If you are feeling a little achy, inflamed, or have a nagging headache, your first reaction may be to pop a couple Tylenol. However, a recent study has suggested that, for certain conditions, Tylenol may be no more effective than a placebo. Acetaminophen can also be hard on the liver, especially if taken on a regular basis. And, most of the time, a natural remedy could work just as well, if not better.
Here are 6 natural anti-inflammatory pain relievers to consider adding to your lifestyle before popping some over-the-counter meds:
Magnesium-rich foods: We’re talking spinach, almonds, chard, and dark chocolate. Epsom salt baths can boost your levels, too. Low-magnesium levels can contribute to migraines. Some studies have shown that many migraine-sufferers exhibit magnesium deficiency in comparison to those who don’t get migraines. If you eat a lot of sugar or drink a lot of caffeine, your body needs even more magnesium than it would normally. If you’ve been getting headaches more often than usual, maybe you should take a look at your diet and get your levels tested.
Water: Sometimes, all you really need is a little (or a lot of) water. If you are suffering a headache or joint pain, try drinking a little more water to restore your body’s balance. Pain relief may indeed be that simple. Water lubricates your joints, so being chronically under-hydrated could impact joint pain and can certainly lead to slight dehydration headaches.
Hot peppers: Capsaicin, the active ingredient that gives peppers their hot mojo, is excellent at relieving pain. When applied topically, capsaicin can dull sensitive nerve endings, thereby providing rather effective pain relief, especially for those with arthritis. When ingested on a regular basis, capsaicin not only serves as a pain reliever, but it also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and keeps blood sugar levels stable.
Ginger: A natural anti-inflammatory, ginger can stave off a headache before it even starts. If you feel a headache coming on, sip some homemade ginger brew or pop a couple of quality ginger capsules. As an added benefit, ginger famously helps with your digestion, too!
Peppermint oil: For headaches, peppermint oil has been shown to work wonders. As most headaches are often caused by tension, acetaminophen sometimes does little to relax the actual muscles. Peppermint oil, on the other hand, has been shown to be very effective at inducing muscle relaxation and soothing soreness. Plus, its scent is invigorating!
Turmeric: Another powerful anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric, can help prevent inflammation-driven pain before it starts. In general, turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that even boasts possible anticancer benefits. Here’s the chance to work on that curry recipe!
While taking OTC meds can be helpful, it is easy to become over-reliant. At times, you may simply need to readjust your lifestyle and incorporate some more natural medicines into your routine. And, as always, consult with your doctor first if you have any concerns.