Natural pain relief
- Arnica and Ginger. These herbs are good for inflammation of the joints and for sore muscles. Not to be taken internally, these remedies are applied directly to unbroken skin for relief. Possible side effects include redness and itching caused by an allergic reaction.
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin. These supplements can be found together in many popular brands such as Sundown’s Osteo Bi-flex. Both glucosamine and chondroiton are a nutritional approach to maintaining the fluids needed to lubricate joints and cartilage. Sundown states that our bodies produce enzymes that can be a factor in cartilage breakdown and that these two supplements, taken regularly, may inhibit this breakdown, enabling our bodies to maintain and promote new cartilage and connective tissue.
- Glucosamine is an amino-sugar found in the body that stimulates growth of new cartilage. In studies, patients using glucosamine experienced as much joint pain relief as those taking over-the-counter medications. Due to possible blood sugar irregularities and an increase in insulin resistance, diabetics should consult a physician prior to starting a glucosamine regimen.
- Chondroitin has been shown to improve joint mobility by maintaining the fluid needed in the core structure of cartilage, which protects cartilage and promotes healing. There are no known side effects, although there is an ongoing debate on how well the body can absorb this supplement.
- Antler Velvet. A natural source of glucosamine and chondroiton, Antler Velvet comes from domesticated animals (no harm comes to the animals) and has been used in Asia for thousands of years. It is known to reduce pain and recuperation time, in addition to increasing strength and stamina.
- Methylsulfonylmethane. A supplement naturally occurring in plants and milk. It can help reduce muscle soreness after strenuous training.
- Liniments. Although not all liniments are “all natural,” these topical pain relievers tend to be most effective when they contain methyl salicylate (wintergreen oil). This oil can have the same affects as aspirin, without the side effects that may result from aspirin digestion. Wintergreen oil penetrates the skin to deaden the sensation of pain. Zheng Gu Shui is a Chinese liniment that may be effective in the relief of soreness. The active ingredient is menthol (an alcohol), which warms and stimulates the area where it is topically applied, masking the pain caused by over exertion. If used too often, this it can irritate the skin. Capsicum oleoresin (red pepper) has the same medicinal qualities of menthol in that it warms and soothes the area in which it is applied.
Pain relievers affect everyone differently. They may cause side effects ranging from mild to severe depending on dosage and your body’s genetic makeup. When deciding on any pain reliever, the best choice for you is the one that relives the pain the fastest, with the least amount of side effects.
Muscle soreness or joint pain, caused by intense training should decrease or disappear completely within a week or so. Pain lasting longer could be a symptom of a more serious injury that should be looked at by a physician.