14 Natural Pain Killers That are Scientifically Proven

14 Natural Pain Killers That are Scientifically Proven

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Traditional medicine doesn’t always involve natural methods, but research shows natural pain killers are helpful.

In fact, many doctors say that natural pain killers can help with lower back pain, toothaches, headaches, arthritis, and other painful situations.

The National Center for Health Statistics explains that chronic pain affects more people than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Around 11% of adults suffering from chronic pain, and another 25% suffer from pain that lasts more than 24 hours. Plus, nearly 18% of adults suffer from severe pain regularly.

Traditional pain relief methods often require a pill that alters your brain chemistry. When abused, they can cause hospitalization, overdose, coma, dependence, or death. The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine lists the most common treatments for chronic pain relief as:

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  • antidepressants
  • anticonvulsants
  • muscle relaxants
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • opioids

With the potential dangers of traditional pain killers, choosing from the below variety of natural pain killers is safer and healthier. Many herbs and spices reduce pain levels, and other natural methods such as acupuncture and yoga are beneficial, too.

Try These Fourteen Natural Pain Killers

Interested in learning the best natural pain relief options? Try some of these fourteen home remedies for pain.

natural pain killers
1. Willow Bark

Willow bark can help ease inflammation that causes aches and pains. The bark contains salicin, which is a chemical that is similar to the main ingredient in aspirin.

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You can find willow bark as a dried herb that you can brew into tea. You can consume it as a liquid supplement or in capsule form. Willow bark helps with headaches, lower back pain, and symptoms of osteoarthritis. It can also alleviate severe knee and hip pain.

Taking too much willow bark can cause problems, though, so be careful that you take the right amount. Otherwise, it can cause an upset stomach, decrease kidney function, prolong bleeding time, and increase the risk of bleeding.

2. Turmeric

Curcumin, the main ingredient in turmeric, contains pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties. It is an antioxidant that helps protect your body from free radicals that can damage cells and tissues. Research shows that when compared with other pain relief methods, turmeric was more effective.

Turmeric can help with pain caused by inflammation, including pain from arthritis. It can also help with pain associated with autoimmune disorders and tendonitis.

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3. Cloves

Cloves can help relieve pain from headaches, arthritic inflammation, and toothaches. You can add ground cloves to meat, rice dishes, pies, and other foods. Additionally, you can consume cloves in capsule form, powder, or oil.

Eugenol is a natural pain reliever and an active ingredient in cloves. It is often found in over-the-counter pain rubs. You can rub it on your tooth and gums to ease a toothache until you can get to your dentist.

4. Acupuncture

Researchers at the World Health Organization have found that acupuncture is effective in nearly 96% of chronic pain situations. It helps most with lower back pain and headaches, two of the leading causes of chronic pain. Acupuncture can also help with migraines.

Acupuncture involves having needles placed just beneath your skin at your pressure points. The thin needles might be placed far from where you feel the pain, but this is because it affects your internal energy.

In some cases, acupuncture can make the pain disappear entirely, and other times it’ll subside drastically. Acupuncture can alter the pathways that go from your body to your brain and perceive pain. As the neural pathways become balanced, your body will release serotonin, making you feel better and experience less pain.

5. Essential Oils

Essential oils are known to help with many ailments and are one of them. You can inhale them through aromatherapy, add them to your massage oil, or dilute them and apply them to your skin.

Before applying oil to your skin, test a small area to ensure you don’t negatively react. Some of the essential oils that are natural pain killers include:

  • peppermint oil
  • rosemary
  • lavender

6. Massage Therapy

High-quality massages can promote blood flow, reduce muscle tension, and boost overall feelings of wellness. Massage therapy manipulates your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, helping reduce pain naturally.

Make sure to choose a licensed massage therapist, as their professional massage will benefit you the most. While other massages might feel good, they don’t manipulate your body the way a professional can.

7. Meditation

Meditation comes in different forms, and finding the one that works best for you is essential. Some people find that listening to a pleasing sound, closing their eyes, and sitting comfortably while repeating the sound works best. If you try this approach, recognize when your thoughts wander and return to the sound.

