Natural Ways to Relieve Pain and Fibromyalgia
With the many potential side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, herbal medicine for pain relief is becoming more and more popular. Often chronic pain is caused by inflammation. See my full blog here on how to reduce inflammation (part 1)
Natural Options for Powerful Pain Relief
Here are non-drug alternatives for the treatment of pain. This list does not represent all of the approaches available just some of the best strategies I have found in my research. If you are in pain, try these before prescription painkillers, steroid injections, or surgery of any kind.
Ess ential Oils –
Marjoram, Frankincense, Lemongrass. I recommend only using therapeutic grade suitable for consumption. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for links to the only one I use.
I had a client with incredible bone on bone hip pain as she waited to get surgery.
She used a combination of oils and cream:
- Deep blue rub topically for pain.
- In a capsule – Marjoram, Frankincense and Lemongrass, (5 drops each) in a capsule, as a great pain pill.
- DDR prime to help repair tissue damage.
- Cypress, Lemongrass and Frankincense topically, mixed with coconut oil, to reduce inflammation as well.
She ended up needing the surgery but before she had it, she went from barely being able to stand up on her own to hiking her dog in the canyon. I’ve recommended the same protocol for other clients with great success on different types of intense pain.
To buy Therapeutic grade Edible Oils email email@example.com for links since regulations don’t allow me to give the links out publicly.
Foods to Eliminate:
Although it’s not the only cause, Pain (especially chronic) is a direct result of inflammation. Because of this, you will want to eliminate foods that cause inflammation. Here is a list of foods to avoid and why:
- *Limit Sugar as Much as Possible. Increased insulin levels will typically dramatically worsen pain. Limit all sugars including fresh fruit juices. Eat only limited amounts of organic whole fresh fruit if at all.
- *Eliminate or radically reduce most grains from your diet. Avoiding grains and sugars will decrease insulin and leptin resistance, which is one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
This would also include eliminating organic unprocessed grains. Wheat and gluten grains are the top ones to avoid as well as any empty carbs such as pastas, breads, white flowers and even potatoes.
- Eliminate corn, wheat, dairy, citrus, soy and nuts. In a study, 17 fibromyalgia patients agreed to After 2 weeks without eating any of the potential food allergens, nearly half of the patients reported “significant reduction of pain,” and 76% reported a reduction in other symptoms such as headache, fatigue, bloating, heartburn, and breathing difficulties.
- Avoid processed foods, preservatives and additives as well as pesticides and chemicals.
Additives such as MSG often cause trouble for pain because it is an excitatory neurotransmitter that may stimulate pain receptors; glutamate levels in spinal fluid have been shown to correlate with pain levels in fibromyalgia patients.
- Avoid nightshade vegetables. Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant may trigger arthritis and pain conditions in some people.
- Avoid caffeine. Fibromyalgia is believed to be linked to an imbalance of brain chemicals that control mood, and it is often linked with inadequate sleep and fatigue. Stimulants like caffeine can keep you awake hours after drinking it.
- Avoid pasteurized dairy. Many fibromyalgia sufferers have trouble digesting milk and dairy products. However, many find that raw dairy products, especially from grass fed organic sources, are well tolerated.
- Avoid aspartame. The artificial sweetener found in some diet sodas and many sugar-free sweets is part of a chemical group called excitotoxins, which activate neurons that can increase your sensitivity to pain.
- Eliminate or strictly limit alcohol consumption.
You might be reading this list and thing, Oh, great, these are all the foods I eat everyday. To this I say, yes and this is why you have the pain. For this reason, a lifestyle change is much overdue to stop the addictions most of these foods cause. Like other addictions, after a few days the cravings subside. See my breakfast blog here on how to start the day without any of these foods.
Circadian Rhythm and Sleep
Another important thing to note is your circadian rhythm. Getting to bed on time is a key factor in dealing with pain. In a nutshell, if you go to bed after midnight you’ve already missed over two hours of your physical repair cycle, which should start around 10 p.m. People working the graveyard shift or parents getting up in the middle of the night regularly have their psychogenic repair cycle disrupted. Such people commonly have a laundry list of nagging musculoskeletal injuries, an increased incidence of headaches, a sagging personality and even neurogical disorders. Not getting eight hours of rest during the 10pm to 6am cycle also can create an increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, having a negative effect on pain and inflammation. See my full blog here on understanding your circadian rhythm and sleep.
