Natural Alternatives to OTC Pain Relievers

Senior womain with back pain from cleaningIt doesn’t seem to matter what time of year it is, the risk for muscle and joint pain are always present. In the spring many of us will develop muscle cramps while gardening or spring cleaning. Getting the yard ready for outdoor holiday celebrations or cookouts may take its toll on our backs during the summer. Fall brings us to outdoor sports that may cause minor injuries and pain. And shoveling heavy snow in the winter will remind us when we over exert ourselves. Plus, there are many of us who suffer from arthritis, back problems, or other chronic pain. Quite a few people reach for that bottle of Tylenol or Advil when the pain becomes too much. While acetaminophen and ibuprofen have their place, for everyday aches and pains there are other options that don’t put our overall health at risk.

Risks of Non-prescription Pain Medicine

Over the counter (OTC) pain relievers come in two forms; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and acetaminophen. Advil, Aleve, aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen are examples of NSAIDS while acetaminophen is found in Tylenol. Each form comes with its own set of risks. And keep in mind, other medications you may be taking, whether prescription or OTC, may contain NSAIDs or acetaminophen. Taking additional pain relievers adds to the risk.

NSAID risks include:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Worsening of existing high blood pressure
  • Kidney damage

Acetaminophen risks include:

  • Liver damage
  • Skin diseases

Drug-free Pain Relief

Whether our pain is due to a chronic condition or just overdoing it, there are many ways to reduce or eliminate pain naturally. To help reduce chronic pain, we need to consider our diet. Many foods cause inflammation. We need to steer away from refined sugar, fried food, and even dairy. Instead, we should concentrate on eating nutrient-dense whole foods such as green vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, fish, chicken, turkey, and other lean meats.

Fresh turmeric used for pain relief

Herbal extracts, vitamins, minerals, and creams are also a natural way to combat pain. There has been a great deal of research on these supplements and many are very promising. Some of the most widely recognized ones for pain relief include:

  • Turmeric
  • Green tea
  • Ginger
  • Rosemary
  • Cat’s claw
  • Willow bark
  • Capsaicin
  • Glucosamine sulfate
  • SAMe
  • Magnesium

Woman receiving acupunctureOther alternative ways to help manage pain include acupuncture, acupressure, and massage. These hands-on therapies have been shown to help block pain, relax sore muscles, reduce stress, and improve circulation. They can be used for either ongoing pain or a sudden onset and many people find these methods very beneficial.

Many people use a combination of diet, supplements, and hands-on therapies to manage their pain. If needed, NSAIDs or acetaminophen can typically be added to the supplements if the pain persists. Please check with your doctor before doing so. It is better to be safe than sorry.

A few of our favorite natural pain remedies at DR Vitamin Solutions include pharMAX relief Transdermal Pain Relief Cream, Metagenics MitoVive Powder, and Life Extension Tart Cherry Extract Capsules. Each of these contains herbal extracts, vitamins, minerals, or oils that support both chronic and sudden pain. If you have any questions concerning the use of these or any other product we offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us or leave a reply below.

By Greg Benic, DR Vitamin Solutions