In this modern age of technology, science and medicine has advanced in leaps and bounds. People have higher life expectancy and diseases that once would have surely killed a person can be treated. Unfortunately, one of the negative side effects of this is that we have become so custom to popping pills and medication that we seek quick fixes even with simple ailments like a headache.
But did you stop to think that for thousands of years, people managed to live without all the tablets and syrups that we have available to us. They had tried and tested pain relief techniques that were all natural, non-invasive, proven to work, and have little to no side effects!
What’s more is that when you try to achieve wellness through natural methods, you become more in tune with your body and its needs. So the next time you feel exceptionally tired or feel an ache, why not try some of the methods of our ancestors before running to your nearest pharmacy. Here are 7 natural pain relief techniques that really work:
Dating back some 2000 years, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of holistic healing that is now practiced all around the world. Thin needles are inserted into different parts of the body in varying depths in order to relieve pain. The Chinese believe it works by balancing your “chi”. Modern medical professionals speculate that it works by stimulating nerves, muscles, and connective tissue.
The most important thing is to pick an acupuncture specialist with a lot of experience. You should also make sure that they use new needles with every patient, as is required by the law. Acupuncture doesn’t usually have any side effects, but some people have reported feeling slightly sore or having light bruises at certain insertion points. However, if you are pregnant or have bleeding disorders, acupuncture is definitely not for you!
2. Epsom Salt
An Epsom salt bath can be one of the best ways to relieve pain that stems from arthritis, bumps, bruises, skin abrasions, or muscle strains. It’s not all pseudoscience either, as there is a medical explanation for why it works.
Epsom salt breaks down into magnesium and sulfate when dissolved, and each of these aid in pain relief. Magnesium helps normalize muscle contractions and even discharge symptoms of depression since it plays a major role in regulating the way in which pain signals are passed on from the brain to the rest of your body.
Apart from this, the mental benefits of an Epsom salt bath – or any bath – cannot be ignored either. Who doesn’t love to have a nice, long soak in warm water? It gives you some time for calmness and meditation, which can be incredibly healing.
Tensed muscles can cause all sorts of pains and aches all over the body, even in places that seem unrelated to the original area of discomfort. Injuries may also cause chronic inflammation around the affected area and stiff joints, which then hinders blood flow, resulting in pain.
A massage is one of the best ways to loosen stiffness in muscles and joints, as well as stimulate blood flow. This is why even doctors recommend getting massages along with prescribed medication. Regular massages also have the added benefit of improving your mental well being. People with conditions like anxiety and depression have reported an improvement of their mood afterward. Regular massages have even helped reduce the frequency of headaches in sufferers of migraines.
It’s important to choose a massage therapist that you’re comfortable with, and always let them know if the pressure is too much for you. A massage is supposed to feel good – not hurt you even more!
You might find this sweet/spicy herb in your Indian takeout, or even advertised as the active ingredient in some toothpaste. The latter of those is because of the many medical properties that cloves are known for, including pain relief. In fact, many over-the-counter pain medications sold for pain relief contain an ingredient called eugenol, which is the active compound in cloves.
Clove oil is also pretty handy when it comes to fighting against headaches, toothaches, muscle pain, inflammation, etc. It can even be taken internally and is sold in powdered form as well! However, it’s important to note that overuse of clove oil can cause some skin damage, and it’s best avoided if you already take blood thinners. However, clove is an ideal pain reliever for common aches like those that we’ve mentioned above.
5. Comfrey Extract
Comfrey root cream is another natural remedy that can help in pain relief. In fact, scientific research has also confirmed that it works. A recent study found that almost 95% of the participants who had back pain reported feeling significantly better when they’d applied comfrey root cream. Similar studies on people with arthritis and ankle sprains also came up consistent results.
Scientists say that the success of comfrey as a method of pain relief is because of the allantoin and rosmarinic acid it contains. Researchers have confirmed that allantoin helps speed up the growth of new skin cells, while rosmarinic acid reduces inflammation and soothes pain.
Comfrey root cream/extract is strictly only to be used tropically. Although it hasn’t been scientifically confirmed, it is said to act as a carcinogen when ingested.
6. Heat and Ice
Applying heat and cool to injured areas to reduce pain and inflammation is a technique that dates back ages and is still used widely. This because this is one technique that is almost always guaranteed to work! The quicker you start the process, the better the result will be, but you also need to be aware of the proper order to follow.
First, you’ll apply ice to the site of your injury for about 30 minutes, making sure to place a towel or cloth between the ice and your skin to prevent ice burn. The coldness will reduce the swelling and numb pain. After removing the ice, you should let your skin return to normal temperatures before applying a heat pad. This will relax any tightened muscles around the injured area and relieve soreness/stiffness.
7. Willow Bark
If you find that none of the techniques we discussed earlier work for you, you could try out some willow bark supplements. This natural remedy provides very similar results to aspirin, since its main compound, salicin, is closely related to acetylsalicylic acid or aspirin. Before the invention of aspirin, people would chew on willow bark to get relief from common ailments like fevers, pain, and inflammation. Today, you can also find dried willow bark, which you can use to make a soothing tea, in capsule form or willow bark liquid syrups.
Being similar to aspirin, willow bark also presents many of the same side effects even though it is natural. Overuse may lead to bleeding disorders, slower kidney function, or digestive issues. People who already take warfarin or anticoagulant medication should also avoid it. Children should not be given willow bark as it is hard to determine the right dose for them.