30 Plus Natural Ways to Relieve Pain – Part 1
The most common reason we visit a health care provider, go for therapies and make changes in our life is due to pain. Every one of us has suffered from some sort of pain, whether acute or chronic. Usually diseases, accidents and emotional stress can generate this pain.
Ayurveda addresses pain through various therapies, herbs, oils and lifestyle management tips. However in Ayurveda pain is a mind-body experience. It is also known as “Shula” (pain) in Madhava Nidanam (ancient Ayurvedic text) and treated as a separate condition. It is interesting to note, that many of us experience pain due to other disease or conditions, and ‘pain’ is one of the symptoms of that particular disease.
I believe that pain is a natural response of the body to a disease or an accident/injury. Pain can awaken us and drive us to make changes or sometimes limit us to do things that were easily doable before. When we suffer from pain it pushes us to start looking for remedial actions.
Over the counter painkillers are cheap, made with harmful ingredients and have a number of side effects. Therefore using a natural pain remedy is now becoming more popular. Back pain, joint pain, toothache, minor cuts, burns, bruises as well as chronic pain can all be managed using natural remedies.
What Causes Pain?
1. Physical pain is experienced in the body and can affect blood, organs, and bones. They usually occur due to cuts, burns, bruise, accidents, stings, fall and injuries
2. Inflammation in the body can cause pain
3. Loss or separation or grief
4. Depression – low self-esteem and self-worth
5. Imbalance of the nervous system
6. Work exhaustion or over exercise or excessive movement
7. Weight lifting and repetitive work
8. Standing or sitting for long hours
9. Driving long hours
10. Suppression of natural urges
11. Stress or fear
12. Malnutrition or improper food combining
13. Intake of foods that cause histamine release or are hard to digest
14. Intake of cold food, beverages and water (can stress the digestive system and cause pain)
15. Poor digestion capability in the body
16. Low beneficial bacteria to protect the immune system
17. Accumulation of toxins in the muscles and tissues
18. Blocked circulation
Natural response to pain is discomfort, hurt, irritation and sadness.
Dosha and Pain:
In all types of pain Vata is the primary dosha that is responsible. Vata dosha is connected to our vital force (Prana) which governs the nervous system and all sensations. Even if the pain is a Pitta or Kapha pain there is always the presence of Vata. This is because when Pitta or Kapha blocks Vata, the pain masks as Pitta or Kapha pain.
Vata pain is spasmodic, gripping and excruciating and psychologically it creates nervousness, fever and insomnia. Pitta pain feels like sharp, intense and heating and psychologically it creates irritability, anger and disrupts sleep patterns. Kapha pain is stubborn, static, dull and makes us feel heavy. Psychologically Kapha pain creates depression, sadness, and causes excessive sleep. Kapha pain is often less intense and chronic, whereas Vata and Pitta pain are acute.
Vata Pain: Trauma, accident and neuralgia as well as constipation, flatulence, joint or bone aches are Vata pain. Vata pain is usually aggravated by movement. Vata pain can be managed with heat application (warm oil massage), herbal enemas, sweating and applying pressure on the site of the pain.
Pitta Pain: Infection and inflammation is Pitta pain. Vomiting due digestive, stomach or intestinal problems, vomiting with heartburn, ulcer etc. are Pitta pain. Pitta pain can be managed with cold compress, ice bag, and purgation.
Kapha Pain: Congestion, sinus headache and heavy mucus, dull ache is Kapha pain. Movement can pacify Kapha pain. Kapha pain can be managed by standing up (moving against gravity); light movement, dry brushing, massage and applying dry heat on the area of pain.
Why Invest in Natural Therapies and Supplementation?
Natural therapies and supplements have a history of safety and efficacy with little or no dependency on the therapy (meaning people are not addicted to the pain therapies or supplements). Generally they also do not have any negative side effects. However they may have contraindication when taken with medicines etc. Therefore consulting a Naturopathic doctor is ideal. In most cases whole herb or plant is used to derive pain relief supplements which are more effective than isolated nutrients or constituents used in pharmaceutical practices. Therapeutic dosages of natural remedies can be prescribed depending on the duration and changes in the condition. Lastly, you do not slowly reduce dosage to discontinue, when pain is over you can stop the treatment without worrying about what will happen if you discontinue.
Natural therapies and supplements are most effective when taken at the certain time every day and is continued regularly until the pain subsides.
Types of Pain Relievers:
In Ayurveda drugless therapies, herbal derivatives and nutrients are termed as ‘Aushadams.’ Diseases can cause pain/discomfort (Vyadhi), therefore in Ayurveda herbs are used to get relief from pain. “Ausham rujam dhavati eti oshadi” – that kills (allays) pain and combats discomfort is a remedy or medicine “Aushadi”. The drugless medicines are prepared in many different ways in Ayurveda – such as extracts, infusions, paste, powder, herbal wine, herbal oils, essential oils, medicated ghee and capsules.
