Did you know we’re smack bang in the middle of National Pain Week (22nd-28th July)? It seemed like a great time to discuss pain and appropriate natural remedies for it. Pain can take many forms, inflammatory joint pain, headaches and migraines, back and neck pain from poor posture, lack of condition or an injury and even neuralgic pain from injuries and viral infections (eg post herpetic neuralgia). Pain can also be acute (short term) or chronic. The type, location and cause of pain all determine the most appropriate treatment for that pain. For example herbal treatment for rheumatoid arthritis would be quite different from treatment for migraines.
Many herbs have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties for example Willow bark, Turmeric, Ginger, Devil’s Claw, Boswellia, Feverfew and Jamaica Dogwood and are indicated for different conditions. For example Jamaica Dogwood is an effective analgesic for migraines and nerve generated pain whereas Devil’s Claw has added anti-inflammatory properties which make it ideal for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Of course ginger, turmeric and chilli can be incorporated into the diet for added effect. If the pain is autoimmune in origin (eg lupus) it is also logical to treat the underlying condition by re-calibrating the immune system.
Nutritionally, the most important factor for inflammatory pain is deep sea fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines and reducing intake of animal fat. Magnesium is also a common deficiency which will contribute to myalgic (muscle) pain, cramping and period pain. Good sources of magnesium include lean meat, nuts, seeds, tahini, yeast and chocolate which is why many women crave chocolate at period time.