5 Natural Pain Relievers
When something hurts—headache, bruise, muscle strain—huge numbers of Americans “pop a Tylenol.” It’s one of the most popular OTC medicines ever. More than 20 billion doses are sold each year. And let’s be fair—it’s good at relieving pain. It’s also good at causing deadly liver damage.
Too many Americans pop too much Tylenol at a single go—an overdose. And too many others pop a Tylenol regularly over time, far more often than the recommended “occasional use.”
This must stop. Better alternatives are easily available.
There’s a monster in there
Acetaminophen (also called paracetamol) is the active ingredient in Tylenol and other pain relievers.
It can turn a “safe” drug like Tylenol into a killer—far too easily.
Acetaminophen overdose causes more Poison Control Centers calls every year than any other substance—more than 100,000. And every year, it brings on:
- More than 56,000 emergency room visits
- 2,600 hospitalizations
- An estimated 458 deaths due to acute liver failure— nearly half of all such deaths in the US.
A little too much is way too much
One serious problem with acetaminophens is that even taking only a little more than directed over several days or weeks represents a dangerous threat to your liver.
And not to pile on, but you increase your risk of severe liver injury or death even more if you:
- Take more than one regular strength (325 mg) acetaminophen along with a narcotic analgesic like codeine or hydrocodone
- Take more than the prescribed dose of an acetaminophen-containing product in any 24-hour period
- Take an acetaminophen-containing product along with another one.
- Drink alcohol while taking acetaminophen. Even a small amount increases your risk of kidney dysfunction by 123%.
Beware the double dip
To compound these problems, many OTC and prescribed pain relievers contain acetaminophen along with their other ingredients. So if you take a 325 mg dose of Tylenol and another med with 25 mg of acetaminophen, you’re 25 mg over the safe limit—inviting liver trouble. Be sure to read the contents of all meds.
Finally, prescribed gets proscribed … sort of
In 2014, the FDA finally urged doctors and pharmacies to stop prescribing and dispensing prescription meds containing more than 325 mg of acetaminophen per dose.
But products remain on the shelves that go over that limit. So please, always check the label before you take any medication containing acetaminophen.
Better still, check out the alternatives.
Safe, natural pain relief
It’s been here all along—in many cases, for centuries.
With the FDA finally slowing the flood of acetaminophen in prescription meds, I hope these proven natural pain relievers will become the go-to remedies.
Massage is a super healer.
Remember, up to 90 percent of all diseases have their origins in inflammation. Here’s how massage pushes and pulls you back to better health:
- Reduces your heart rate and blood pressure
- Calms inflammation by boosting lymph circulation
- Stimulates blood flow through muscles
- Relaxes tight muscles
- Encourages sinus drainage
- Increases your own pain relievers like endorphins and serotonin
Acupuncture is another centuries-old healing method that uses very slender needles to stimulate points in the body that are constricted. (Don’t let “needles” put you off. Most human hair is twice as thick.)
It relieves all types of pain and illness. As with massage, it stimulates the healthy, healing, flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients all through the body.
AcuPhoton therapy is a new technique that’s a blessing for patients with soft tissue injuries, arthritis, or similar conditions. It combines acupuncture and photon therapy in a safe, non-invasive treatment for pain.
A photon is a skin-penetrating light wave that can identify areas of poor circulation and inflammation, which then become targets for acupuncture.
Combining the two techniques results in faster repair of damaged cells and tissue.
Eat to ease or avoid the pain
Of course, nature gives us a delicious buffet of foods that help prevent and fight pain.
Curcumin, an ingredient of turmeric, the “curry spice” is our go-to recommendation. Pain originates in inflammation—which curcumin is proven to quell.
We recommend 500 to 2,000 mg of curcumin daily. For best absorption, look for a product with enhanced bioavailability.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) are another pain-easing option. These good fats prevent inflammation and lubricate joints, a common source of pain. I recommend 1,000 mg of purified marine oil daily.
Cherries contain powerful antioxidants that inhibit inflammation and the pain enzymes it generates. Try 45 a day in season.
Ginger soothes an upset stomach, eases nausea, and relieves pain from migraines, arthritis, and sore muscles. Try ¼ teaspoon a day.
Hot peppers reduce your body’s store of a chemical that relays pain signals. Try ½ teaspoon a day.
The list goes on forever.
Of course, not eating the dangerous Standard American Diet of over-processed, under-nutritious, sugar-soaked, preservative-deadened food is perhaps the single most important pain preventive of all.
Take good care.
- “Acetaminophen Information.”
- “FDA Finally Changes Prescription Recommendations for High-Dose Acetaminophen.”
- “10 Healing Foods That Fight Pain Naturall“
- “5 Surprising Natural Painkillers.”
Last Updated: May 7, 2020
Originally Published: September 23, 2016