Pains are unpleasant physical sensation caused by illness or injury; pain can also be caused by mental suffering or distress. Pain is felt when a signal is sent through the nerve fibers to the brain for interpretation.
Pains can be acute or chronic; acute pain comes on suddenly and has a limited duration, it is frequently caused by damages to tissues like bone, muscles or organs and at the onset it is often accompanied by anxiety or emotional distress.
Pain is usually classified by the kind of damage that causes it; the main types of pain are nociceptive pain (this pain is caused by tissue damage) and neuropathic pain (pain caused by nerve damage). A third category of pain is psychogenic pain (which is pain affected by psychological factors); this category of pain can also have a physical origin in either tissue damage or nerve damage.
Psychogenic pain can be increased or prolonged by factors like stress, fear, anxiety and depression. Pain can also be classified by the type of tissues or body part that is affected; examples are joint pain, muscular pain, chest pain and back pain.
Chronic pain lasts longer than acute pain; it is associated with long-term illnesses like osteoarthritis and it is also generally resistant to medical treatment. This pain can be the result of damaged tissues or nerve damage.
Both chronic and acute pain can be excruciating and debilitating; they can affect and alter a person’s state of mind; chronic pain which seems almost constant can make a person susceptible to psychological changes like depression, mood problems and anxiety, the pain can also be intensified by psychological distress.
70% of people with chronic pain treat it with medications and these medications cause all kinds of health complications as side effects; people who use pain relieving drugs for chronic pain most times experience “breakthrough pain”. Breakthrough pain is a term used to describe flares of pain that occurs even pain medication is being used regularly; it can be spontaneous or caused by an event like rolling in bed, it may be the result of the pain medication wearing off before it is time for the next dose.
Painkillers are drugs that are used to reduce pain; they can be gotten without prescription and some must be prescribed. Whether prescribed or self-prescribed; these drugs can cause both short-term and long-term health complications as side effects even when taken in the right doses. The narcotic painkillers have the highest risk of addiction.
Painkillers that can be gotten over the counter include paracetamol, ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin while those that must be prescribed are tramadol, morphine, opana and hydrocodone. Many believe that these drugs are safe because they are prescribed by a doctor; this leads to more dependence on these drugs and later health complications develop.
According to a report; opioid painkillers are responsible for the death of 17,000 Americans each year, acetaminophen sends 80,000 people to the ER each year. Common side effects of this pain reliever are:
- Acetaminophen (paracetamol) increases the risk of liver damage; it is also safe for you to know that acetaminophen is incorporated into other drugs, remedies for colds and sinuses and it is commonly paired with other stronger painkillers like Vicodin and Percocet. Regular use of acetaminophen and other drugs that contain it can lead to liver damage and hepatitis.
- Ibuprofen and naproxen destroys the linings of the stomach and cause ulcers. It can also cause stomach pain and irritation which can lead to loss of blood from the affected area.
- Aspirin also causes stomach ulcer.
- Long-term use of naproxen and ibuprofen can lead to kidney failure.
- These NSAIDs painkillers can lead to miscarriages in women who take them during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- These painkillers reduce the effectiveness of antidepressants.
- Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen have mild blood thinning effect. This can be an issue for those on blood thinning medications because it can lead to over thinning of the blood and this raises the risk of excessive bleeding.
- Ibuprofen and Diclofenac have been linked to heart disease and heart attack; health experts have warned about the regular use of these drugs.
There are many other side effects of these painkillers; health experts have warned of the health risks of opioid; these drugs are not for everyone, they are mostly reserved for patients with severe pain from terminal cancer. These opioid medications are only prescribed when treatment and other pain medications don’t work.
Patients who take them are regularly monitored by doctors and regular follow up and check-ups are carried out. Opioids are highly addictive; it can lead to psychological problems and death. A few side effects of opioids are:
- Hormone imbalance
- Worsened pain
- A weak or suppressed immune system
- Depression and death.
These side effects do not only affect people who have been o opioids for a long time; it also affects people who just started an opioid treatment. Pain is unavoidable as long as one remains on this planet; we come across pains every day. There are many causes of pain like:
- An underlying medical condition
- Physical exertion and hard labour
- Psychological problems
- Tissue damage
- Muscle sprain and strain
- Rigorous exercise and training
- Menstrual pains and cramps
- Chest pain and others.
Effective Home Remedies for Relieving all Kinds of Pains
Due to the fact that lots of people experience pain on a daily basis and these prescription and non-prescription painkillers have dangerous side effects; we be looking at effective natural remedies for pain.
These natural remedies are as effective as these painkillers and others like ginger and turmeric even perform better and have no risk of side effects. Below are effective home remedies that can ease pain better than painkillers without the risk of any side effect. There are effective against any type of pain.
Ginger: This powerful herb is potent against all kinds of pains; it helps with cramps, joints and muscle pains due to its rich content of phytochemicals which stops inflammation.
Basil: This herb is as effective as most anti-inflammatory drugs; they reduce pain and swelling in arthritis patients by 73%. It is so effective that it can kill pains in 24 hours.