I am listing types of pain relievers such as herbs, therapies etc. and what are the options you may have to treat various types of pain.
1. Herbs: There are many herbs in Ayurveda and western herbalism that has ’analgesic’ or ‘pain relieving’ properties. Utilizing them correctly for your specific condition after speaking with your health care practitioner is important. Ayurveda also emphasizes on the preparation of the herbs such as infusion, decoction, ghrita (infused in ghee) etc. Herbs that have analgesic properties are – peppermint (headache), white willow bark, birch, vetiver (khus), ashwagandha (congestive and spasmodic pain), jatamansi (emotional pain), musta (muscle relaxant), feverfew (migraine), St. john’s wort, valerian, hawthorne, grape seed extract Devil’s claw, cat’s claw, California poppy, Jamaican dogwood, crampbark, gingko, kava kava, Pau d’arco etc.
2. Spices: Pungent (hot) and bitter spices have strong effect on pain such as cayenne and turmeric. When mixed together the potency of pungent and bitter spices are more powerful than using them indiviually. Turmeric, cayenne, clove, pippali (long pepper), nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon can be used for pain relief, improved circulation and for their heating effect. Turmeric relieves pain for minor cuts and bruises and can be applied on minor cuts externally and taken internally to reduce inflammation. Turmeric is also a natural anti septic. Cayenne improves circulation and therefore can work on pain that is caused due to poor circulation and blockages. It is a great home remedy for heart and stubborn (chronic) pain. Apply externally (never on open wounds or cuts) and take a small amount internally mixed with turmeric to increase absorption of the pain relieving properties from both spices. Clove is used to relieve tooth ache and cinnamon to relieve menstrual cramps. Nutmeg in very small amount can relieve headache and reduce emotional pain.
3. Specific herbal formulas: In Canada a company named ‘Flora’ (a brand) has a formula called Pain Away (with NPN #) that helps reduce headaches and rheumatic pain. It contains herbs that have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. New Roots Herbal, another herbal company has two formulas that I have personally used; called Joint Pain Relief and Infla Heal Plus both are excellent for reducing inflammation and arthritic pain.
4. Resin: Boswellia (joint pain) and guggulu also known as commiphora mukul (for arthritic pain) is most popularly used to maintain bone health. My homemade pain relief formula “Deep Relief Now” contains Boswellia.
5. Oil: Omega 6 rich oils such as Evening Primrose and Borage oil are great in reducing inflammation in the body which in turn will reduce any pain. In the South Asia and Middle East many people consume the Black Seed Oil regularly to maintain balance and immunity.
6. Herbal Oils: Best pain relieving Ayurvedic herbal oil formula is called the Mahanarayan oil. There are other herbal oils that are made for specific health condition of an individual. The oils are made by cooking various pain relieving herbs in a base oil (such as sesame seed oil or coconut oil) In Ayurveda even the base oil is specific to the health condition or Dosha. The oil and herbs cleanse and nourish the tissues to aid in their repair and development.
7. Essential Oils: Helichrysum, clove, peppermint (headache), vetiver, sweet birch, Frankincense, wintergreen, lavender (burn pain), black spruce, blue tansy etc. are one of the best essential oils for pain relief. Essential oils can increase blood flow in the muscles and tissues as well as create warm and numb effect on the pain. Rosemary, camphor, thyme, and myrtle can also assist in pain relieving and circulation.
8. Essential Oil Blends: Four best essential oil blends from Young Living are amazing. I have used them for years. PanAway, Deep Relief, Relieve It and Valor. PanAway and Valor together are considered as Chiropractor in a bottle! Using essential oils in diffusers, warm bath, and massage oils are effect way to relieve pain. You will be absolutely surprised how fast essential oils can relieve pain. Click here to learn about how to purchase Young Living Essential oils.
9. Homeopathy: Arnica – in homeopathy it is most important for pain relieving. Traumeel a popular formula contains arnica and is used in inflammation, to deal with trauma as well as to speed wound healing. Clinical studies of Traumeel also demonstrate its efficacy in muscle/ligament sprains and strains.
10. Relaxation/sleep: When pain is caused due to physically demanding work, exhaustion, long time standing or even due to stress the body needs to rest. A good 7-8 hour sleep can provide restorative effect on the body as well as reduce inflammation and pain in the body.
30 Plus Natural Ways to Relieve Pain – Part 3
If you are in Canada or USA – you can order from Conscious Health shop the pain relief ointment that I have made. You can check out product details, availability, price and reviews here.
This is my personal creation that I created for my parents, then my friends, extended family as well as my clients.
All natural pain relief formula for tired, achy muscle, tendons and headaches. Contains Ayurvedic herbs and essential oils. A nourishing and strengthening ointment with analgesic qualities, it is used to soothe sore muscles and tendons, flexible joints as well as support an active lifestyle. Apply under your feet and effected area.
Temporarily relieves minor aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with:
Simple backache – sprains, arthritis, strains, bruises, cramps and headaches.