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Pain Relief Tips


Water Helps Reduce Pain

F. Batmanghelidj, M.D., says that many types of pain are due to chronic dehydration in the body. . (1)   Drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day can help reduce pain all over the body.  It helps flush out toxins, lubricates and cushions your joints, helps relieve congestion and keeps your body in balance. 

Foods Can Help Reduce Pain

According to Neal Barnard, M.D., author of several books on the healing properties of foods, certain foods are excellent painkillers, especially green leafy vegetables and beans.  The following foods help cool the body's inflammatory response, act as analgesics on pain nerves and work within the brain to reduce sensitivity. (2)

apples apricots avocados bananas
beans beets berries broccoli
cabbage cantaloupe carrots cauliflower
celery chard cherries cucumber
currants dates figs garlic
ginger grapes kale lettuce
mangoes melons mushrooms olives
papaya parsley peaches pears
peppers potatoes pumpkin radish
raisins soybeans spinach squash
sweet potatoes turnips  



MSM is not a medicine, a drug or a food additive:  it is a food. (Methylsulfonylmethane) is an organic form of sulfer which can be found primarily in fruits, vegetables, meat, milk and seafood.  It offers a natural way to reduce pain without serious side effects. 

MSM has shown a remarkable ability to reduce or eliminate muscle soreness and cramps.  People with arthritis report substantial and long-lasting relief with MSM supplements.  Taken along with glucosamine, MSM can relieve pain and help repair worn or damaged cartilage in joints with healthy, flexible new cells. (3)


Calcium and magnesium are the two minerals most often recommended for treating pain.  Calcium is recommended for arthritis, more as a preventive than as a painkiller.  Recently, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that pain from pre-menstrual syndrome was reduce by half in women given supplemental calcium. (4)


This mineral, which is found in soybeans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fish, has long been valued in treating migraines because it acts as a muscle relaxant.   It is considered one of the most promising nutrients in headache research. (5)  In a 1996 German study of 81 migraine patients published in the headache journal Cephalgia, 41.6 percent of subjects taking oral magnesium reduced both the duration and intensity of migraine attacks.  They also reduced their reliance on medications to control their migraines. (6)'

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine sulfate has been shown to be effective in reducing arthritis pain, which may be due to its ability to repair joints. (7)  Used together, glucosamine and chondroiten can reduce joint pain and may help build new cartilage, according to a study at Boston University School of Medicine.  The treatment worked so well for Jason Theodosakis, M.D., who suffered from severe osteoarthritis, that he is now medication free.

Fatty Acids

American researchers suggest that a combination of magnesium taurate and fish oil may help prevent migraine headaches, based on the ability of both to reduce blood vessel spasms. (8)

A 1997 study showed that gamma-linolenic (GLA) and alpha-linolenic (ALA) fatty acid supplements reduced the severity, frequency and duration of total migraine attacks by 86 percent.  During the six month study, 22 percent of the 169 patients no longer had migraine attacks, and 90 percent experienced less nausea and vomiting. (9)


This anti-inflammatory action of arnica can be used topically to ease the pain of bruises and sprains.


Calendula is an excellent herb for most skin disorders, including diaper rash, sun burns, bruises and insect stings and bites.  It has a soothing effect on irritated skin by reducing inflammation and combating infection.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne contains capsaicin, which stimulates the brain to secrete endorphins that help block pain signals.  A recent trial showed that cayenne helped reduce arthritis pain (10)


Chamomile contains bisabolol, which has anti-inflammatory properties and relaxes the muscle lining of the digestive tract.  Several studies indicate that chamomiles is a good digestive aid.


Feverfew prevents and treats migraine headaches by inhibiting the production of inflammatory substances.  In a 1988 randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study reported in Lancet, feverfew treatment was associated with reduction in the mean number and severity of migraine attacks. (11)


An herb that is reported to stimulate blood circulation, which helps to heal skin irritations such as cuts, insect bites and stings and bruises.  It is a strong antioxidant and is an effective anti-microbial agent for sores and wounds.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba extracts have been shown to reduce leg pain (12)


Peppermint can be used to soothe digestive pain. "Peppermint is probably our best-known remedy for stomach problems," says herb researcher Daniel B. Mowrey.   It owes its healing power to an aromatic oil called menthol.

Some Foods May Increase Pain
(Try to avoid or limit them)

The worst include

alcohol coffee chocolate citrus fruits
corn dairy eggs meat
nuts salt sugar wheat
tea barley oats rye


asparagus barley bread brussel sprouts
butter cake candy canned fruit
chickpeas coconuts cookies cornflakes
cornmeal crackers doughnuts dressings
ice cream jams & jellies oatmeal onions
pasta pastries pickles pies
pizza sodas tea tomatoes


Back Pain Tips


Maintain Good Posture

Try not to slouch or bend forward when sitting or standing.   Maintaining good posture helps reduce strain on your muscles. 

Comfort At Work

Use chairs, desks and equipment that support your back and help you maintain good posture. 

Take Breaks

Sitting for long periods of time can increase tension in your body, especially on your back.  The longer you sit, the worse it can get.  Get up at least once every hour and move around a bit.  Change positions frequently during the day.   Break up tasks (such as driving for long periods of time) into shorter segments.

Bend Your Knees When Lifting or Carrying

Try to avoid lifting or carrying heavy objects.  When you do lift,  bend your knees and carry the object against your body.  Bend your knees when you put the object down.  Do not bend straight over, turn or twist to pick something up.

Choose A Comfortable Mattress

Test your mattress.  Lie on your back and slide your hand under your lower back.  If there is large gap, your mattress may be too hard.  If you have to squeeze your hand in, it is probably too soft.  If your hand slides in fairly easily, the mattress is probably just right for you.


1.  Batmanghelidj, F., M.D., Your Body's Many Cries For Water, Global Health Solutions, 1997.

2.  Barnard, Neal, M.D., Foods That Fight Pain.  Harmony Books, 1998.

3.  Total Health 1998.  "MSM".  Feb/Mar., Vol. 20, No. 1.  pp. 30-31.

4.  Calcium Helps PMS, Study Shows, Natural Healthline Web site:  (www.naturalhealthonline.com).

5.   Batchelder H., PMS Naturally, Rocklin, CA, Prima Health, 1998.

6.  Piekert A., et al, "Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium:  results from a prospective multicenter, placebo-controlled and double blind randomized study".  Cephalagia 1996;16:257-63.

7.  Kelly, G.S., The role of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfates in the treatment of degenerative joint disease.  Alt Med Rev, 1998; 3(1):27-39.

8.  McCarty, M.F., Magnesium taurate and fish oil for prevention of migraine.  Medical Hypothesis 1996 Dec; 47(6):461.

9.  Wagner W, Nootbaar-Wagner U.  Prophylactic treatment of migraine with gamma-linolenic and alpha-linolenic acids.  Cephalagia 1997 Apr:17(2)127-130.

19.  Milla SY, Jacoby RK, Chacksfield M, Willoughby M.  Effect of a proprietary herbal medicine on the relief of chronic arthritis pain:  a double blind study.  Br. J. Rheumatol. 1996; 35(9):8740878.

11.  Murphy JJ, et al.  Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of feverfew in migraine prevention.  Lancet 1988 Jul 23;2(8604):189-92.

12.  Drabaek, H., Petersen, J.R., Weinberg N., Hansen, K.F., Mehlsen, J.  The effect of ginkgo biloba extract on patients with intermittent claudication.  Ugeskr Laeger, 1996; 158(27): 3928-393


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