Many individuals use opiates for pain relief. These medications work well for awhile, but eventually the body adapts to them and develops a tolerance. When this happens, the pain relief usually subsides, and now the medication is just preventing the individual from getting sick.
I can’t even tell you how many people have commented or emailed me about this happening to them. Injuries, surgeries, chronic pain, back problems and more, there are countless individuals who are taking prescribed opiates to relieve pain and improve quality of life.
When people finally get the courage to come off opiates, they often still have the pain to deal with. At this time natural painkillers can be very beneficial.
Natural painkillers are plentiful and diverse throughout the world. I’m truly fascinated with all of the different ways in which we can use the gifts of nature to ease pain. Furthermore, the fact that we can make pain disappear by manipulating our bodies and minds is wondrous, and it reveals how intricate and dynamic the mind-body connection is.
For most of my life I’ve been fortunate enough to live pain-free, however, within the past few years I’ve consistently battled recurring shoulder tendinitis, neck tension, and a rotator cuff partial tear. Going from an active life of surfing and circuit training to a more sedentary one has been an adjustment. The rehabilitation process has been quite an undertaking, but I’ve managed to make exceptional progress, and I’ve learned a lot along the way.
The following list of natural painkillers is the result of my in-depth research, using myself as a guinea pig, to find the absolute best holistic remedies for pain relief. I’ve found that using several of these natural painkillers together works quite well.
1) Noni Concentrate
My absolute favorite natural painkiller is a fruit called Noni which grows in the Polynesian islands. Noni juice concentrate has been clinically proven to increase the body’s natural production of nitric oxide.
After learning about nitric oxide (NO), I’ve found the “Holy Grail” to natural pain relief, energy production, cognitive health, and many more extraordinary health benefits for opiate detox and recovery, fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic pain, nerve pain, and just about every pain syndrome you can think of.
In 1998, three scientists won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their research on nitric oxide.
In their paper, they stated “nitric oxide maintains, defends, and repairs every cell in the body.”
After reading many articles and watching a lot of doctors give lectures on the many benefits of nitric oxide, I became totally fascinated with it. And after trying out an organic whole food supplement called Kyani Nitro Xtreme that is clinically proven to increase the body’s natural production of nitric oxide, I was instantly hooked, and I’ll be taking this everyday for the rest of my life.
Now I’m going to share with you some science and research-based slides from a presentation by world-renowned Dr. Tom Burke:
- Pain goes away if nerves receive normal levels of oxygen. Think of grandma’s heart pain (angina)
- Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels and increases oxygen delivery to nerves
- Oxygen = More ATP produced by nerves
- ATP regulates nerve function
- More oxygen = less pain
Decreased Pain: Two Reasons:
- Better blood flow = less pain (think of a rubber band around your finger)
- Direct inhibition of pain signals…exactly the same way that narcotics decrease pain
Nitric Oxide and Pain Relief:
- The molecular mechanism of action of peripheral morphine analgesia: stimulation of the cGMP system via nitric oxide release.
- Morphine + receptor = nitric oxide…pain relief
Aspirin for Pain:
- Aspirin induces nitric oxide release from vascular endothelium: a novel mechanism of action.
Dr. Burke then goes on to site numerous studies discussing the major role of nitric oxide in decreasing pain with fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other types of pain. In the presentation, he is recommending the use of Kyani Nitro Xtreme to increase the body’s natural production of nitric oxide.
This herbaceous perennial plant is a member of the ginger family. Native to southeast India, the active phytochemical that gives turmeric it’s anti-inflammatory and natural painkiller benefits is curcumin, which has been shown to block the COX-2 enzyme.
In a recent study of rheumatoid arthritis patients, it compared to the drug phenylbutazone, and provided equivalent improvements in shortening the duration of morning stiffness, increasing walking time, and decreasing joint swelling. My favorite curcumin product is Curamed.
A root that is indigenous to southern China, ginger has phytochemicals called gingerols, which are structurally similar to the COX-2 inhibitors in Advil and other NSAIDs.
In two clinical studies involving patients who responded to conventional drugs and those who didn’t, physicians found that 75% of arthritis patients and 100% of patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief of pain and/or swelling.
4) Montmorency Cherry Juice Concentrate
Montmorency cherries are high in anthocyanins, which are water soluble antioxidants that have the following benefits: cardiovascular, immune support, angiotension, enzyme blocker, anti-bacterial, anti-viral. In a study done at Michigan State University, researchers found that anthocyanins may have more powerful anti-inflammatory effects than aspirin.
The researchers found the anthocyanins in the equivalent of 20 cherries to inhibit COX-2 enzyme. This helps to relieve inflammation in a similar fashion to the way NSAIDs do. My favorite product is Dynamic Health Organic Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate.
Qigong is one of the least-known natural pain relief alternatives s in the West. In a randomized trial, routine practice of qigong seemed to significantly decrease pain in patients with fibromyalgia and lessened the impact of the disorder.
In another randomized control trial, the objective was to evaluate whether qigong was more effective and not inferior to exercise therapy for patients with chronic neck pain. 123 patients, 88% of whom were women, were involved. The study concluded that qigong was more effective than no treatment in patients with chronic neck pain.
