Nearly half of all Americans over the age of 12 take prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, sedatives or stimulates, and other similar drugs, according to NPR. Over 19 million people in the U.S abuse pain killers, which can lead to potentially deadly side effects.
According to the National Institutes of Health, one in three people in the United States have experienced pain in the past three months, notes Gaetano Morello, N.D., a board-certified naturopathic doctor who is a contributing author to “A Textbook of Natural Medicine.” “Of these, approximately 50 million suffer from severe or chronic pain. Therefore, it is not surprising that many reach out for drugs that can be damaging or addictive.
The good news is that there are alternative natural treatments that offer help with symptoms of pain and can keep your liver, stomach and brain healthy and are not addictive.”
Here are some examples:
- Try acupuncture. This Eastern treatment is a natural go-to when you are seeking pain relief. It is especially effective in treating low back pain, headache, and arthritis, says Dr. Robert Bonakdar, M.D., director of pain management at Scripps Center for Integrative Health in LaJolla, California.
- Take vitamin D. In a recent review published in the Journal of Endocrinology, Brazilian researchers found that vitamin D may play an important role in pain management. Lack of this crucial vitamin has been linked to poor sleep quality and inflammation. Talk to your doctor about taking supplements.
- Listen to music. According to Dr. Ellen Kamhi, author of “The Natural Medicine Chest,” a study of 40 patients in an Ohio based pain clinic reported a 12 to 21 percent reduction in pain when listening to various sounds of music ranging from jazz to nature melodies.
- Increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. Inflammation is the root cause of many sources of pain from arthritis to fibromyalgia. Avoid highly processed and salty foods and replace them with anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables and cold-water fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Get hypnotized. According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of participants in a meta-analysis study reported “substantial relief from hypnotic techniques. The psychologists reported that hypnosis was effective in treating both chronic and acute pain, especially for those suffering from back, knee, and shoulder pain.
- Pray and meditate. Prayer, the most common form of meditation, has been found to rank equally with prescription drugs to relieve pain — and without the possible, negative side effects of drugs.
- Try herbal remedies. Morello tells Newsmax that one of the most powerful and effective pain killers contains curcumin blended with turmeric essential oil and boswellia extract. “It’s called Curamin and when tested head-to-head with one of the leading pain relievers called Celebrex, outperformed the drug almost three to one.” Herbals like curcumin and boswellia are extremely safe, says Morello and neither one is addictive.
- Exercise. “Exercise is one of the most powerful tools we have for chronic pain,” says Bonakdar. Staying active “allows patients to increase their level of endorphins, dopamine and tissue oxygen, all of which can help reduce pain while improving mood and quality of sleep.”
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