Willow bark: This wonderful herb has been used for centuries to treat pains and inflammation; inflammation is the cause of most pains and aches. The bark of white willow contains salicin which is similar to Bayer, the active ingredient in aspirin.
It is effective against headaches, osteoarthritis, low back pain and other discomfort. Originally, the bark was chewed to relieve pain and fevers but now the bark is sold like a dried herb that can be used to make tea. It is also available in the form of liquid supplement and capsules.
Avoid this herb if you are sensitive to aspirin or taking any over-the-counter painkiller and anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen, aspirin or ibuprofen. Those taking anti-coagulants like warfarin should avoid this herb because salicin can increase the risk of bleeding.
Black pepper: Black pepper is very effective in relieving pains due to their powerful active compounds piperine; this compound counteracts pain in the body, it reduces inflammation and the perception of pain. Because of its effective; it is used to prepare analgesic creams for pain relief and it is potent against arthritis pain.
Devil’s claw: This herb has been used for thousands of years as an effective pain reliever; it contains anti-inflammatory agents called harpagoside which is very effective as the prescription NSAIDs Vioxx, this drug was once popular but it was withdrawn from the market because of the negative impart it has on the cardiovascular system.
Cardamom: This is commonly used in Ayurvedic treatment to relief pain; it is effective against stomach spasm, stomach cramps and stomach problems. This herb is rich in many analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Epsom salt: This is an effective remedy for muscle pain and joint pain; put 2 cups of this salt in warm bath water and soak in it for 30 minutes to relieve pain. This is relaxing and the salt is high in magnesium sulfate which can be easily absorbed into the skin; it offers quick relief for pain, lowers inflammation, reduces muscle spasm and relaxes tensed areas.
Epsom salts can also be used in compresses to apply directly to the affected skin part; to make it more effective, you can add essential oils to the warm water. Lavender oil can reduce pains caused by stress and peppermint oil is used if the affected part is warm and swollen.
Celery seeds: This herb is effective in relieving arthritis, gout and bone pains.
Butterbur root: This herb is used to provide relieve form migraines.
Chamomile: Throughout history, this powerful herb has been used to relieve hay fever, muscle spasm, menstrual pain, inflammation, ulcers, wounds, hemorrhoids, rheumatic pain and gastrointestinal disorders.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a powerful spice that has an active compound called Curcumin; this compound is a natural pain reliever, it is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals that can cause cell and tissue damage.
Cinnamon: This plant has been used since ancient Egypt to cure a variety of illnesses and relieve pains associated with arthritis, sore throat, cough and gastrointestinal problems.
Vitamin E: This vitamin can lower the rates and severity of cramps by reducing the level of the hormone prostaglandins which can cause cramping. Women who experience menstrual cramps should take the vitamin during their periods and they can also eat lots of foods rich in vitamin E daily.
Coriander: The seeds are effective against toothaches, joint pains, stomach cramps, bowel spasm and digestive problems.
Dark chocolates: Eating lots of dark chocolate can help to dull the sensation of pain and also reduces the perception of pain.
Garlic: This powerful spice is loaded with powerful chemicals that can shut down the inflammatory pathways in ways similar to ibuprofen and other painkiller drugs. For best result, use fresh garlic; you can either chop them or crush them before ingesting.
Chili pepper: This hot spice has an active ingredient called capsaicin which is one of the most studied and strongest natural painkillers in the plant world. This compound can temporarily desensitize pain receptors in the body; it can render an affected area pain-free within a short amount of time. Many pharmaceutical pain creams are made with capsaicin to improve their effectiveness.
Marjoram: This herb is rich in eugenol which is a powerful analgesic compound that is effective in relieving joint pains, arthritis pains and inflammatory bowel conditions.
Cloves: This widely used spice is also effective against a wide range of pains including headaches, arthritis inflammation and toothaches; it is also used as part of topical pain relievers. A study suggested that cloves can even treat fungal infections.
The active ingredient of this spice eugenol is extracted and used in some OTC pain rubs; clove oil is also used in relieving toothache by rubbing a little quantity of this oil on the gum. Those with bleeding disorders and those taking blood thinning medication should avoid this herb because it can increase the risk of abnormal bleeding.
Neem: This is a powerful analgesic that when applied topically can provide instant relief from pains and itching; it can even relief stomach pains and stomach upset.
Arnica: This is a popular European herb that has long been used as a strong natural painkiller; the lowers are mostly used because the stem and leaves of the plant are mildly toxic but homeopaths use them to make tinctures that are applied to painful areas to relieve the pain and swelling. Studies have even proved this herb effective in relieving surgical pains.
Nutmeg: This spice is effective against abdominal pain, aching joints, muscle pain, arthritis, sore and inflammation. It can be ingested or applied topically.
Sunlight: Getting quality sunrays can increase the levels of vitamin D in the body; those who have good amount of vitamin experience less pain than those who are low or deficient in this vitamin. It relieves pain by helping in the absorption of calcium which aids bone growth and repair.
