Updated: Feb 24
There are many side effects to regular use of over-the-counter pain medications that many people just don’t know about. These side effects include indigestion, stomach ulcers, stomach bleeding, dysbiosis (unbalanced gut microbiome), increased gut permeability or ‘leaky gut’ (which leads to food sensitivity and autoimmune disorders), liver and kidney damage, and even stroke.
There can be a time and place for these medications, however, they should not be your go to all of the time. There are many options for your natural medicine cabinet that can help you avoid pharmaceutical medications and still support pain relief and reduce inflammation while building up the body through nutrition.
Here are a few of my favorites:
CBD is an amazing adaptogen that helps the body to deal with stress and brings it back to homeostasis, back to center. I love it as a natural pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, and mood support. It is derived from the hemp plant containing phytocannabinoids.
Phytocannabinoids are plant-derived and health-promoting compounds that directly interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body. The cannabinoid receptors are part of a unique communication system in the body, known as the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is present throughout the entire central nervous system and is distributed among peripheral tissues including the immune and reproductive systems, gastrointestinal tract, brain cells, endocrine glands, arteries, lungs, and heart.
Since CBD helps the central nervous system respond appropriately to stimuli, it has many health-promoting benefits including:
Supporting the body’s pain response and reducing inflammation
Balancing the immune system
Supporting healthy and stabilized mood
Supporting memory and cognitive function
Supporting those with neurological disorders or those genetically predisposed and preventing the neurodegeneration associated with these disorders (Epilepsy, MS, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease)
Reducing oxidative stress and therefore supporting healthy blood pressure and heart
Supporting the movement of food through the digestive system as well as maintaining a healthy appetite
Supporting proper brain stimulation and cellular growth and activity
Supporting the healing of common skin conditions like acne
Even helping with weight management
SPM Supreme is a combination of three highly potent “specialized pro-resolving mediators” designed to help support the body’s natural ability to respond to physical challenges and “resolve” the initial steps in the body’s natural inflammatory processes. The “resolution” of a healthy inflammatory response is an active process controlled by these unique metabolites.
Specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) are derived from naturally-occurring omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in foods such as fatty fish, nuts, and seeds. They do not block the initial phase in the inflammatory pathway, which is a vital response to initial trauma or injury, but rather aid in the process of “resolving” it. In essence, SPMs signal the immune system, encouraging it to return to a state of balance or homeostasis.
I like SPM Supreme for more acute pain which can be titrated down or used on an as-needed basis as well. SPMs support proper pain management, aid in tissue repair and wound healing, and calm immune system activity without suppressing a healthy immune response.
Specific conditions where SPM Supreme can be helpful include:
Tissue regeneration and wound healing
Asthma and allergies
Periodontal disease and oral surgery
Eczema and other skin conditions
Supports natural stress response
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)
I love turmeric and its biologically active form curcumin in general for pain and inflammation, but I recommend Curcum-Evail by Designs for Health due to its highly bioavailable curcuminoid formulation (though regular turmeric is best for overall gut inflammation). It contains a unique combination of three bioactive, health-promoting curcuminoids: curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and dimethoxy curcumin, along with turmeric oil. The three curcuminoids are the strongest, most protective, and best-researched constituents of the turmeric root with a high absorption rate.
We know that inflammation is a common risk factor for disease occurrence and progression. Inflammation can lead to joint tissue destruction, cancer, cardiovascular events, insulin resistance/diabetes, and brain/liver/kidney degenerative diseases.
Curcumin helps support a healthy inflammatory response. It has been shown to reduce both acute and chronic inflammation caused by physical injury, joint wear, and tear, chronic infections, or inadequate antioxidant protection.
Curcumin can be used for:
Its antioxidant properties
Allergies and asthma
Autoimmune activity reduction
GI protection and healing
Promoting brain protection
Toxic metal binding
Liver and gallbladder support
Reducing leaky gut syndrome
Even as an anti-microbial
Inflammatone is a powerful formula designed to help support a proper inflammatory response by affecting multiple pathways in your body while facilitating healthy blood flow without the undesirable side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs. It is a combination of herbs, nutrients, and proteolytic enzymes that provide natural support for a healthy inflammatory response and help protect against oxidative stress.
Ingredients include proteolytic enzymes which, when taken on an empty stomach, move systemically throughout the body, breaking down damaged tissue. Turmeric, Boswellia extract, and ginger extract help modulate the production of inflammatory compounds. Quercetin, Rutin, rosemary extract, and resveratrol are all antioxidant compounds that help protect the body at a cellular level by limiting oxidative stress, which contributes to an activated inflammatory response. Any of these ingredients on their own are fabulous as well.
