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6 Natural Alternatives for Pain Relief

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently strengthened its warning that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

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NSAIDs are widely used to treat pain and fever for a variety of conditions such as arthritis, menstrual cramps, headaches, colds and flu. NSAIDs can be prescription or over-the-counter (OTC). NSAIDs include drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac and celecoxib.

Risks

Patients taking NSAIDs should immediately see their physician if they experience any symptoms associated with heart attack such as chest pain, shortness of breath, slurred speech or weakness in one side of their body.

New Label Warnings

The new labels will reflect the new findings with regard to the risks of taking NSAIDs, and the FDA recommends keeping your dose as low as possible and duration of use as short as possible, especially in people with a history of heart disease or stroke.

Let’s explore 6 alternatives to reducing pain that do not involve using NSAIDs.

  1. Massage therapy is a great alternative to NSAIDs for muscle pain. It can release the muscle tension that causes many headaches. Massage therapy has been proven to not only relieve muscle tension, but to also reduce pain from many chronic conditions. Visit The Massage Source to find a massage therapist in your area.
  2. Heat and cold applications (hot and cold packs) can reduce pain; cold can reduce inflammation in muscle tissue and in joints.
  3. Tai Chi or Yoga aid in reducing pain by maintaining flexibility in muscle, joints and other soft tissue through regular range-of-motion movements. Both traditions have been shown to assist in chronic pain management brought on by a variety of conditions.
  4. Many herbs, such as Willow Bark, have been used in traditional medicine to relieve inflammation and other causes of pain in the body. Many conditions can be relieved with herbal remedies including constipation, headaches and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Further, turmeric is a spice that has anti-inflammatory properties. Natural Wellness’ Turmeric 95 is a great source in capsule form.
  5. Acupuncture has been proven to aid the body in healing and to reduce pain from many conditions, both acute and chronic.
  6. Meditation has also been proven effective in reducing chronic pain conditions in the body.

When natural therapies are not an option, keeping your NSAID dose as low as possible and the duration of use as short as possible helps to minimize your risks. The best option, of course, is to avoid the increased risk of heart attack and stroke from NSAIDs by seeking out healthy, natural alternatives to taking painkiller drugs.

Recommended Reading:

Inflammation: Fighting the Many-Headed Monster

Webster, L. MD. (2015). OTC pain killers that can be deadly. Bottomlinepersonal.com. Retrieved on 11/9/15 from http://bottomlinepersonal.com/otc-painkillers-that-can-be-deadly/.

FDA Editors. (2015). FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA strengthens warning that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause heart attacks or strokes. Food & Drug Administration. Retrieved on 11/9/15 from http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm451800.htm.

FDA Editors. (2015). Medication Guide for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Food & Drug Administration. Retrieved on 11/9/15 from http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm089162.pdf.

Maroon, J.C.; Bost, J.W.; Maroon, A. (2010). Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief. Surgical Neurology International. 1: 80. Retrieved on 11/10/15 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3011108/?report=printable.

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