Managing pain caused by inflammation is, to be quite frank, a royal pain! In a market flooded by over-the-counter remedies, it is easy to spend hundreds of dollars on different ways to combat pain caused by conditions like arthritis. Many of you might feel like you might never find relief.
But guess what? You can find ways of managing pain that do not involve having to test out dozens of different (and downright expensive) over-the-counter products. We have scoured all of our resources and found 15 natural remedies for managing pain for everyone with inflammation.
15 Natural Treatments for Managing Pain and Inflammation
Pain is different for all of us, but there are some remedies out there that are universally known for their ability to provide inflammation relief. You might still need to try a few to figure out which one is right for you, but the 15 we have found are some of the most renowned for their efficacy. Read on through and see which ones appeal to you.
1. Heat Therapy
Believe it or not, heat therapy is one of the most popular methods people still use for managing pain. Yeah, it might seem old-school, but this is an affordable alternative to things like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Why? Heat is able to reduce the amount of fluid build-up and inflammation in the body’s tissues as well as tackling stiffness and pain in the joints.
You can simply take a hot pack and press it against the affected area, getting it into the body’s deep tissues. If you have widespread inflammation, you might want to consider doing hydrotherapy (utilizing agitated warm water) or taking a heated wax bath. While temperature-based treatments might not make your inflammation go away, it can help reduce the degree to which it impacts you and your everyday life.
2. Cold Therapy
Of course, cold therapy can be used too. You can even combine it with heat therapy, trading off one for the other as needed. Experiencing lower back pain and/or inflammation? Try putting a cold pack on it and letting the cool temperature settle into your deep tissues.
Cold treatment is something you do not want to overdo. If you have an arthritic condition, take it easy on the cold. Apply it for 15 minutes, then give yourself a break for about half an hour. If you expose yourself to the cold for too long, your tissues could get damaged. However, when you limit your time, you might experience some inflammatory relief.
Yoga is one of many types of exercise that can help relieve inflammatory pain. It has been practiced for over 5,000 years as a way to relieve physical and mental duress. Yoga allows you to create your own workout based on your level and needs.
Incorporating yoga into your everyday routine can help reduce inflammation and improve flexibility. Even on a day when you are having a flare-up, you can do gentle stretches to help yourself stay active. On top of that, yoga can help you keep your mental health in balance on those days when you are feeling overwhelmed with pain.
The best part of doing yoga? Doing it from the comfort of your own home! YouTube is full of yoga videos for practitioners of all levels. Whether you are a novice, intermediate, or advanced practitioner, you can find instructional videos specifically for managing pain caused by arthritis or just general yoga exercises.
How could a seasoning possibly be a remedy for inflammation?! Turmeric (or curcumin) has been used for centuries as a spice but also as a pain-reliever. When used in appropriate doses (doctors recommend 1,200 milligrams per day or less in order to curb potential side effects), turmeric may be a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
In a small study from 2016, researchers found that turmeric was more effective than the placebo, NSAIDs, and glucosamine at relieving arthritic inflammation and pain. While more studies need to be done on a broader scale, many people who use this old Ayurvedic method to treat inflammation claim that it helps.
5. Eating a Fiber-rich Diet
What does your diet look like? Are you eating enough fiber? A lack of fiber in your diet could contribute to health problems, and having a high-fiber diet might curb inflammation. This is because fiber feeds helpful bacteria in the gut that release anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
Get your fiber as naturally as you can from food (such as oatmeal and brown rice), combining enough soluble and insoluble fibers. But, if you aren’t getting enough, adding a fiber supplement might be necessary. Just make sure you voice your concerns with your doctor before starting a new fiber supplement since too much fiber can also be problematic.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids (which are contained in fish oil) are long-chain fatty acids that are known to reduce inflammation. The human body does not make omega-3s, so you have to add them to your diet. Many people do this by eating fatty fish (like salmon) or even flaxseed and flaxseed oil. Of course, supplements can also be taken.
So, how do omega-3s work? While scientists are not yet sure of how they impact cells, they do know that omega-3 fatty acids activate a self-cleansing process. In particular, they reduce a type 1 interferon response in macrophages known as CXCL-10. CXCL-10 is a known inflammatory agent known for its involvement in rheumatoid arthritis.