This supplement has been used for:
Brain injury recovery
Overall eye health
Pain and inflammation (including headaches)
Even Lyme disease
PMS and optimal fertility (especially for women with endometriosis, cysts, and fibroids)
Boswellia alone is also very supportive for pain relief and overall physical dysfunction caused by chronic diseases like osteoarthritis or inflammatory bowel disease. It can also help prevent cartilage loss and inhibit the autoimmune process.
Bromelain is a powerful enzyme found in pineapple that gives the fruit its astringency. It also has potent anti-inflammatory properties – in fact, about the same as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with less side effects. It is a great option for postoperative support.
Baxaprin is a revolutionary approach for the complications of physical and stress-induced muscle tension and back pain. It's designed to optimize core musculoskeletal physiology to limit stresses on the spine and associated tissues that may lead to back pain and injury. Baxaprin helps deal with the underlying foundational causes at the tissue level that may lead to injuries and the resultant pain and inflammation.
The ingredients help regulate the natural contraction and relaxation of muscles that influence the spine. They also support the neurological actions of the motor neurons that control muscle function. If an individual is deficient in the nutrients required for physiological function of individual muscle cells, adjunct therapies such as physical therapy will likely not be maximally effective - you need the support of nutrition.
Nutrients calcium, magnesium, and potassium which are essential for nerve transmission and proper contraction/relaxation of muscle fibers
Vitamin D which has been shown to alleviate chronic aches in muscles, bones, and joints
Nervine botanicals Valerian, Passion Flower and Lemon Balm which are recognized for their relaxant properties
Baxaprin has been used for:
Loss of flexibility
Myofascial pain syndrome (trigger points) and muscle spasms
Stress induced muscle tension
ArthroSoothe Supreme offers comprehensive support for joints, providing the proper nutrition they need for healthy function, repair, and adequate lubrication, helping to reduce excess fluid that results in swelling and suboptimal joint health.
Joints, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and synovial fluid (joint lubrication) undergo a continuous but slow turnover and remodeling process. This is affected by many physiological factors such as diet, supplements, activity, stress, gut health, allergies, immune status, infections, aging, hormones, toxic load and/or various medications.
The continuous repair of joints and tissue is dependent on suitable and supportive nutrients (found in ArthroSoothe Supreme). Movement and proper exercise are also key though, as it improves blood and lymph circulation, which enables nutrients to reach their target tissues more effectively.
This would be a preferred choice for situations where more serious cartilage deterioration and/or injuries have occurred.
ArthroSoothe benefits include:
Provides nutritional support for joints and cartilage
Supports joint range of motion, flexibility and physical function
Offers antioxidant benefits; protects against free radicals
Magnesium deficiency alone could be causing problems or complications with headaches and muscle pain, twitching, aching, cramping (Charlie horses), tenderness and even restless leg syndrome. Magnesium mediates neurogenic inflammation and is a smooth muscle relaxant. Getting the recommended dosage of magnesium can help provide relief from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), fibromyalgia and other pain conditions. The recommended dosage is 400-800 mg per day – though some may need more. You know you have taken too much if stool becomes loose.
The best sources of magnesium rich foods include nuts - almonds, spinach, dark leafy greens in general, dark chocolate (70% or higher), fatty fish, brown rice, black beans, avocado, broccoli.
Fish Oil (Omega-3 fatty acids)
There are many studies that show the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids for several inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. It has been shown to decrease joint swelling, tenderness and achiness as well as increase overall flexibility. Omega 3s are naturally anti-inflammatory that promote gut health and decrease inflammation and muscle damage that can occur after exercise.
When searching for a quality fish oil, you will want it in triglyceride form (Nordic Naturals, Designs for Health) for best absorption. You are looking for both EPA and DHA – about 2g combined. You can also consume a diet rich in omega 3s for support as well: fish, shellfish, walnuts, ground flaxseed.
White Willow Bark
People have been using willow bark to ease inflammation, the cause of most aches and pains, for centuries. The bark from white willow contains the chemical salicin, which is thought to be the responsible factor for the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of the herb. Salicin is similar to the main ingredient in aspirin, with fewer side effects. It is mostly used for chronic headaches, back pain and to relieve menstrual cramps and joint pain. It is available in capsules, liquids and even in dried herb form for tea.
These are just some of many natural pain relivers. Keep in mind that your body has the natural ability to heal itself - if just given the right tools. Consider adding one or more of these supplements to your natural medicine cabinet for multiple health benefits as well as overall healthier ways to reduce inflammation and support pain relief without the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
*Everyone is different, please contact us with questions regarding medication interactions and/or which would be the best support for you. Interested in a more personalized plan? Schedule a FREE 15-Minute consult to discuss what Purely Rooted Nutrition and Wellness can do for you.
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