Of all human traits, the desire to avoid or eliminate pain is certainly among the most primal, but the trick is still how to do so without causing harm.
Pain has always been with us, and it’s best to learn how to manage pain as sensibly and safely as possible. Any pain reliever, natural or otherwise, will always carry some element of risk, and some more than others.
Most people, when they feel a headache coming on or have muscle or joint pain, grab a bottle of aspirin or acetaminophen and shake a few into their hands.
However, these over-the-counter pain relievers may present more problems than they cure, especially if used in the long run.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Aspirin and acetaminophen have become so familiar to everyone that we tend to forget that these have side effects. Aspirin can cause internal bleeding and has even been linked to pancreatic cancer when used for 20 years or more.
Acetaminophen brings its own list of potential problems, such as liver damage, loss of hearing and even impotence.
The relatively new kid on the block, ibuprofen, also can cause problems such as bruising, chest pain, dizziness and upset stomach. Ibuprofen has also been shown to diminish the effectiveness of the body’s immune system, which can be dangerous when an infection is present.
Are Natural Pain Relievers the Answer?
In many cases, relief from pain can be found in natural products. Surprisingly, one of the most effective natural pain relievers is actually water. Keeping properly hydrated makes an enormous difference in how the body manages discomfort, and just two glasses a day can help you feel better.
There are also a number of herbs that have been found to be of use in controlling pain—some of them have been known from ancient times, too.
While these natural pain relievers are safe for the majority of people, pregnant women should always check with their doctor before using herbal remedies.
– Willowbark, the ancestor of aspirin, has been known for thousands of years as a pain reliever. However, like aspirin, it can cause internal bleeding.
– Feverfew has been shown to be especially effective against headaches, and it is useful for arthritis pain, too. Irritation of the mouth is the most likely side effect.
– Turmeric is most often used as a spice in Middle Eastern recipes, but it also can reduce arthritis pain. It can affect the gall bladder if used in large amounts, so anyone with gall bladder disease should look elsewhere for a natural pain reliever.
It can be frustrating when trying to find a safe, but effective way to deal with pain. Natural pain relievers will generally cause fewer and milder side effects than pharmaceutical ones, however, and it is well worth the effort to seek out the ones that will work for you.
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