What can you do when you experience pain? Many pharmaceutical pain killers might be effective and useful at times, however are shown not to work and to cause your body damage long term. Paracetamol for example is associated with liver complications, increased mortality, cardiovascular adverse events (fatal or non-fatal myocardial infarction, stroke, or fatal coronary heart disease), gastrointestinal adverse events (ulcers and complications such as upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage) and renal impairment.
Pain is quite complex and not always easy to diagnose. Watch this short video for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIwn9rC3rOI
There are things that you can do to manage your pain. First I would recommend you keep a diary of your pain: when it starts/gets worse/better, what you have eaten before your pain starts, what else has happened etc. This will empower you and provide you with information about your pain, so that it will be easier to manage.
AVOID foods that cause inflammation:
Unhealthy fats (saturated fats, trans fats, Omega 6 fatty acids)
Refined carbohydrate (white flavor products, white rice)
Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) – found in many processed foods and soy sauce
Gluten and casein – proteins found in wheat and dairy
Increase vegetables, fruit, fish, nuts, olive oil and probiotic food (kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, kombucha) in your diet.
NATURAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SUPPLEMENTS
Consider taking natural anti-inflammatory supplements, as pain often is the manifestation of the inflammatory process. As always I recommend talking to your naturopath before you start taking any natural medication. Here are the ones I like to use for my clients:
Omega 3 EFAs (Fish Oil)
The anti-inflammatory effects of the active ingredients in fish oil, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been well documented. Please choose a good quality fish oil to ensure quality control that tests for mercury and other chemicals as well as to avoid purchasing rancid oil.
Be aware that fish oil can enhance the effect of blood thinning medication and should be stopped 2 weeks before surgeries.
Curcumin is derived from turmeric (Curcuma longa) and has long been used as an anti-inflammatory agent in Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine. Turmeric is generally safe at recommended doses, however can cause stomach upset if supplements are taken for a longer period. You should be fine if you include turmeric in your food.
Like fish oil, curcumin can enhance the effect of blood thinning medication and should be stopped 2 weeks before surgeries. Diabetic should be aware that it can lower blood sugar.
The polyphenolic compounds called catechins in green tea have shown both anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective properties, therefore are perfect for arthritis. The antioxidants in green tea have also been recognised to help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Another plant based polyphenol, resveratrol, is found in high amounts in red grapes. It has been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-mutation, antioxidant and DNA protective actions.
No significant side effects have been established, however it could have anti-platelet effects, so be careful if you take any blood thinning medication.
A healthy gut flora is necessary to combat inflammation! Choose a good quality probiotic with multiple strains.
There are many herbs that can assist with pain and inflammation. I like to use Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) and Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), which are often successfully used in studies for arthritis and other pain. There are many others and I would always recommend to talk to your naturopath/herbalist before starting with herbal medicine.
Last but not least, exercise helps to reduce pain. Exercising outside in nature also helps you to restore your nervous system.
If you struggle with pain and would like an individual naturopathic consultation, please contact me to schedule your appointment.
Yours in Heath,