Many people suffer from physical pain on a daily basis. In fact it is stated that nearly half of all adults in the UK are affected by some kind of pain. Growing numbers of people are therefore relying on over-the-counter and prescription drugs but many of these drugs can cause more harm than good. They may relieve the original pain experienced but some, like ibruprofen, can cause gastric problems, while others can cause nausea and drowsiness. These drugs are very powerful and can cause problems in the liver which has to process and break-down these chemical concoctions. Another issue with prescription drugs of course is that they only deal with the symptoms rather than addressing the root cause of the pain. Drugs dampen pain signals to the brain, which can help as an initial first aid to keep you going, but ultimately you may cause more damage to a joint or other part of the body by ignoring what is actually going on and why.
Various holistic approaches are available which can support the body through the healing process and which may even be more effective. Natural pain relief is also free from any harmful side-effects experienced with prescription drugs. Herbal remedies, correct nutrition and complementary therapies can all provide effective pain relief. Mindfulness and visualisation have also shown to be effective and meditation is now offered in NHS pain relief clinics.
If you are one of the many people in need of pain relief, this blog contains some natural methods which can be used to treat common complaints.
Reiki and Reflexology are particularly good for easing pain, unblocking energy channels and helping the body to heal itself. I have a couple of clients who come to me on a monthly basis for Reiki to ease diabetic leg pain and many more clients who use Reiki to ease back pain and tension in the neck and shoulders. Lower back pain can be a result of unresolved painful emotions stored in the rear of the sacral chakra. Reiki can help release these emotions which act as an energy block and prevent your natural life force energy flowing as it should. This then relieves the physical discomfort caused by the emotional block. Clients usually notice an improvement over the next few days. Relief lasts longer the more treatments the client has.
Reflexology works on specific reflex points on the foot to ease pain, illness or discomfort in the physical body. The therapist can massage the reflex points relating to the painful body part, such as the digestive system, shoulders, neck, knees or spine. You can also ask your Reflexologist to show you the reflex points so that you can massage them yourself at home.
An Indian Head Massage is particularly effective for easing neck and shoulder pain and general back pain can be eased with a Back Massage. Your therapist can work on areas of knotty muscle fibres and tension to help tight muscles relax back into their proper place.
Other therapies that can ease pain include acupuncture, acupressure, cupping and gentle yoga.
Toxins accumulate in joints and are usually a build-up of lactic acid. An anti-inflammatory diet is one of the most effective ways of tackling pain from the inside. This diet excludes processed foods, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
Rheumatoid Arthritis often afflicts the small joints in the hands and feet as well as knees, elbows and larger joints. It is characterised by pain and swelling (inflammation), often with fluid build-up in the ankles or behind the knees. The best anti-inflammatories to use to alleviate pain are curcumin (a component of turmeric) and nettle leaf. Osteo-arthritis is a degenerative joint disease which affects the knees, hips, back and small joints in the fingers.
The best healing foods for joint inflammation are kiwis, kale, onion, turmeric, chaga mushroom (as a powder), coriander, lemon, cucumber and apple cider vinegar. Salmon is high in protein to build healthy connective tissue and is also high in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. Ginger contains zingibain which suppresses substances that trigger pain and cause tissues to swell. You may also like to consider cutting back on dairy as dairy clogs up the liver which prevents toxins leaving the body efficiently.
These are defined as recurring headaches that cause pulsing or throbbing, typically focused on one side of the head. They are often accompanied by extreme sensitivity to light, sound and/or smell, blurred vision, flashes of light, nausea, light-headedness, even difficulty speaking. Triggers are complex and are usually a combination of stress, food intolerance, impeded cervical nerves from poor posture, sinus infection, dehydration, hormonal/menstrual cycle imbalances, lack of sleep, heavy metal or other environmental triggers.
To tackle migraines it is advisable to reduce potential triggers such as dairy, eggs, gluten, meat, fermented foods, additives like MSG and aspartame, alcohol and chocolate.
The best foods to eat to combat migraines are celery juice, coriander, papaya, chilli peppers, garlic, ginger, kale, cinnamon and apples.
Shingles and Diabetic Neuropathy
To combat pain of this nature it is advisable to boost the immune system by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep. Beneficial foods are wild blueberries, coconut, papaya, red skinned apples, pears, artichokes, bananas, sweet potatoes, spinach, asparagus, lettuce, green beans and avocadoes.
For general pain relief the following two products are recommended by the very knowledgeable staff at Little London Herbal Stores in Nottingham:-
White willow bark – Good for back pain, headaches, knee and other joint pain. This product is the natural source of aspirin so is not suitable for those on blood thinning medication. Available in tincture, extract or supplement form.
Cannabis oil – Cannabidiol or CBD for short is a nutrient found in the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, which is now being used medicinally for the treatment of pain and many illnesses. Cannabidiol binds to certain receptors on our cells in the central nervous system to reduce the pain response in the physical body. Derived from only the legal forms of the cannabis/hemp plant, this product (CBD Cannabis Oil) is non-psychoactive so you will not be high or stoned. Cannabis oil has proved to be particularly effective in treating fibromyalgia pain. You put a few drops under your tongue where it will be absorbed into the body and blood stream via the mucous membranes. Little London Herbal Stores sell both the cannabis oil and a cannabis vape.
Feverfew tincture is particularly good for treating migraines and headaches. You can take up to 15 drops in a small amount of water up to 3 times a day. Magnesium is an excellent muscle relaxant which reduces tension in and around the trigeminal nerves in the neck and head.
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties and is good for calming the gut but it can also be used to treat headaches and migraines. The scent of aloe vera acts as a muscle relaxant and eases tension. Rub a small amount into your neck to ease tension here. Tiger Balm, a Chinese ointment, was traditionally used to ease sore, aching muscles. It contains natural painkillers menthol and camphor oil. Try rubbing a little Tiger Balm red ointment on forehead and temples in a circular motion to ease headaches.
Green tea extract controls inflammation and helps repair bone and cartilage by blocking inflammatory proteins that cause swelling. In a trial of osteoarthritis sufferers in Iran, the patients taking green tea extract reported more movement in their joints after a month. Rosehip capsules have excellent anti-inflammatory properties and are recommended by the Primary Care Rheumatology Society for treating osteoarthritis. Glucosamine helps with the repair of cartilage that cushions the joints so can help reduce the pain, stiffness and swelling of arthritis.
Pine Bark or Pycnogenol had been found to reduce abdominal discomfort by 80% and cramping by 70%.
Other herbs with pain relief properties:-
Arnica (for bruises, post surgery and post labour), bromelain (reduces inflammation and eases arthritis); cayenne and red chilli pepper (eases nerve pain and soothes aching muscles and joints), chamomile (anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic), clove oil (aching teeth and gums), curcumin (found in turmeric, eases arthritis pain).
- Reiki healing, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage and Back Massage are available with Helen Shortland at 15 Wheeler Gate, Nottingham.
- All herbal remedies mentioned in this article are available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Trinity Walk, Nottingham.
Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Healer/Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. She is currently studying Raw Food Nutrition to find out more about the healing power of natural food. Helen offers several healing treatments such as Reiki, Angelic Reiki, Faery Reiki, Angel Therapy, Fairy Blessing Guided Journey and Crystal Chakra Balancing; holistic therapies including Reflexology, Indian Head Massage, Back Massage, Hopi Ear Candles & Facials; as well as Usui Reiki and Faery Reiki training courses. She has been on the spiritual path for 15 years and has extensive knowledge of healing and the healing journey. For further information about her Reiki courses, therapies and workshops, please visit her website http://helenshortland.com or visit and ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics & Enchantment.