(NaturalNews) Treating chronic pain is a complex issue because there are numerous factors that contribute to its development and persistence. Contrary to popular belief, most instances of chronic pain do not actually originate in the muscles, bones, and tissues, but rather in the nerves, which means eating foods and taking herbs that promote central nervous system health may be the best approach to getting rid of chronic pain for good. Here are 10 ways to treat chronic pain naturally without drugs:
1) Willow bark. Used for thousands of years in many different cultures to reduce fever and inflammation, willow bark is a powerful painkilling herb that is still used today to treat back pain, arthritis, headaches, and inflammatory conditions like bursitis and tendinitis. The active ingredient in willow bark, salicin, is actually the compound that was first used in the 1800s to develop aspirin. Though it may not work as quickly as aspirin, willow bark is said to provide longer-lasting benefits without the harmful side effects. (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/willow-bark-000281.htm)
2) Cannabis. Aside from its psychoactive effects, the active ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is a powerful analgesic with proven pain-relieving properties. Numerous studies have found that taking cannabis can help ease neurological pain without causing harmful side effects, which makes it a far more promising candidate than what conventional medicine has to offer. And even better than smoking cannabis is juicing its leaves raw, which has been shown to actually reverse chronic pain and illness. (http://www.naturalnews.com/035759_cannabis_juicing_health.html)
3) Turmeric. One of the most powerful known anti-inflammatory herbs, turmeric is virtually unparalleled in its ability to treat arthritis, gout, autoimmune disease, sciatic, and other inflammatory conditions. Systemically, turmeric helps quell disease-causing inflammation in all its forms, and may be the key to overcoming whatever pains might be ailing you.
4) Kava kava. Pacific Islanders have long utilized kava kava, also known as "intoxicating pepper," to unwind and relax after a long day. But this natural botanical is also highly effective at reducing anxiety, easing nerves, relaxing muscles, and subdue pain. Because of its synergistic ability to promote restfulness both mentally and physically, kava kava can be extremely helpful in overcoming chronic pain, especially when such pain has a psychological component. (http://www.konakavafarm.com/articles/alternative.html)
5) Skullcap. An herb native to North America, skullcap has been used for more than 200 years to treat anxiety, nervous tension, convulsions, and pain. And Chinese skullcap, a similar but slightly different herb, has been shown to help treat allergies, infections, inflammation, headaches, and even cancer. Between the two herbs, chronic pain sufferers have a powerful weapon for naturally calming their nerves and relieving pain. (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/skullcap-000273.htm)
6) Valerian. Often blended with skullcap, Valerian is another natural herb with an extensive history of use in relieving pain. Often used as a sleeping aid due to its ability to promote relaxation, Valerian is also useful for easing anxiety and psychological stress, which are often responsible for causing or exacerbating chronic pain. Valerian can also help treat depression, muscle and joint pain, headaches, and menstrual pain (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/valerian-000279.htm).
7) Devil's claw. This native African herb is so effective at relieving arthritis, lower back, knee, and hip pain that it has actually been approved as a non-prescription medicine in Germany. Devil's claw has been shown in studies to effectively relieve chronic pain in as little as 10 days of therapeutic use without causing any harmful side effects. Devil's claw can also be used in place of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like acetaminophen and ibuprofen to temporarily relieve pain. (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/devils-claw-000237.htm)
8) Magnesium. Magnesium comes up a lot as a recommendation in natural treatment protocols, and this is no accident. A powerful treatment for both muscle and nerve pain, magnesium has been shown to balance levels of a brain chemical known as NMDA that is responsible for transmitting pain throughout the nervous system. Magnesium deficiency is also a common cause and amplifier of pain, so simply supplementing with it can help significantly improve pain symptoms. (http://www.psychologytoday.com)
9) SAM-e. A popular dietary supplement for treating osteoarthritis and depression, SAM-e, or S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine, is a compound naturally found in every human cell in the body. Recognized for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits, SAM-e can help ease pain, relieve stiffness, reduce joint swelling, and even rebuild cartilage. SAM-e is also known to help treat fibromyalgia, bursitis, tendinitis, and lower back pain. (http://osteoarthritis.about.com/od/alternativetreatments/a/sam-e.htm)
10) Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a host of chronic illnesses, including chronic pain. A 2009 study found that patients deficient in vitamin D require almost twice as much pain medication as patients with adequate levels, illustrating an inverse relationship between vitamin D levels and pain. Supplementing with vitamin D and regularly exposing your skin to natural sunlight just might be the remedy you need for overcoming chronic pain. (http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/)
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