Why is it important to find natural pain relievers that work for you? The truth is that chronic pain is a very common problem. Whether it’s chronic back pain from poor posture, chronic neck pain from a whiplash injury that resulted from a car accident, or pain from a health condition such as arthritis – pain management is key.
Healthy and safe ways of coping with pain include natural pain relievers, because prescription pain medication can be dangerous. Not only do prescription painkillers come with a slew of unwanted side effects, but they can also be addictive or habit-forming.
Fortunately, there are natural pain relievers that work and are safe to use.
Experimenting with Natural Pain Relievers
When it comes to pain relief, you’ll of course need a pain management program. This often includes a mix of pain relievers and treatment such as massage therapy or acupuncture.
When it comes to natural pain relievers, you may need to try a few out before you find one that works to reduce your pain. It’s trial and error, experimentation, and logging how each works for you in a journal is important.
Note that if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should speak to your doctor before you try any of these natural remedies.
Below are 5 natural pain relievers that might work for you:
1. Camphor Oil
Camphor oil is an organic compound known as a terpene. It’s most commonly found in various forms of lotions, ointments, and creams. This unique oil is taken from the wood of camphor trees, and processed through steam distillation.
For years, camphor oil has been shown to have numerous benefits when it comes to relieving pain, itching, and irritation. It can also help relieve pain caused by inflammation.
Camphor is one of the most versatile essential oils for pain relief.
Lotions containing camphor can significantly reduce pain, itchiness, and irritation as well as improving the appearance of skin. The antibacterial and antifungal properties in camphor make it excellent for healing infections.
Camphor is an ingredient in a number of topical analgesics because of its powerful ability to stimulate circulation, reduce pain signals in the nerves, and reduce inflammation. Studies show that this substance can relieve lower back pain, as well as various other joint and muscle pains. Camphor oil can simultaneously numb and cool nerve endings, then heat the painful area to boost circulation.
Camphor oil can help to treat headaches, including migraines, by supressing pain-signalling pathways and neurogenic inflammation. In aromatherapy, it also relieves respiratory congestion thanks to antitussive properties which ease coughs and chest-based discomfort.
Camphor oil is one of the natural pain relievers that can even help reduce pain from muscle cramps. As a muscle rub, camphor products may be able to reduce spasms, stiffness, and muscle cramps. Studies have shown the substance has powerful relaxant and antispasmodic capabilities.
Menthol is one of the most popular ingredients used as natural pain relievers. Menthol is a natural chemical found in mint plants such as peppermint. It’s a substance that is known to have cooling properties, which is one of the reasons it helps with pain.
Menthol creates a cooling sensation on the skin. Menthol’s cooling sensation is due to this organic compound’s ability to trigger the cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the skin.
When a natural pain relief cream contains menthol, you’ll likely notice that the cooling sensation can both numb the sensation of pain, and distract you from the pain. The numbing effect can also reduce the pain signals sent to your brain.
Menthol is also a counterirritant, as menthol works by causing the skin to cool down briefly, before warming up again, which can improve blood flow. This means that menthol can help prompt better blood flow to the area where it was applied, which promotes healing.
Menthol is known to stimulate thermosensitive neurons, which is associated with an analgesic effect. This sports injury research study from 2012 found that menthol-based topical pain relievers applied to a painful area was more effective at relieving pain than applying ice to the area. The study revealed that thermosensitive neurons which are stimulated by moderate cooling from the application of menthol can have an inhibitory effect on the nociceptive afferent neurons and on the dorsal-horn neurons, which conduct pain impulses to the thalamus. In other words, menthol is backed by scientific research as an ingredient that can help block pain signals being sent to the brain.
The thalamus is an important part of the brain that mediates different components and sensations of pain. Muscle soreness, for example, can be soothed with menthol due to its ability to help inhibit pain signals from reaching the brain.
3. Emu Oil
Made from the fat of an Emu (an Australian bird), Emu oil is rich in antioxidants, as well as oleic acid, palmitic acid, and linoleic acids, all valuable for treating various skin disorders, and reducing inflammation.
For centuries, aboriginal people used emu oil to help with healing wounds and treating skin conditions including psoriasis and rosacea. Some people even eat Emu oil, because it’s composed of almost 70% polyunsaturated fats – the heart healthy fat useful for lowering cholesterol and treating arthritis.
Emu oil can be extremely soothing for those with muscle and joint pain. It’s one of the natural pain relievers commonly used by people with pain from fibromyalgia and arthritis.
The substances in Emu oil all contribute to enhanced tissue repair and pain management. For instance, Vitamin E is a strong healing agent and antioxidant, while Omega 3 linoleic acid is well known for easing joint pain and helping with skin maintenance.
Proponents of Emu oil believe its anti-inflammatory effects come from the omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids which inhibit the COX enzyme similar to NSAIDs.
There’s even some evidence that Emu oil may be able to treat certain digestive conditions. One study found rats given emu oil had less intestinal inflammation and fewer treatment-related ulcers than those without the oil. If your pain is associated with digestive issues or obesity, emu oil could be ideal for you.
4. CBD Oil
CBD oil is now recognized as a scientifically-proven way to naturally reduce pain and deliver a host of other health benefits. The most effective form of CBD oil for pain is full spectrum CBD oil, because it uses the whole cannabis plant and multiple cannabis plant extracts including terpenes, for improved pain relief.
Not to be confused with THC, it’s important to note that CBD has no psychoactive effects and it will not get you ‘high’ or ‘stoned’ at all. CBD is mostly used for pain management, sleep, and stress. CBD is one of the most effective natural pain relievers available today, and it’s completely safe to use with no negative side effects.
Countless studies have revealed the benefits of CBD oil for pain relief. CBD oil interacts with the Endocannabinoid receptors in your immune system and brain, creating anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. CBD oil can reduce many types of chronic pain such as pain from arthritis, and migraines.
5. Cajuput Oil
Made from the distilled leaves and branches of the Cajuput tree, Cajuput oil has a host of powerful properties which can make it excellent for pain relief and management. This substance is considered to be antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory, as well as analgesic.
Cajuput oil has been used for centuries as a medicine for treating headaches, skin infections, toothache pain, and various other conditions. Despite its natural origins, many people find this substance can be just as strong as traditional medicines, so it may be worth using a carrier oil before applying the medicine directly to your skin.
Cajuput oil contains a special chemical called cineole, which is effective at both relieving various kinds of pain, and addressing the underlying causes of pain.
For standard discomfort caused by a cut, bruise, or even something more complex such as a toothache, Cajuput oil can act as an analgesic. The substance helps to numb the area and reduce the pain signals to your brain. However, it’s important to be careful when applying this substance to teeth, as it should only be consumed in small doses.
Cajuput can assist with reducing muscle and joint pain, cramps (with antispasmodic issues) and skin discomfort caused by acne.
Are You Genetically at Higher Risk of Injury and Pain?
Your pain tolerance and your general risk for injuries that cause pain have something to do with your genetics. You can take a DNA test to find out if you have a higher risk of injury, such as higher risk of achilles tendon injury, so that you can be sure to be cautious to avoid ending up with chronic pain.
A CircleDNA test will also inform you of your drug response predictions based on your DNA. This is important to know about, since prescription painkillers might not suit your genetic makeup.