Thursday, January 5, 2012

Oh the PAIN!

I don't know if you remember the story about the last time I took Tylenol to relieve my EPISODE cramps. Well, I took too much, destroyed my stomach, and haven't taken it since.

TYLENOL CONSUMPTION: 6 pills x 3/day x 1-2 days = recipe for serious disaster
ADVIL CONSUMPTION: 2 pills x 2/day x 1-2 days = I can deal with this

Ever since I "became a woman" at the age of 13 I have had debilitating cramps. They used to be so bad that I would be bed ridden for 2 whole days (either at home or in the nurses office at school). I think people thought I was exaggerating, but I assure you I was not. I remember my mom being like, "How are you going to go to work when you get older?" Trust me, that is not something you want to hear when you are 13 and have just been involuntarily thrown into bloody torture that will repeat itself EVERY MONTH FOR THE NEXT 40 YEARS!!!!!!

Anywho...I just came across this article from Dr. Mercola on natural pain killers and thought I would share it with you. I am going to start using some of this stuff and see if it works. These suggestions are more along the lines of prevention than band-aid (which is what Tylenol & Advil are).
  • Start taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat like krill oil. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work, they positively influence prostaglandins.) The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA contained in krill oil have also been found in many animal and clinical studies to have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars (including fructose) from your diet. Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most profound stimulators of inflammatory prostaglandin production. That is why eliminating sugar and grains is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
  • Optimize your production of vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain.
  • In the meantime, you don't need to suffer unnecessarily. The following options provide excellent pain relief without any of the health hazards that acetaminophen and other pain relievers carry:
    • Astaxanthin: One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than many NSAIDs. Higher doses are typically required and one may need 8 mg or more per day to achieve this benefit.
    • Ginger: This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
    • Curcumin: Curcumin is the primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric. In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility.  In fact, curcumin has been shown in over 50 clinical studies to have potent anti-inflammatory activity, as well as demonstrating the ability in four studies to reduce Tylenol-associated adverse health effects.  
    • Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or "Indian frankincense," this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties which have been prized for thousands of years. This is one of my personal favorites as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.
    • Bromelain: This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful.
    • Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a "joint lubricant" and an anti-inflammatory. I have used this for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards. I used a topical preparation for this.
    • Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils: These contain the fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
    • Cayenne Cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body's supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
    • Therapeutic modalities such as yoga, acupuncture, meditation, hot and cold packs, and even holding hands can also result in astonishing pain relief without any drugs. (Not sure if holding hands is really going to help my raging cramps)
I have incorporated some of these into my diet, but not consistently. I am going to work on being more consistent which includes getting back to hot yoga. I started doing hot yoga 2 years ago and love it! I can't do it more than once a week though without getting burnt out, but it is great cardio and stretching.  

Does anyone have any other natural pain remedies?


  1. After about a year being all raw, vegan, I had transitioned to an entirely "lowfat raw vegan lifestyle". During this time, my once crazy period became regular, then less and less, and the cramps disappeared completely. When I was younger, I even used ot throw up every other cycle. Ugh. Now, when I'm able to stay lowfat in my raw vegan lifestyle, I have similar benefits..and when I eat higher fat content, my body immediately tells me, and symptoms come back. Not exactly a "natural pain remedy"..but I will tell you that ripe bananas and raspberries GREATLY help reducing just need to eat a BUNCH of them. ;)

  2. Thank you Lisa! I will definitely try the bananas and raspberries asap, and working on my longer-term goal of becoming raw!


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