Again, be sure to consult your doctor before adding omega-3 fatty acids as a supplement. But go ahead and eat some fish and flaxseeds in the meantime! The daily dosage for adults is 250-500 milligrams, but individuals with chronic inflammation might need more.
7. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
As odd as it might sound, progressive muscle relaxation is an increasingly popular way of managing pain and inflammation. This technique is simple but involves some concentration.
Concentrate on the muscle group where you experience the most stress and inflammation. You are going to need to breathe in and tense those muscles at the same time. Then, you will breathe out and relax them. You can go through the different muscle groups, focusing on one at a time.
Remember, stress and inflammation go hand-in-hand. The more you can reduce your stress, the better chance you have at decreasing your inflammation.
8. White Willow Bark
White willow bark has been used since Hippocrates practiced medicine in 400 BC! This bark has salicin, which is a pain reliever similar to aspirin. Its flavonoids (which are a type of plant compound) have anti-inflammatory properties that work to enhance the effects of salicin.
These trees are abundant in Europe and exist in some parts of North America. Recently, they have become popular as an over-the-counter supplement. Some studies have shown that it can help people with hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis. Side effects are typically mild, but you should still consult your doctor before taking white willow bark as a supplement.
9. Green Tea
A rather delicious method for managing pain is green tea. Green tea is loaded with polyphenols, a type of antioxidant known for decreasing cartilage decay and inflammation. It also has epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a substance known to reduce inflammatory responses in those dealing with rheumatoid arthritic inflammation.
Green tea is often best brewed fresh. Bottled green tea that has been decaffeinated might have fewer necessary compounds for relieving inflammation, so it is best to take green tea the most natural way.
10. Frankincense and Myrrh
You might think of these oils as being perfect for aromatherapy around the holidays, but frankincense and myrrh have long been used in China as a way to relieve pain caused by inflammatory diseases. They work by reducing the release of pro-inflammatory leukotrienes.
Studies prove that frankincense and myrrh to be so effective at reducing rheumatoid inflammation that those who took it were able to decrease the number of NSAIDs they took. They also seem to have the ability to combat asthma, improve gut functioning, and even fight certain types of cancer.
11. French Maritime Pine Bark
Maritime pine bark from France has shown an ability to reduce inflammatory responses, as indicated by several studies. It does so most popularly in the extract Pycnogenol, which is composed of polyphenolic monomers and procyanidins.
French maritime pine bark, in Pcynogenol form, can reduce leukotriene levels, lessening inflammation by an estimated 15 percent after just five days of supplementation. Of course, as is the case with any supplement, results might not match this. However, this supplement is finding a market within both the United States and Japan for a reason.
In the past few years, studies have been finding that resveratrol might help alleviate inflammation. This substance can be found in red grapes and red wine and belongs to a group known as polyphenols that act as antioxidants within the body.
Even when taken in bigger doses, resveratrol has few side effects, and they are minor. A typical daily dosage is 250-500 milligrams, but the studies that have been done utilize much higher doses.
13. Chili Pepper
Do you like chili pepper? If so, you might want to consider eating even more of them. Not only do they help reduce inflammatory pain, but they also promote healthy aging!
While they can cause inflammation in some people, chili peppers reduce it in others. They have ferulic acid and sinapic acid, two antioxidants that are known to lessen inflammation. If chili peppers aren’t your thing, bear in mind that bell peppers are also rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants.
S-adenosylmethionine (otherwise known as SAMe) is naturally found in the body, as it is required for cell membranes and hormonal regulation. While it has been primarily used to treat depression, it shows an ability to treat symptoms of osteoarthritis.
The typical recommended daily dosage for this supplement is 600-1,200 milligrams divided into three dosages. Take note: There are no food sources for SAMe. You have to buy it as a supplement.
Enjoy oysters? Zinc is abundant in poultry and red meat but is most abundantly found in oysters. There are also plenty of vegan and vegetarian food sources for it. In fact, there are many ways of getting your zinc, and since the body does not store it, you need to get it from a wealth of food sources.
Zinc levels decrease with age, so older adults might need to add more to their diet than younger adults. It is considered safe for almost everyone and has very few side effects.
Managing pain should not be a painful itself. Trying a natural remedy for inflammation can save you a lot of hassle and some money too. Remember, check with your doctor before adding any type of supplement to your regimen. Supplements can help you combat inflammation, but so can changes in diet and exercise.