How I manage pain naturally, from auto-immune issues to injuries, all with no pain pills!
Being in pain sucks!!! There is no doubt about that. It is distracting, adds to stress, and we want to get rid of it as fast as we can, so we can get back to living life as normal as soon as possible. In this article, I would show you why natural pain management should be your choice of dealing with pain and why the alternative more common pharmaceutical options should be avoided.
Whether it be a chronic issue, niggling injury, or even just a stiff neck or back, we want to reach for the nearest and quickest options. The two most popular choices are codeine and ibuprofen based painkillers and anti-inflammatories.
Although the wonders of modern medicine have made it easy to deal with pain and inflammation in this fast-paced era, short-term relief comes at a cost. The long-term use of these common painkillers can cause havoc on the gut, and will in most cases leave us with more issues than we had before we took them. They can, unfortunately, become addictive, life-altering, and even deadly. Before we delve into the natural pain management, let’s have a look at the common ways most of us deal with managing our pain and why we need to be aware of their effects.
Opioids in Australia.
The highest rates of opioid related deaths according to a study completed in 2016, showed that nearly 4 Australians in every 100,000, had died due the use of opioid related painkillers (codeine, oxycodone, and morphine). This rate has grown each year since. The number of deaths is 300 times more than fatal shark attacks in Australia per year.
Due to concerns about the health and wellness of Australians, painkillers containing codeine like Panadeine and Nurofen Plus, are no longer available without prescription amidst concerns about addiction, serious side effects, and rising codeine-related deaths. Read more about the side effects of codeine.
Unfortunately, other commonly available painkillers like Panadol can also cause serious damage if taken too often. Emerging evidence suggests the impact of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like Nurofen, Ibuprofen, and Voltaren could be more far-reaching than previously thought, including serious bowel injury and autoimmune diseases. Read more about the side effects of Ibuprofen, and Voltaren.
Natural pain management – dealing with pain and inflammation.
Previously I have spoken about the chronic pain I have suffered over the years from sports injuries, and suffering from osteoarthritis. If you are familiar with my blogs, you would have heard me talking about chronic pain and stress, how I learnt that the two were linked, and why I started to listen to my body when it was crying out for attention.
I have avoided the use of conventional painkillers for the better part of 8 years, and I want to share a few ways that I deal with my pain levels in a natural way, and the discipline it takes to make the transition away from the easy but “unsafe” options that so many Australians opt in for.
Step 1: Supporting the Brain and Central Nervous system.
Pain is highly regulated and transported by the central nervous system; the brain is like a supercomputer that relays the information through the nerves to let us know what we are dealing with.
Brain and CNS support.
- Fatty acids for brain support, helping the cell membranes remain fluid and healthy. I use my hemp oil supplement for this. Fish oil is also great for omega three essential fatty acids for the inclusion of EPA and DHA, although studies have shown that ALA and SDA found in hemp oil can be converted into EPA in the body. This makes hemp oil an excellent plant-based source of fatty acids. For those of us that value sustainability it is important to note that plant-based fatty acid sources are the sustainable route vs the fish-based fatty acids.
- Magnesium and Coenzyme Q10. Magnesium is by far one of the most critical minerals that body needs and most of us are deficient in it. Magnesium keeps the central nervous system healthy, and assists all matter functions like heart rhythm, digestion, organ function and muscle contractions. Magnesium is great for the support of chronic pain; it helps to regulate our body’s natural defences in dealing with pain and inflammation through the central nervous system. The CoQ10 is an anti-oxidant that is great for getting the magnesium across the blood-brain barrier and transporting it to where it needs to go. This combo of Mg and Coq10 is also great for cardiovascular health.
How do we become deficient in magnesium?
- Poor diet, processed and refined foods, including the intake of soft drinks and sugar.
- Alcohol, prescription drugs and antibiotics.
- Stress and illness, including surgery and hormonal imbalances.
See a full list here >>
Step 2: Hydration. Drink water, good water, and plenty of it.
A lot of my friends and family think I am a weirdo because I refuse to drink tap water. I will only drink it if I had no other options. The addition of fluoride and other free radical toxins that lurk in the water supply, are not conspired by me but are proven facts.
It isn’t about the fact that the tap water will kill you, or I am to entitled to drink it. It is more about the amount of water that my body is willing to absorb once I drink it. I drive five mins down the road to fill my water into a BPA free 15litre drum, from a reverse osmosis machine that also removes fluoride.
Call me a hippie if you want, but I think there is something primal and naturally deep rooted in our ancestry to go and collect water that you know is going to nourish you. Doing this also helps me monitor the amount of water I am drinking daily, by how empty the drum is. After all, we are mostly made up of the good old H2O.
There is a significant link between pain and dehydration. Our connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments, and collagen fibres house the bulk of our bodies water. Factors such as aging, poor diet, and lifestyle choices can make us lose retained water, and lead to injuries which lead to inflammation. This can lead to increased pain in these areas, as inflammation accumulates where the injury takes place to help repair the damage.
As our body becomes dehydrated, it starts to take the water that is stored in the connective tissues and joints, to keep itself hydrated. This can lead to pain and inflammation in the areas the water has been drawn from.
Step 3: Natural anti-inflammatory foods.
Natural Pain Management – The wonders of Curcumin-
The one main herbal supplement I use is curcumin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound found in turmeric. Curcumin has been shown to reduce inflammation in the joints and is a great natural alternative for arthritis. I take one curcumin tablet before bed, and one mid-morning like clockwork. Regardless of my pain levels. I keep this up consistently because like all natural alternatives, it is no quick fix, and it can take up to 6 weeks to build up in the body and start to show some real benefits. The alternative to curcumin supplement is turmeric powder itself, but make sure you add black pepper to it to significantly increase its absorption.
As I said earlier, if you are fed up with feeling ordinary, discipline is a critical factor in exploring alternative safe options to pain relief and inflammation support. Your body needs time to heal and time to respond to natural treatments, but I guarantee that it will thank you in the long run. Listen to your body, and try and take the step out of the easy options route to help your health and longevity. Remember! Nothing changes if nothing changes.
Article – Tom Dunphy (founder – Hemp Factory)
Research Articles –