In a block-random placebo-controlled clinical trial, researchers studied the effect of qigong on treatment resistant patients with late-stage complex regional pain syndrome type 1. By the last training session, 91% of the qigong patients reported analgesia compared to 36% of control patients.
The study concluded that qigong training was found to result in transient pain reduction and long-term anxiety reduction. My favorite qigong DVD for pain relief is QiGong for Self-Healing.
6) Wild Salmon
This cold water fish is high in the long-chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Hundreds of studies have suggested that omega-3′s can help reduce inflammation. According to Joseph C. Maroon, MD, co-author of Fish Oil: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory, large amounts of long-chain omega-3′s reduce the inflammatory process.
A diet rich in salmon or fish oil containing long-chain omega-3′s is a good place to start if you’re looking for natural painkillers. My favorite fish oil product is Nordic Naturals DHA.
In my opinion, meditation is one of the most beneficial ways to relieve pain naturally. By closing your eyes, breathing slowly and deeply, and focusing on relaxation of your entire body, pain can dissipate in a manner of minutes.
There have been numerous studies concluding that meditation is one of the most effective natural painkillers.
Meditation is free, has no side-effects, and also benefits many other emotional, spiritual and physiological aspects of the body and mind. An amazing DVD for beginners to learn is Meditation for Beginners.
When it comes to natural relief of pain, this one’s in a class all it’s own. Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) is a natural compound which is a by-product of wood processing. DMSO is an effective natural painkiller, blocking nerve conduction fibers that produce pain.
It reduces inflammation and swelling by reducing inflammatory chemicals. It improves blood supply to an area of injury by dilating blood vessels and increasing delivery of oxygen, and by reducing blood platelet aggregation. I highly recommend reading The DMSO Handbook for Doctors. It’s a super short manual that can teach you how to use DMSO for pain relief and other ailments.
One of the strongest natural painkillers is kratom, a tropical deciduous and evergreen tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. Kratom has natural painkiller benefits because it’s an opioid agonist.
This means that it mimics the effects of drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and other opioid painkillers. 7-OHM is the mu-receptor agonist in kratom that causes opioid euphoria similar to hydrocodone, cross-tolerance to morphine, etc.
Using kratom for pain relief can be very effective due to it being one of most powerful natural painkillers in the world. Many people have enjoyed the benefits of kratom for chronic and other types of pain.
It’s a natural solution to using prescription opioids, yet despite this, there are still some risks and concerns with it’s use. If one uses it too long an addiction and dependence can develop. My favorite company to get kratom from is TopExtracts.com.
This supplement is a combination of the D- and L- forms of the amino acid phenylalanine. The L- form is found in protein rich foods, and bolsters mood-elevating chemicals in the brain, specifically dopamine and norepinephrine. The D- form is made synthetically in the laboratory, and it appears to block a nervous system enzyme that amplifies pain signals.
Therefore, DLPA may prevent the breakdown of the brain’s natural painkilling chemicals. Research indicates that DLPA can be an effective part of an overall program for chronic pain and mild depression. My favorite product is Solaray DL-Phenylalanine.
11) Cissus Quandrangularis
A type of plant that is part of the grape family, cissus quandrangularis is very high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has been shown to reduce inflammation. Inflammation can cause pain, swelling and numerous other health problems.
Many experts compare the natural painkilling effects of cissus quandrangularis to Aspirin or Ibuprofen. An 8-week course of supplementation with cissus quandrangularis reduced joint pain in a sample of 29 young, healthy, exercise-trained men. My favorite product is Cissus Pro 1000.
12) Systemic Enzymes
The word “systemic” means body wide. Systemic enzymes are those that operate not just for digestion but throughout your body in every system and organ, and they can be used as natural painkillers. Hundreds of published studies have documented the effectiveness of systemic enzymes in reducing inflammation, swelling and internal bleeding associated with athletic injuries.
In a study involving 31 athletes suffering from sprains and strains, the ones that were given systemic enzymes reported significant pain relief within two days and returned to training three and a half weeks post injury. The group given medical treatment did not report pain relief for seven to nine days and did not resume training for six weeks. My favorite systemic enzyme product is Garden of Life Wobenzym.
Running, swimming, weight training and other forms of exercise cause the body to produce endorphins, which are our natural painkillers. This natural morphine works fast in the body to ease feelings of both physical and emotional pain. Exercise is free, fun, and can lead to improved mental, emotional and physical well-being.
14) Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate with 85% cocao decreases inflammation molecules before they start. Think of it as a very delicious version of an Aspirin. Reducing inflammation is critical because inflammation can cause the feeling of pain. In one study, rats that were given chocolate while a light bulb was lit under their cage had a reduced sensation to pain.
15) Massage Therapy
Massage, whether conducted in a softly lit day spa or a treatment room at a physical therapy clinic, is something many people use to soothe sore joints and muscles, to ease anxiety or to help them sleep better.
This is actually one of the most powerful natural painkillers I’ve ever tried. After a 90 minute full-body massage, my pain was completely gone, and I had a feeling of relaxation and euphoria that lasted for hours.
Acupuncture is a complementary therapy that is being increasingly used in the day-to-day management of pain. It originated in China over 3,000 years ago and is practiced worldwide. Countless studies have shown acupuncture to be one of the top natural painkillers available.
If you have any questions about natural painkillers, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment box below.