Fight Pain Naturally

Sardines

What does fish, turmeric, and green tea all have in common (other than a great lunch)?

They are all natural sources of anti-inflammatory agents and produce a significant amount of pain relief.

Typically, people with inflammation will take a NSAID (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) to relieve their aches and pains. Common NSAIDS are Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), and Naproxen (Aleve).

Did you know that there are natural alternatives to NSAIDS and that they carry a lot less side effects? NSAID side effects include but are not limited to gastrointestinal upset, gastritis, ulceration, and can adversely affect the kidneys.

Omega 3 EFAs (fish oil) are one of the ways that we can naturally help reduce the inflammation in the body. A study of 250 patients with cervical and lumbar disc disease, who were taking NSAIDS, revealed that 59% could substitute fish oil supplements as a natural anti-inflammatory agent for NSAIDS.

One of the sources for fish oil are through capsule supplementation, we recommend buying from a reputable company (Nordic Naturals). Another way is by food, eating fish 2-3 time per week. The fish should be oily flesh, wild caught, and live in cold water (we really like fresh sardines); if you have concern on quality and environmental impact the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a great website called Seafood Watch.

Turmeric is a flowering plant in the ginger family and an often favorite of Indian cuisine. Curcumin, is the most active part of turmeric. Used in many healing traditions for centuries, both in ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine (called Jiang Huang or “ginger yellow”), new research has given credence to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Green tea, more known for its cardiovascular and cancer preventative characteristic due to its antioxidant properties. The tea has now been getting more recognition for its use in treatment with arthritic conditions. The current research now demonstrates both anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective (promote joint health) effects. Typical recommendations for green tea are 3-4 cups per day.

These are just a few of the many natural alternatives to drug therapy. As with any drug that you take at pharmaceutical recommendations, please consult with a health care provider that is knowledgeable in natural alternatives. There are side effects and drug interactions that you will need to be informed about. All therapies should be in the guidance of a health care professional.

Resources

Weil, Dr. Andrew, “Omega 3”Dr. Weil, July 2nd, 2013  http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/ART00398

“What are NSAIDS” Orthoinfo, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. January 2009, July 2nd 2013.  http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a0028

Maroon JC, Bost JW, Maroon A. “Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief.” Surg Neurol Int.2010;1:

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3 thoughts on “Fight Pain Naturally

  1. Thanks for the great post, Mario. Many of my clients have recently been asking about anti-inflammatory foods and supplements. The safety of fish and how to select the right qualities to ensure safety has been a particular concern. I really appreciate the tips on selecting fish and the link to Seafood Watch. I have had great success in the use of tumeric for inflammation for myself as well as chia seed. I like to take in addition to eating fish as a way to avoid getting too many toxins, especially if I have been eating our a lot and I can’t be sure of the fish source.

  2. Mario, this is a great post. I recently did a workshop on nutrition for cardiovascular health and showed studies on how fish oil alone will make a dramatic difference in just a couple months! Thank you for posting!

  3. Jennifer – Glad to provide a resource for our patients to get more information on how to fight their chronic inflammation naturally.

    Shanti – Fish oil can be very helpful in reducing inflammation and I’ve had a lot of pain reduce or eliminate their pain medication through proper supplementation.

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