Parsley: This herb is effective in relaxing stiff joints, kidney pain and congestion and inflammation of the kidneys and bladder.
Feverfew: This herb has been used for centuries to relieve headaches, stomach aches, toothaches, migraines and rheumatoid arthritis. Pregnant women should avoid using this herb.
Rosemary: This helps in relieving pain of heartburn, gout, headaches, toothaches, joint pains and muscle pains.
Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese practice can relieve pain by balancing the body’s natural energy pathways; this involves an acupuncturist placing thin and tiny needles into the part of the skin that is related to the source of the pain.
Based on the flow of energy known as qui; the needle may be inserted far from the part of the body experiencing pain. This act relieves pain by triggering the body to release serotonin and it can ease chronic pains including those associated with migraines and osteoarthritis.
Sage: This herb is potent against sore throat pain, toothache and muscle pain.
Boswellia: This herb contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties; it is effective in treating pain from sport injuries and osteoarthritis knee pain.
Slippery elm: Native Americans have used this herb for centuries to treat wounds, ulcers, burns, boils, sore throat, toothaches, stomach pain and skin inflammation.
Therapeutic massages: This helps to relax tensed muscles and increase the flow of blood; this improves healing and reduces pain. It also releases endorphins which are powerful in relieving pains.
Thyme: This is an excellent pain reliving herb that works better than ibuprofen in relieving menstrual cramps and pains; it soothes sore throat, relieves stomach pains, muscle aches and joint pains.
Fennel: Fennel seeds are richly packed with 16 analgesic and 27 antispasmodic chemicals; it is effective in relieving pains especially menstrual cramps but it is not safe for pregnant and nursing mothers because of its estrogenic effects.
Heat and ice: Applying heat and ice directly to the site of pain is effective in relieving pains; ice is used to reduce swelling and inflammation experienced in muscle, tendons or ligament strain while heat is used to reduce stiffness that comes with strains and sprain. A cold pack on the head can relieve headache; moist heat applied on the joints will relieve the pain of arthritis.
Green tea: This is an effective natural painkiller; it helps in relieving muscle pain and relieving stiff muscles. It has 9 muscle relaxing chemicals and those who take green tea often have a higher threshold for pain and have fewer occurrence of muscle pain.
Laugh often: Studies have confirmed that regular laughter increases the tolerance of pain; it also increases the circulation of blood and oxygen in the body and raises the levels of endorphins.
There are lots of laughter therapies and laughter yoga that helps people laugh often and enjoy the benefits of laughter without having any reason to laugh. These therapies just focus on laughing for its own sake. To know more about the therapeutic power of laughter’ get this book by Norman Cousin “Anatomy of an illness”.
Licorice roots: This herb is rich in many anesthetic and anti-inflammatory compounds; it is effective against a wide variety of pains including sore throat. Those on medications for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma and kidney disease should not use this herb.
Exercise: Exercises and maintaining a good aerobic condition help in improving pain in most people; during the exercise, the body produces its own painkillers like endorphins and other hormones that can increase the threshold for pain. Endorphins react with brain receptors and can change the perception of change.
Oregano: This herb is loaded with many analgesic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory compounds; it is a powerful natural pain reliever.
Drink lots of water: Try to keep your body well hydrated, this will help reduce pain; it helps back pain by reducing the stiffness, by hydrating the intervertebral discs and keeping them healthy. It also helps the blood in the transportation of nutrients and oxygen throughout the structures of the body; this helps in healing and it reduces the intensity of pain felt.
Aloe vera: This is a great pain reliever; it can instantly relieve pain from burns by applying the fresh gel directly on the affected area. It can also relieve other types of pain like arthritis pain; joint pains, sunburns and menstrual cramps.
Fish oil: Fish oil supplement is an anti-inflammatory agent and it is widely known that inflammation plays a large role in pain. A study suggested that patients with back or neck pain take up to 1200 mg of fish oil supplement a day.
In that study; after 75 days of taking this supplements, more than half of the 125 patients who reported back said they have stopped taking their prescription painkillers.
Cat’s claw: This is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that is potent in reducing pains and swellings; it is used to treat arthritis pain, reduce swelling and even boost the immune system.
Get quality sleep: During deep sleep; healing happens and this helps in promoting healing and managing pain. Try to get long hours of quality sleep at night and also try to relax and get short naps during the day.
Eucalyptus: This herb is rich in tannins which are potent in reducing pains and swellings; it is commonly used in the treatment of arthritis. When combined with heat; this herb can greatly minimize arthritis pain and reduce swollen joints.
Resveratrol: This is the active compound found in red wine, grapes and berries; studies report this compound works on a cellular level to regulate pain. It also has other important benefits like anti-cancer, brain protecting and prolonging lifespan.
Thunder god vine: This is an ancient Chinese herb that has been used for centuries to treat pain and suppress an overactive immune system; only extracts from the skinned roots are used because extracts derived from other areas of the vine can be poisonous but long-term use is not advisable and it should be prescribed by a qualified herbalist.