6 Natural Pain Relievers That Could Do You The World of Good
Relax on a heat and massage chair, eat anti-inflammatory foods and more – you might not have to reach for your medicine cabinet to cure your aches and pains...
Relax on a heat and massage chair, eat anti-inflammatory foods or balance your “chee” with acupuncture – you might not have to reach for your medicine cabinet to cure your aches and pains…
Almost 5 million people aged 65 and over are in some degree of pain and discomfort, but you shouldn’t have to tolerate yours as part and parcel of aging – whether you suffer with chronic back ache, inflamed arthritic joints or another ailment. Here’s how you could try to make yourself more comfortable without painkillers like aspirin or paracetamol, especially if you’re already taking a variety of medications or if you’re sensitive to the side effects of medicine.
1. Heat and Massage Therapy
Melt the pain away and warm up your achy muscles or joints for at least 15 minutes to make them feel less stiff. Heat increases the flow of oxygen and healing nutrients to the damaged areas, so why not grab a hot water bottle or a microwavable heat pack before your medical painkillers?
Make your bathroom more accessible with bath steps or lifts, shower stalls or chairs. When you really want to take good care of yourself, soak in a bath of essential oils or Epsom salts or sit down to enjoy a lovely long shower, knowing that you can safely get out.
Alternatively, relax on one of our seven heat and massage chairs, starting from as little as £85. Not only do they warm you up, but also you can try to take your mind off pain with an 8-point vibration massage that starts at the push of a button. Two massage units will ease the tension in your upper back and shoulders, lower back, upper thighs and lower legs, releasing the feel-good hormones that help to ease pain.
The Canterbury and Hainworth riser recliners, for example, raise your feet to help relieve the pressure in swollen feet or ankles. Meanwhile, your back and neck will be properly supported when you recline, which helps to ease the pressure on joints such as bad hips or knees.
2. Spending ten minutes outside
Get your fill of vitamin D, especially if you have osteoarthritis. As little as 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight a day can help your body produce a healthy, pain-relieving dose of vitamin D. Improving your mobility with walking aids and rollators, electric bikes or wheelchairs is our speciality, so you might have more options than you realise when it comes to making the most of the great outdoors.
3. Braving traditional acupuncture
Try to rid yourself of tension-type headaches or migraines, dental pains or chronic aches in your neck or joints by embracing your body’s self-healing powers. Ask your GP for a course of acupuncture, up to 10 sessions are sometimes available on the NHS, so pay a visit to a practitioner for 20 to 40 minutes a session.
When you’re comfortably sat or lying down, your acupuncturists will insert fine needles just a few centimetres long into your skin or deeper to reach the muscle, where they’ll stay for up to half an hour. Your practitioner might rotate the needles or run a mild electric current through them, depending on your level of pain.
A "life force" known as Qi (“chee”) is said to flow through your body in channels called meridians – when it doesn’t flow freely, you’ll feel ill. So, restore the flow of Qi with acupuncture and feel better without medication.
4. Trying a little light exercise
Walk for 10 minutes three times a day, play with the kids, try your hand at gardening, stretch from the comfort of your chair – there are plenty of exercises you could try which release pain-reducing endorphins and reduce your risk of further injury, stiffness and pain. Meanwhile, being a healthy weight reduces the chance of your arthritis worsening, because there’s less pressure on your back, hips, knees and ankles. Why wouldn’t you get up and about with a rollator or tri-walker?
5. Willow Bark remedies
Chew it or brew a mug of tea, take it in capsule form or as a liquid supplement – white willow bark contains a chemical that’s very similar to the main ingredient in aspirin, giving it an anti-inflammatory effect that helps increase blood flow and reduce swelling.
If you’re sensitive to ibuprofen, ask your doctor before taking white willow bark and reach for peppermint instead – it’s a natural remedy for toothaches, discomfort from bloating and gas, joint conditions, skin irritations, headaches and muscle pain.
6. Eating anti-inflammatory foods
Eat well to give your body the nutrients it needs to fight painful inflammation. Fill your cupboards with anti-inflammatory foods to ease your joint pain, whether you suffer from gout, rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. Read our complete list here. Think tart cherry juice, trout or tuna – fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation in your arthritic joints, reducing swelling and pain. Alternatively, snack on strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
Not all of these techniques will work for you, so please do remember to talk about any pain you’re experiencing – it’s your body’s signal that something is wrong, so don’t hesitate to ask your doctor to diagnose the cause and cure for your troubles.