Foods to Add: (click photos for links)
- Eat high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats. Pastured/organic beef, chicken, wild Alaskan salmon, and especially krill oil, which contains highly absorbable phospholipid-bound omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work, they manipulate prostaglandins.)At the same time, you want to eliminate all trans fat and fried foods, as these will promote inflammation.
Cod Liver oil is an omega 3 supplement I like
- Coconut oil has been found to be beneficial to people with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and hypothyroidism.
- Drink plenty of pure, filtered water that is fluoride-free. I like the pitcher in the link as it removes more than any other pitcher I have found. (click photo for link) (See my blog on water filtering here)
- Eat as many raw foods as possible for their enzymes – 80% of your diet is a good number to shoot for. Cooking food to above 118 degrees F destroys enzymes and reduces nutrient uptake. This is especially important when you eliminate all empty carbs.
Vitamins & Supplements:
Watch this part of the video where this doctor talks about how he is having success giving his fibromyalgia patients iodine and their pain is diminishing.
- Optimize your production of vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain. If you are not able to do this, supplement with a high quality one such as in the phone (click photo for link)
- Astaxanthin is one of the most effective fat-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than anti-inflammatory drugs. Higher doses are typically required and you may need 8 mg or more per day to achieve this benefit.
- Collagen for joint pain and arthritis , tendonitis. See my full blog here o Collagen
Vital Proteins Pasture-Raised Collagen Peptides
Herbs: (click photos for links)
- Ginger: This herb has potent anti-inflammatory activity and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice. See my video on how to make Ginger/Turmeric Tea here.
- Curcumin: In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility.21 A past study also found that a turmeric extract composed of curcuminoids blocked inflammatory pathways, effectively preventing the overproduction of a protein that triggers swelling and pain.22
- Comfrey Root – Comfrey, a perennial shrub, is traditionally used to reduce inflammation as well as heal pulled, sprained, or strained muscles and ligaments. Research shows that ointment containing comfrey extract may lower back pain significantly,15 although you shouldn’t use it longer than 10 days because it can lead to liver damage if used chronically.
- Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains specific active anti-inflammatory ingredients. This is one of my personal favorites as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.
- Cetyl myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a “joint lubricant” and an anti-inflammatory. I know people who have used this to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards. I used a topical preparation for this.
- Evening primrose, black currant, and borage oils: These contain the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
- Cayenne cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
- Medical cannabis has a long history as a natural analgesic.23 At present, 20 US states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes. Its medicinal qualities are due to high amounts (about 10-20 percent) of cannabidiol (CBD), medicinal terpenes, and flavanoids. Varieties of cannabis exist that are very low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the psychoactive component of marijuana that makes you feel “stoned”—and high in medicinal CBD. The Journal of Pain,24 a publication by the American Pain Society, has a long list of studies on the pain-relieving effects of cannabis.
- Hot and cold packs, and other mind-body techniques can also result in astonishing pain relief without any drugs.
- Grounding or Earthing, or walking barefoot on the earth, may also provide a certain measure of pain relief by combating inflammation. If you are not able to touch the earth because of time or weather conditions you can get an earthing mat: See my full blog on earthing by clicking here.
– Reduce Your Stress – People with persistent negative thoughts and anxiety are more likely to suffer from back pain.6
– Meditation – Meditation can be a powerful pain reliever. Among volunteers who had never meditated before, those who attended four 20-minute classes to learn a meditation technique called focused attention (a form of mindfulness meditation), experienced significant pain relief – a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness.7
Dr. Lipman says he has seen firsthand how meditation can help his patients cope with chronic pain, and the Mayo Clinic has had success with the technique, as well. “Recent studies suggest that meditation training can be helpful in dealing with chronic pain,” says Dr. Bauer. If you want to try meditation, but aren’t sure where to start, Dr. Weil recommends simple breathing exercises, which can lessen your perception of pain. His favorite is the 4-7-8 breath. To try it:
• Sit or lie in a comfortable position and place the tip of your tongue just behind your upper teeth.
• Exhale completely through your mouth, making a gentle “whoosh” sound.
• Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a count of four.
