncture, slim needles strategically placed along key energy meridians encourage better circulation of blood and nutrients throughout the body to relieve pain and inflammation. Massage not only relaxes and rejuvenates, but encourages the release of endorphins — the body’s naturally occurring painkillers — into the bloodstream. (For more on killing pain with acupuncture, check out our recent post on how acupuncture works.)
Tap the Pain Away
Tapping — with your hands, not your feet — is a free, easy-to-do, acupressure-based DIY treatment. It only takes a few minutes and can be done anywhere, anytime. By tapping gently on the energy meridians commonly used in acupuncture therapies, you can get almost immediate relief from physical as well as emotional pain, which are often connected, especially in the case of chronic pain. To get tapping (which is also referred to as EFM, or emotional freedom technique), check out these two tutorials.
Calm the Mind — and Body
In between hands-on treatments and tapping, try meditation to calm the mind and the body while delivering powerful pain-relieving chemicals to the brain. Another fantastic pain-fighter? A few weekly sessions in an infrared sauna can lead to profound improvements in chronic pain.
Supplement Your Body’s Pain-Suppressing Power
Add a few supplements to your pain-fighting arsenal in order to tame inflammation and support overall health. With reinforcements like a daily regimen of omega 3s, vitamin D, probiotics, astaxanthin, and magnesium, you’ll cover much of the pain-prevention waterfront — and feel good to boot (without the pharmaceutical side effects).
Push Pain Off Your Plate
Since pain and inflammation tend to go hand in hand, you can help ease pain by laying off inflammatory foods. Topping the list of pain ‘flamers: sugar, gluten, refined flours, processed foods, and sugary beverages. When it comes to alcohol, the occasional glass of (preferably organic) wine at dinner shouldn’t cause instant agony, but the less alcohol you drink, the better, particularly if you take any OTC drugs, are on medications, or have chronic pain, which can be made worse with alcohol withdrawal.
Eat More Pain-Tamers
Not surprisingly, fresh, whole foods from organic sources or farmer’s markets will have more of the pain-taming nutrients and compounds in ‘em than pain-inflaming, processed Frankenfoods. When pain is a frequent problem, what you put on your plate becomes even more important. Cooling the flames of inflammation with help from sulfur-rich veggies is key. Add flavorful garlic, onions, scallions and chives to dishes, as well as cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower for an even bigger anti-inflammatory benefit.
Hit the Spice Rack
Yet another tasty way to tame pain. You’ll find any number of anti-inflammatory ingredients that can soothe, help reduce swelling, and prevent pain from escalating. Among my favorite spices with medicinal benefits that are easy to incorporate at mealtime:
- Freshly ground black pepper adds a punch of flavor and is also a terrific healing-helper because of its anti-inflammatory power.
- Ginger adds a tasty kick to meals and can help kick migraines out (almost as effectively as the pricey migraine meds that can trigger dizziness and indigestion).
- Turmeric’s main compound curcumin has been shown to be as effective as ibuprofen for relieving pain — minus the gut damage OTCs can bring.
- Peppermint activates anti-pain colonic pathways according to a 2011 study, making it helpful for those with IBS. It also interferes with the release of prostaglandins, key contributors to menstrual pain.
Not a mealtime spicer? Then consider black pepper, ginger, turmeric and/or peppermint in supplement form, but be sure to check first with your doc to rule out any contraindications with prescription drugs you are taking or to look into any other concerns or conditions you may have.
For those with chronic or intermittent pain, one more way to diffuse it is with exercise. If you’re really having a tough time of it, a strenuous gym routine may not be feasible, but some type of movement is. Among the easiest places to start is with tai chi, the super-low-impact, slo-mo exercise that gently stretches and strengthens muscles with meditative moves and controlled breathing. Numerous studies have shown that tai chi, despite its relaxed pace, is highly effective for providing pain relief and improving mood (a big plus when pain is an issue). More of a yoginista? Not a problem. Yoga is another great way to help keep chronic pain at bay.
11 pounds in 22 days?
Is it REALLY possible to lose 11 lbs. of fat in 22 days? Actually yes… BUT only when you’re a level 4 fat burner. Unfortunately, most people are stuck as level 1 fat burners. So, how do you become a level 4 fat burner to lose up to 11 lbs. in 22 days? Simply eat these foods daily:
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
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Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
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To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
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5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.