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January 2018 marks the tenth anniversary of actor Heath Ledger’s death. In 2008, a fatal prescription drug overdose seemed like a freak accident. The ensuing years have clearly shown that Mr. Ledger’s death was not a random incident. Celebrity deaths like Michael Jackson (alprazolam and propofol in 2009), Prince (fentanyl, 2016) and Tom Petty (oxycodone, fentanyl, and alprazolam, 2017) served as bookends for a crisis that has touched millions of lives.
To avoid these dangers, many people are looking for alternative pain remedies. They are out there, provided you know where to look.
The combination of movement, meditation, and detoxification is proven to relieve many forms of chronic pain, such as arthritis, joint discomfort, and back pain.
Pain from either injury or disease is essentially inflammation, and slow, controlled movements are an excellent way to reduce this inflammation. The joints open up, so many tissues naturally spread out a little. Even a slight movement is enough to achieve significant positive results. Yoga also builds muscle tone. Practitioners won’t bulk up, but they will have more stamina, which is essential for fighting pain.
Yoga’s meditative element cannot be overlooked. Pain also has a mental element. The more we think about it, the worse it seems. That’s not to say that arthritis and other discomfort is psychosomatic because that’s clearly not true. But if something else distracts the brain, it is less receptive to pain signals from the body. In many cases, yoga is that “something else.”
Yogis claim that certain poses almost wring the body out like a sponge, purging environmental toxins from the liver and kidneys. The evidence on this point is a little shaky, but yoga’s deep breathing definitely removes carbon dioxide from the body. Even at low levels, CO2 often causes dizziness, nausea, and loss of sensation; at higher levels, CO2 raises blood pressure, triggers blurry vision, and may even cause severe shortness of breath.
You can even get apps to help with your yoga at home.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) goes directly to the source of pain, which is the nerve endings. Gentle electrical pulses disrupt the pain signals. What the brain does not receive, it does not process. For best results and easiest use, try to find a portable TENS unit with adjustable levels of intensity. Nerve stimulation also has a substantial mental effect. If people believe that the treatment will work, it is even more effective.
The next time chronic or sudden pain disrupts your daily activities, don’t reach inside the medicine cabinet. Instead, try one or more of these alternative remedies and see for yourself what happens
Probably because of this same mental/physical balance, many spicy foods are effective pain relievers. Arthritic hands feel a lot better when your brain focuses on your burning mouth. There are chemical reasons for this relief as well. Many oils have similar properties, which explains why people have turned to some of these things for thousands of years:
Cayenne pepper has high levels of capsaicin, a natural painkiller that’s found in many pain relief ointments. Cayenne pepper may be effective for everything from simple muscle soreness to intense post-surgical pain.
The isothiocyanates in wasabi naturally block inflammation receptors.
Evening primrose oil has lots of gamma-linolenic acids and a hormone-leveling effect, making it ideal for menstrual pain.
Try peppermint oil for severe headaches and other flare-up pain. It’s a natural muscle relaxer and circulatory stimulant that may even be effective against more intense and widespread pain, like fibromyalgia.
Other remedies in this category include the old standard Epsom Salt (don’t eat it) and bone-building broths.