• Then hold your breath for a count of seven.
• Finally, exhale completely through your mouth (“whoosh”) to a silent count of eight.
• Inhale and repeat the cycle three more times.
See my full blog on Meditation here
Moving your inner Energy or what the Chinese Call your Chi:
– Acupuncture – Although it might require a bit more time to achieve results. In one analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine,11 researchers concluded that acupuncture has a definite effect in reducing chronic pain, such as back pain and headaches – more so than standard pain treatment.
good for: Chronic back pain, migraines, tension headaches, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, sciatica, and rheumatoid arthritis.
What the experts say: Part of a complete medical protocol focused on correcting imbalances of energy—known as qi or chi—in the body, says Dr. Weil. “There remains no scientific consensus on the mechanism behind acupuncture’s effectiveness,” he says, “but research published from Nature Neuroscience online showed that the careful placement of needles in specific acupuncture points affects the activity of adenosine, an amino acid that becomes active in the skin after an injury to ease pain.” Dr. Bauer says that the Mayo Clinic is currently offering it to some patients for pain management. And Frank Lipman, MD, an integrative physician and founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness in New York, says it’s about time: “I have been using acupuncture for the last 25 years with incredible effects. Not only does it help with pain but often—and more importantly—it improves functioning of the nervous system and musculoskeletal system, which is often the cause of the pain.”
– Qigong and Tai Chi –
A form of Chinese martial arts, tai chi is an ancient form of self-defense that is said to support the balance of “yin and yang” in your body, thereby improving the flow of “qi,” or life energy. Often described as “moving meditation,” the activity moves your body through specific movements flowing from one to the next. A 10-week tai chi program has been found to improve pain and disability in people with persistent low-back pain.13
What it’s good for: Arthritis, lower-back pain, and fibromyalgia
What the experts say: These slow movements may be as effective as prescription pain killers for some pain patients, according to new research. Women with fibromyalgia reported less pain after practicing qigong, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Medical School study, although larger trials need to be conducted to confirm these benefits. When qigong was combined with meditation in a University of Maryland study, the two treatments reduced pain as effectively as prescription drugs. Fibromyalgia patients may also benefit from practicing tai chi, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers say these findings support previous research showing the benefits of tai chi for musculoskeletal pain, though the underlying mechanisms aren’t yet fully understood.
Click here for more info and instructional videos here.
If it is back pain you are experiencing I would highly suggest this book by Dr. Sarno (click photo for link)
– The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) borrows from the principles of acupuncture, in that it helps you balance out your subtle energy system. It helps resolve underlying, often subconscious, negative emotions that may be exacerbating your physical pain. By stimulating (tapping) well-established acupuncture points with your fingertips, you re-balance your energy system, which tends to dissipate pain and relieve stress.
– Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Talking with a therapist, with a focus on changing your thoughts and behavior, helped relieve back pain after just six weeks. After one year, nearly 60 percent of those who received cognitive-behavioral therapy reported that their pain was gone (compared to 31 percent of those who did not receive therapy).12
What the experts say: “In terms of mind-body management, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is probably the approach that works best for chronic pain,” says Daphne Miller, MD, an integrative physician with a private practice in San Francisco. In fact, CBT is significantly more effective than standard treatments for people with body-wide pain, according to a study published in the January 2012 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. That’s because lifestyle changes and stress reduction not only help reduce pain, but they also help you cope with the symptoms when they flare up.
– Physical therapy is a very important part of any pain management program. A physical therapist can tailor the right exercise regimen for you to avoid the pain worsening due to incorrect movement or overdoing it. Proper exercise slowly builds your tolerance and reduces your pain.
– Hypnosis and Guided Imagery
What it’s good for: Lower-back pain and possibly fibromyalgia
What the experts say: As out-there as it sounds, hypnotherapy is now among the recommended treatments for lower back pain by the American College of Physicians/American Pain Society. Here’s how it works: “Hypnotherapy is used to induce a state of consciousness marked by deep relaxation yet increased intensity of awareness,” says Dr. Weil. “It is often likened to daydreaming.” You are then guided by a hypnotherapist to focus on the idea of promoting healing and relieving pain.
