Most of us have the occasional aches and pains. We do too much too quickly and pay for it the next day or later the same day with soreness and pain. That is when we reach for the NSAIDs or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. And that is when our other problems arise. NSAIDs have side effects that often outweigh the benefits. There are natural options that not only help pain, but also aid in healing too.

Pill ManNSAIDs can cause many serious problems which include: • heart attack • stroke • high blood pressure • heart failure from body swelling (fluid retention) • kidney problems including kidney failure • bleeding and ulcers in the stomach and intestine • life-threatening allergic reactions and more. Use this safe link to read more about NSAIDs from the FDA.

According to a recent study by researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), women who took ibuprofen or acetaminophen two or more days per week had an increased risk of hearing loss. The more often a woman took either of these medications, the higher her risk for hearing loss. Also, the link between these medicines and hearing loss tended to be greater in women younger than 50 years old, especially for those who took ibuprofen six or seven days per week.

So before you reach for an NSAID such a Naproxen or Ibuprofen or even Asprin, reach for these natural alternatives for better health, better pain management and healing. The natural options relieve inflammation and pain from injury while accelerating healing.

1. Add Omega-3's to your supplement list. Taking high quality Omega-3's can reduce inflammation and pain by acting as a precursor to prostaglandin E3, one of the body’s most potent anti-inflammatory compounds. 

In a recent study published in Nov 2011 in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, researchers found that supplementation with lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla, Lippia citriodora) reduced symptoms of pain and stiffness significantly, and improved physical function as shown by WOMAC and Lequesne's scores after 9 weeks of treatment. Lemon verbena combined with omega-3 fatty acids may be considered for further investigation as a complementary and alternative treatment for improving joint status in subjects with joint discomfort.

Omega 3'sIn another study published with the National Institute of Health (NIH) the researchers said this:   Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. The use of NSAID medications is a well-established effective therapy for both acute and chronic nonspecific neck and back pain. Extreme complications, including gastric ulcers, bleeding, myocardial infarction, and even deaths, are associated with their use. An alternative treatment with fewer side effects that also reduces the inflammatory response and thereby reduces pain is believed to be omega-3 EFAs found in fish oil. We report our experience in a neurosurgical practice using fish oil supplements for pain relief. Our results mirror other controlled studies that compared ibuprofen and omega-3 EFAs demonstrating equivalent effect in reducing arthritic pain. Omega-3 EFA fish oil supplements appear to be a safer alternative to NSAIDs for treatment of nonsurgical neck or back pain in this selective group.

2. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) Although technically an omega-6 fatty acid, plant-derived gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) oil behaves more like an omega-3. It’s a precursor to prostaglandin E1, an anti-inflammatory compound made by the body. When combined GLA and omega-3s dampen inflammation and promote healing. Some studies have found that GLA lessens rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

In a 2009 published study titled "The use of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and rehabilitation in the treatment of back pain: effect on health-related quality of life." it found "All these outcome measure showed statistically significant decreases. Oral treatment with alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) for six weeks in synergy with rehabilitation therapy improved neuropathic symptoms and deficits in patients with radicular neuropathy."  

3. Vitamin D Low vitamin D levels are strongly associated with chronic pain, especially back and nerve pain. Mayo Clinic research shows a correlation between inadequate vitamin D levels and the amount of narcotic medication taken by patients who have chronic pain. This correlation is an important finding as researchers discover new ways to treat chronic pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States.  

Another study published in Pain Magazine found "The prevalence and clinical correlates identified in this pilot study provide the basis for the assertion that vitamin D inadequacy may represent an under-recognized source of nociception and impaired neuromuscular functioning among patients with chronic pain." 

4. Vitamin C This vitamin is essential to make collagen, a protein found in skin, muscle, cartilage, and bone—the tissues that tend to get damaged when exercising. Extra vitamin C encourages healing.

Follow the success of healing, pain relief and reduction of inflammation in your body with healthy exercise, healthy food/fuel choices and more wise natural supplementation.  I personally use Shaklee products because of their purity, potency and absorption is proven in clinical study after clinical study. Shaklee is the #1 Natural Nutrition Company in the US, why settle for less than the best!  Join me in better health! Elise

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.