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Natural Alternatives to Prescription and OTC Painkillers

By , Managing Editor
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Pain Relief Supplements
1.Advil Ibuprofen 200 mg
2.Preparation H Maximum Strength Pain Relief Cream
3.Advil PM Pain Reliever and Nighttime Sleep-Aid
4.Advil Children's Liquid Fever Reducer and Pain Reliever

When pain occurs, your only mission is to stop it. Whether it's a headache from the morning commute or aching joints from arthritis, pain is mentally, physically and emotionally preoccupying and we want fast solutions. There are plenty of pills out there to knock out pain, but long-term use of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) can be habit-forming and also lead to potential side effects.

On the October 10 episode of "The Dr. Oz Show," Dr. Mehmet Oz discussed new research that found extended use of ibuprofen and acetaminophen -- the two most most common OTC pain medications -- can lead to hearing loss. As an alternative, he recommended trying alternative therapies like feverfew, an herbal supplement available in capsule form, if you have a headache, and tart cherry juice for muscle or joint pain.

There are a variety of other natural pain supplements that boast some pretty amazing results, recommended by physicians of all medical backgrounds. Here are five more of the most popular:

1. MSM
This compound, methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is commonly recommended for joint pain and osteoarthritis. MSM is a natural source of organic sulfur which can be found in certain foods. When it comes to your joints, MSM has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (painkiller) properties, which help reduce swelling and stiffness as well as pain. MSM also supports the production of strong, healthy collagen, which improves mobility. You can find MSM in oral supplements, like tablets, capsules or powders, and it can also be seen in topical treatments like creams and lotions.

2. White Willow Bark
The main active compound in white willow bark is salicin, which is converted to salicylic acid within the body. The salicin has an analgesic effect and makes white willow bark very similar to aspirin, a popular OTC painkiller. This supplement reduces inflammation and fever and has antiseptic and immunity-boosting properties and white willow bark has been used since the time of Hippocrates for everything from back pain to headaches and tendonitis. You can find white willow bark in many forms, including tea and capsules. It can be taken daily, but not for longer that 12 weeks.

Dimethyl sulfoxide, or DMSO is most widely used as an industrial solvent, making it a more controversial choice for alternative pain treatment. DMSO is an organic sulfur compound found in trees that's a byproduct of making paper. DMSO is considered one of the least harmful solvents, which are typically used to clean metal objects or can be found in household items like paint thinner. DMSO was first investigated for its medicinal properties back in 1963 and today is used internationally to manage pain from inflammation, as with arthritis. DMSO is applied topically, either as a cream or an ointment.

4. Arnica
This natural supplement is produced from the perennial plant Arnica montana, a member of the sunflower family. This particular plant has been used medicinally since the 1500s for pain as well as inflammatory skin conditions and even insect bites. Arnica contains thymol derivatives, which have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. When used for joint pain, arnica has also been shown to reduce stiffness, increasing flexibility and range of motion. Arnica should be used topically and can be found in gels, creams and lotions to be applied directly to the site of the pain.

5. California Poppy
Produced from the official state flower of California, poppy extract is said to be as powerful as prescription pain medications like Percocet and Vicodin, without the potentially harmful side effects or risk of addiction. California poppy works by triggering the opiate receptors within the brain, which reduce the actual feeling of pain. California poppy is also taken as a natural sleep aid, because it alleviates anxiety and tension, allowing for deep, restful sleep. California poppy is most often taken in tincture form, with the average dose being 15 to 25 drops up to three times per day. Just be aware, California poppy can cause a false positive on a drug test for opiates.

Pain management is something to take very seriously. If you suffer from chronic pain, speak with your physician about the best treatment options available and before you start or stop taking any supplements or medications, to prevent potential interactions. Certain forms of low-impact exercise, like yoga, can also help you manage persistent pain without turning to prescription or OTC medications.

Shop for these and other pain solutions at eVitamins for a pain-free life.

Products you may like:

Nature's Way Feverfew  Nature's Way Feverfew 
Why you may like this product? Feverfew is an herb that helps reduce the inflammation and spasms within the brain that cause headache pain. This product contains more than 400 mg of feverfew per serving and can help reduce this common type of pain.
Solaray Organic Tart Cherry Juice  Solaray Organic Tart Cherry Juice 
Why you may like this product? If you work out regularly or suffer from arthritis, tart cherry juice is your answer to sore muscles and aching joints. This product contains only pure, organic tart cherry juice concentrate. Just add to water and sip away the pain.
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