Alternatives for Alleviating Pain
By Dr. H. Borrero
September 23, 2014
Several years ago, someone shared with me that they were having chronic pain in both hands and arms and that they had gone to their primary physician. After a conduction test was performed, they were diagnosed with severe carpal tunnel syndrome. The physician recommended surgery for both hands and also informed the patient that without the surgery, the condition would worsen.
The prognosis seemed bleak for this person with very few options.
I made some observations and after spending time with the individual suggested that they consider acupuncture. I explained that recent studies have found that people who received acupuncture had a reduction in pain in comparison to those patients who didn’t receive it. Basically the results translate to about 30% less pain compared to people taking pain medications and other standard treatments for pain.
After several sessions of the acupuncture, they observed some improvement from the pain. I then suggested a change in their current diet. This was a very radical change for them. I suggested that remove gluten from their diet and other types of processed foods and incorporate Turmeric which contains Curcumin which has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory activity. I also suggested that they eat capsaicin and rub it on the areas. This spice can be found in hot peppers such as Thai peppers or Habaneros. Studies have shown that it can help in alleviating pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
After nearly 6 months, the person called me and exclaimed that they have been pain free and the quality of life has improved.
The majority of people will immediately for the Acetaminophen for pain relief. Acetaminophen can be toxic to your liver, even at recommended doses, when taken daily for just a couple of weeks. Chronic pain is perhaps one of the most common ailments there is. And while many want a quick relief in a pill, I believe that there are alternatives which can aid in the treatment of most conditions involving pain or inflammation without any of the hazards you would get from Acetaminophen.
Here are a few of my top picks for aiding with pain conditions:
- Astaxanthin is one of the most effective and recognized oil-soluble antioxidants known. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties and works far more effectively than many NSAIDs. It is suggested that a higher doses is typically required and one may need at minimum 8 mg or more per day to achieve this benefit.
- Ginger is another herb which acts as a potent anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice. I also suggest ginger to individuals who are prone to motion sickness to relieve the nausea symptoms
- Curcumin which is a spice compound identified in the spice turmeric. In a recent study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility. The studies also show curcumin to have a potent anti-inflammatory activity.
- Boswellia is also known as boswellin or Indian frankincense. The herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been used for thousands of years.
- Cetyl- Myristoleate a type of oil which can be found in fish and dairy butter, and helps as a “joint lubricant” and an anti-inflammatory. This also helps to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when you type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards. I suggest a topical preparation for this.
- Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils contain the fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which has shown to be useful for treating arthritic pain.
- Arnica Montana is another herb which effectively removes the stress and relieves the pain naturally from the area in addition to promoting immediate healing.
- Cayenne Cream which is one of my favorites can be found in hot peppers such as Thai Chile or Habanero peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain
- Ice compress (in an ice bag) yes something as simple as ice can help relieve headaches and reduce swelling.
I don’t always recommend using acetaminophen-containing drugs for minor aches and pains, given their health risks, but there are certain situations when it may be required to temporarily suppress severe pain, such as traumatic injuries or post-surgical pain.
Remember that it is the personal choices you make every day that determine your state of health, and they have a greater far reaching impact than you might think. Let’s try to stay healthy, avoid process foods and when in doubt about a medical condition, always seek the advice of your medical health care provider.