Another meditation technique that can help relieve pain is guided imagery. Guided imagery involves imagining yourself in a better place. You will use hearing and internalizing suggestions to help devalue pain signals.

natural pain killers
8. Cold Compress

Applying an ice pack or cold compress can reduce swelling and inflammation. When your pain is due to a strained muscle, tendon, or ligament, the swelling and inflammation could be responsible for the discomfort. If you have a headache, you can hold a cold pack to your head for a few minutes to reduce the pain.

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For pain in other areas, apply a cold pack to the painful area for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then, wait about two hours before you do it again. When you put the cold compress on your skin, put a layer of cloth between the ice and your skin.

9. Warm Compress

Sometimes, a warm compress is better than a cold compress. Once the inflammation is gone, you might experience stiffness after a sprain or strain. When this happens, a warm compress can help reduce the stiffness and help regain motion without intense pain.

If your pain is due to arthritis, applying a warm compress to the affected joint can help reduce pain. A warm compress will also help with muscle spasms, but avoid heat if you have any swelling in the area.

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10. Dry Heat Therapy

Since warm compresses typically create moisture, some people prefer dry heat therapy. Another benefit to dry heat therapy is that you can apply heat more often this way, too. You can use heat packs or an adhesive back wrap that offers continuous heat without getting anything wet.

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11. Anti-inflammatory Diets

Studies show that an anti-inflammatory diet can stop pain progression and improve pain tolerance. If your pain is related to obesity, osteoarthritis, or blood sugar, changing your diet can help significantly.

As you switch to a healthier diet, you don’t have to worry that your food options will be limited. There are plenty of  to choose from, including:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • legumes
  • nuts
  • fatty fish
  • healthy oils
  • whole grains
  • beans
  • unsaturated fats

12. Sleep

Without enough sleep, your pain tolerance will be lower, and you won’t heal as quickly from injury. Work on getting more sleep at night by making some simple lifestyle changes, and you will notice that your pain subsides. If you are prone to overthinking at night or struggle with insomnia, there are ways to remedy the problem.

Find some activities that make you feel calm and relaxed. Exercise before bed, practice meditation, or do anything else that slows your mind and body. As you improve your sleep health, you will notice a significant improvement in your pain management.

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13. Exercise

Exercise can help relieve chronic pain by altering the neural pathways of your brain. The pain causes them to become out of sync, and exercise can fix the problem. Exercise helps release your endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced in your body.

Endorphins bind to the opioid receptors in your brain and block your perception of pain. If you promote increased production of these hormones, your pain will naturally subside. You will also experience feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.

Any activity that gets your blood pumping for a sustained period counts as exercise. Consider things like:

  • yoga
  • running or jogging
  • walking at a brisk pace
  • playing tennis
  • swimming

14. Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a natural phenol produced by several plants when the plant is injured or under attack. Researchers discovered that some of the properties found in resveratrol help with pain regulation on a cellular level.

If you want to use this for pain relief, you can find it in grapes, red wine, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, and peanuts. You can also find resveratrol supplements to help increase your intake.

natural pain killers
Final Thoughts on Natural Pain Killers That are Scientifically Proven

Suffering from pain can be debilitating and interfere with your daily life. It can interfere with your ability to live a fulfilling life, and you could miss out on so much. Natural pain relievers can help you alleviate the pain until you can see a doctor, and sometimes they can eliminate the pain.

Don’t give up if one of the natural pain remedies doesn’t work for you. What works for some people might not work for others, so keep working your way through the pain-relieving tips. Once you find one that works for you, use it in place of traditional pain relievers.

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Sarah Barkley is a lifestyle blogger and freelance writer with a Bachelor's Degree in Literature from Baker College. She is experienced in all things related to parenting, marriage, and life as a millennial parent, but loves to learn new things. She enjoys the research that goes into a strong article, and no topic is off-limits to Sarah. When she isn't writing, she is immersed in a book or watching Gilmore Girls. Sarah loves reading classic novels but also enjoys a good thriller.

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