“Another method, guided imagery, is often considered a form of hypnosis,” says Dr. Weil. During a typical session, you are guided to concentrate on images held in the mind’s eye that can create positive physiological changes in the body, including the relief of pain.
Other Powerfully Effective Pain Resolving Techniques:
− TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) therapy
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a therapy that uses low-voltage electrical current for pain relief. You do TENS with a small, battery-powered machine about the size of a pocket radio. Usually, you connect two electrodes (wires that conduct electrical current) from the machine to your skin. The electrodes are often placed on the area of pain or at a pressure point, creating a circuit of electrical impulses that travels along nerve fibers.
When the current is delivered, some people experience less pain. This may be because the electricity from the electrodes stimulates the nerves in an affected area and sends signals to the brain that block or “scramble” normal pain signals. Another theory is that the electrical stimulation of the nerves may help the body to produce natural painkillers called endorphins, which may block the perception of pain.This is used most often to treat muscle, joint, or bone problems that occur with illnesses such as osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia, or for conditions such as low back pain, neck pain, tendinitis, or bursitis. People have also used TENS to treat sudden (acute) pain, such as labor pain, and long-lasting (chronic) pain, such as cancer pain.
Although TENS may help relieve pain for some people, its effectiveness has not been proved.
All about TENS here – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2746624/
– Melt method
The MELT Method is a simple self-treatment that reduces chronic pain and helps you stay active. Just 10 minutes of MELT three times a week in my experience has helped people greatly
It works on balancing the nervous system and connective tissue. MELT boasts results in the first session with a goal to improve your body’s ability to restore balance and repair itself, for lasting changes. MELT offers natural pain relief, allowing you to address the true cause of chronic pain, not just mask the symptoms. They use specialized techniques, a soft body roller, and four different balls, MELT is designed to reconnect whole-body communication, rebalance the nervous system, rehydrate the connective tissue, and release compression in joints. MELT can help you fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly, have more energy during the day, improve your posture, reduce stress and tension, shed excess body fat, and even reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- See – https://www.meltmethod.com/
- Find an instructor and learn more about MELT here – http://instructor.meltmethod.com/finder/instructors
– K-Laser Therapy
Several beneficial things happen during K-Laser treatment. First, infrared laser therapy treatment helps reduce pain, reduce inflammation, and enhance tissue healing—both in hard and soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments, or even bones. These benefits are the result of enhanced microcirculation, as the treatment stimulates red blood cell flow in the treatment area. Venous and lymphatic return is also enhanced, as is oxygenation of those tissues. Finally, the treatment stimulates the cytochrome oxidase enzyme in your cells’ mitochondria. This is really one of the key discoveries in the whole science of laser therapy. Specifically, injured cells are targeted because damaged cells are more readily accepting of photons of light, whereas healthy cells don’t need this extra energy. As explained by Dr. Phil Harrington, who is an expert on the use of K-Laser therapy:
“By stimulating the cytochrome oxidase enzyme, we are utilizing that oxygen in the respiratory chain inside of the mitochondria, producing more ATP for that cell. So regardless of what kind of cell it is, it’s going to function at a higher level.”
The three infrared wavelengths of the K-Laser target water, hemoglobin, and the enzyme to most efficiently stimulate cellular metabolism. The K-Laser is unique in that it is the only Class 4 therapy laser that utilizes three infrared wavelengths that penetrate deep into the body to reach areas such as your spine and hip.
Though research on herbal remedies is still in its early phases, many herbs are thought to provide pain management and decrease inflammation. However, it’s important to exercise caution. “Herbals or other nutraceuticals that may help in some way — as well as those which may not actually help — do almost universally have the potential to harm through unwanted side effects, allergic reactions, and undesirable interactions with other substances and medicines,” says Sam Moon, MD, MPH, associate director of education at Duke Integrative Medicine, a division of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. “Relative safety must be very carefully balanced against likely effectiveness.”
By utilizing the information presented on this site, you agree to and understand that author, Bill Farr is not a doctor or any other type of certified health care professional, and his opinion is not a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your doctor or your other health care providers concerning your symptoms and medical requirements before following any of the remedies or other suggestions he offers. His opinion is based on his own research and is to be used for educational purposes only. Bill Farr’s wellness plans and advice are meant to be used in conjunction with standard allopathic or osteopathic medical treatment and care.