Pain is a part of life. At one point or another we’ve all tweaked a muscle, hit the gym too hard (Hello New Year’s Resolution!!), or bruised our extremities due to clumsiness.
Ok maybe that last one is just me.
While there are dozens of pharmaceuticals marketed to alleviate aches and pains, they come with some unpleasant side effects ranging from upset stomach to liver damage depending on the medication, the dose, and the duration of use. Pain medication is a huge money maker for drug companies raking in over $635 billion a year. However, your local health food store and even your kitchen cabinet can help you avoid popping a pill the next time you have a minor head ache or muscle pain. They are cost-effective, side-effect free, safe for the whole family, and most importantly, they really do work.
Here are some of my favorite natural pain relief remedies:
Magnesium: Found in dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, magnesium is a wonderful mineral that aids in muscle relaxation and reduces vasoconstriction (constriction of the blood vessels that raises blood pressure and causes headaches). At the onset of pain, I take a magnesium supplement to help relax the muscles and increase blood flow. Natural Calm is a great one.
Lemon Balm: A member of the mint family, lemon balm is a very calming and soothing herb. It helps with vasodilation to ease tension, it’s a powerful antispasmodic that calms the nerves, and it has mild sedative properties. As a bonus, it’s soothing to the digestive system, it’s highly antiviral, and it elevates the mood. I take this Lemon Balm Tincture twice a day between meals if I am experiencing pain, headache, or illness.
Arnica Muscle Rub: There are hundreds of muscles rubs on the market. I always look for blends that are all natural and have a blend of pain relieving ingredients. The key ingredient for me is Arnica, which is well-known to reduce swelling and bruising while relieving pain and joint stiffness. This Muscle Oil from Clover Tree Apothecary contains a blend of arnica and pain relieving essential oils in a moisturizing oil base. It can be used in the bath or rubbed directly onto the sore muscles. It also comes in a more concentrated balm form.
Essential Oils: There are dozens of essential oils that help ease pain, muscle tension, and headaches. My favorite combination is peppermint and frankincense (which helps drive it deeper into the muscles). I also LOVE the Muscle Relief Blend from Eden’s Garden (which I am currently all out of). Make sure to dilute your essential oils before applying the to the skin.
Spiced Pain Relief Tea: When pain hits, we need to treat it internally as well as externally. I make a blend of different spices and keep it in my cabinet for when the need arises. Each of these spices reduce inflammation, ease pain, promote blood flow, and flood the body with healing minerals. Adding a squeeze of lemon increases the tea’s anti-inflammatory benefits with the powerhouse antioxidant vitamin C.
Spiced Pain Relief Tea Blend:
- 1 TBS ground cinnamon
- 1 TBS ground ginger
- 1 TBS ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
To serve: Add 3/4 tsp of the blend to 1 cup of hot water and let steep for 5 minutes. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon, stir well, and sweeten as desired. Drink 2-3 times a day while experiencing pain. Keep the leftover mix in a sealed glass jar.
Other Healing Tips:
Hydration: Keeping your body well hydrated helps flush out lactic acid buildup in sore muscles and help relieve headaches that are due to dehydration.
Baths: If you’re experiencing muscle aches or bruising, hot baths are fantastic way to help ease the pain. Add some epsom salts and lavender oil for even greater benefits.
Hot/Ice Packs: Alternating ice and heat is a proven way to reduce swelling and release tension. Try alternating every 20 minutes for an hour a couple of times a day.
TENS: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is used to disrupt the pain signals in specific muscle groups to help prevent the brain from recognizing pain. A TENS device will help stimulate your body to produce higher levels of endorphins, which are your own natural painkillers. My TENS Unit from Omron is a lifesaver when my back gets sore.
Self-Massage: Foam rolling or trigger point therapy with lacrosse balls can help loosen tight muscles and relieve pain. I am a huge fan of this inexpensive foam roller and these lacrosse balls for pinpointing knots!
Stretching: Stretching sore muscle groups can help bring blood flow and promote healing. Neck stretches are wonderful for relieving tension headaches as well.
Massage: A massage from a skilled therapist or a loving partner or friend can help bring welcome relief when you’re in pain.
Chiropractic Care: If you experience frequent pain or are dealing with an injury, seeing a qualified Chiropractor can do wonders for your healing and pain levels.
Sleep: Sleep is the best way to help rejuvenate our bodies and allow our self-healing mechanisms time to do their thing. When you’re in pain, make it a point to hit the sack earlier.
How do you deal with pain? Share in the comments below.
**I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV! Please read my disclaimer and consult your doctor before trying any new pain relief methods, natural or otherwise.
Full disclosure: This blog post contains some affiliate links. Meaning, basically, if you make a purchase from any of these links it doesn’t cost you anything extra, but I may make a little money. So thank you in advance for supporting my family 🙂