Got chronic pain that just won’t quit? These simple natural remedies are proof that you don’t have to put up with pesky aches and other annoyances anymore. Here’s how to beat chronic pain for good.
Practice slow exercise.
Tai chi, yoga, qigong (pronounced “chi kung”) — doing any form of gentle, low-impact exercise for 25 minutes daily could reduce your aches and pains 73 percent — better results than even prescription pain medications can provide, Chinese studies show.
Relaxing, calming motion cuts your production of cortisol, an inflammatory, pain-producing stress hormone that also slows the healing of damaged tissues. Tip: Try free lessons on YouTube to find out which of these exercises appeals most to you.
Massage away your pain.
Rubbing tender spots with a lotion containing the fatty-acid extract celadrin can ease pain and swelling, often in as little as 30 minutes, report researchers in The Journal of Rheumatology. And unlike oral pain meds, an anti-inflammatory lotion is so safe you can use it as often as necessary! One option: Now Foods’ Celadrin Liposome Lotion ($10.53, Amazon).
Tip: To maximize the benefit, apply your celadrin lotion right after a hot bath. Warm water boosts the flow of its healing nutrients to damaged muscles and ligaments, providing up to 25 percent more pain relief, Stanford University researchers recently reported.
Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) — which uses rhythmic stretching and gentle pressure to speed healing and make joints less tender — really works, University of North Texas researchers say. Their studies prove that as little as 15 minutes of OMT weekly for six weeks can cut stiffness and pain in half, even for women whose pain is so severe that they’ve been considering surgery.
To find an osteopath near you who practices OMT, log on to: DoctorsThatDo.org, and choose one with “OMT” in his or her description. Many insurance providers now cover this treatment, but check with yours to be sure.
Get your fish oil.
Including 12 ounces of fish or seafood in your weekly diet could cut stiffness and achiness as much as 55 percent, research shows. Fish is rich in healthy fats (DHA and EPA) that reduce fluid buildup and help repair hurt muscles, nerves and tendons, says James Nicolai, M.D., author of Integrative Wellness Rules ($15, Amazon). Even easier: Take a daily 2,000-mg. dose of a fish oil that contains DHA and EPA, advises Dr. Nicolai.
Toss a rainbow salad.
No need to eat even more fruits and vegetables to feel great — just focus on eating a variety of produce in eye-catching colors. (For example top lettuce with red onion, orange carrots, yellow mango, and purple cabbage.)
Yale University scientists have discovered that eating colorful produce (rather than greens alone) as much as triples your intake of carotenoids, plant pigments that soothe pain nerves, tame inflammation, and regenerate damaged tissues. This step is so effective, eating only two “rainbow” salads or other colorful dishes daily could reduce the ouch and ache 33 percent in four weeks, reports the Journal of Pain.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.