It’s only natural that people think of painkillers drugs to remedy the pain. Some pain medications like IV pain meds are not replaceable with any natural remedies, as they are the strongest and used in severe cases. However, there are a lot of natural painkillers for acute pain as an alternative to OTC or prescription medicine. Some drugs may have severe interactions, like antibiotics and painkillers from opioid class, so alternative pain meds might be safer than conventional medicine in such cases.
It’s always recommended to consult a doctor first, even if it comes to using natural painkillers.
Learn About Alternatives To Painkillers:
Essential oils work well as a natural alternative to painkillers. It’s widely used in aromatherapy treatment. The oils are applied either topically or through inhalation. Below are the most common natural oils that can be used as homemade alternatives.
Lavender Essential Oils
Children that took lavender oil through inhalation were subject to reduced usage of postoperative painkillers after a tonsillectomy. In fact, it can be used as pain management techniques without medication if the doctor considers this option acceptable.
Lavender may act as an alternative and natural anti-inflammatory to Tramadol when diluted and applied topically. Lavender is alternative pain medication for headaches, particularly migraine. Participants who inhaled the lavender felt instant relief.
Lavender is considered safe in case there is no allergy or other contraindications from the doctor, as specific medical conditions can irritate the skin when applied topically.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary oil is widely used as a natural alternative to painkillers for patients with acute pain. Stroke patients who used rosemary with acupressure experienced significant relief in pain. On the contrary, patients who only took acupressure felt about half the relief.
To achieve the maximum effect, dilute rosemary oil and apply to the targeted area of the skin. Rubbing it for a few minutes helps increase blood flow.
Rosemary is not suitable for damaged skin. It can cause irritation or make the condition worse. Sensitive areas like the eyes should be avoided when applying for this alternative pain medicine.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil works as a painkiller for stomach problems like bloating and pain. Peppermint has shown its effectiveness in reducing ache due to indigestion. It is also determined that peppermint might help relieve headaches to an extent.
To apply, mix a few drops of peppermint with a carrier oil and rub gently on the forehead. The area over the sinus and the temples should also be covered. Inhaling peppermint oil is also a natural pain-relieving method and is effective in reducing headaches.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil has been proven as a natural alternative to painkillers because of its anti-inflammatory properties. When paired with a plain carrier oil, eucalyptus becomes a tonic to sore muscles. Rubbing gently over the affected area, revitalizes the skin and reduced inflammation and pain.
Known side effects of eucalyptus oil are an allergic reaction. If taken orally, it might upset the stomach and create problems in coordination.
Cloves are best known for their analgesic effects as an alternative to pain medication for toothache. The ingredient responsible for relief in Cloves is Eugenol.
There is an oil variant which is created from the extracts of cloves.
To get the maximum results as a natural painkiller for toothache, dip a cotton bud or ball in clove oil and wipe over the aching gums. Whole cloves can also be applied to the affected area for a few minutes.
People with bleeding problems are advised to stay away from cloves. Some characteristics of cloves might thin the blood down and cause excessive bleeding.
Ginger has pain-relieving properties that work with muscle and injury-related pain. A cup of ginger tea works well with headaches and nausea.
Only 2 grams of raw or heated ginger was enough to reduce inflammation and ache among the study participants on the analgesic properties of ginger. Symptoms of osteoarthritis were neutralized with the help of natural raw ginger.
Limited consumption of ginger as alternative reliever has no known side effects, but overdoses might cause stomach ache and depress the central nervous system.
Capsaicin is an ingredient extracted from chili pepper, and it may work as a painkiller alternative. Arthritis, osteoarthritis, and joint ache can be neutralized with capsaicin cream.
Severe headaches like migraine can be neutralized to an extent by topically applying capsaicin cream. Capsaicin also cures deep muscle pain like hyperalgesia in the form of an injection.
Capsaicin shows some side effects when applied as a painkiller. Burn, redness, and itchiness are the most common side effects noted from using capsaicin as a natural alternative to pain meds. Consult a doctor before using capsaicin.
Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties that make turmeric a popular choice as a natural pain med.
Turmeric extracts possess the ability to reduce the joint aggravation commonly found in arthritis patients. It works well with other pains like an injury as an effective natural alternative.
Turmeric might upset the stomach, and it might thin the blood. So, people with blood density conditions should refrain from consuming turmeric.
Natural salicin found in the bark of willow trees is called nature’s aspirin. Willow bark works great as an alternative pain med in chronic headaches and back pain. Herbal painkillers often contain willow bark extracts to treat lower back pain.
Salicin also helps reduce menstrual cramps and inflammation. Willow bark is acquirable in a variety of forms like capsules, raw bark or tea. The liquid form of willow bark is consumable in limited dosages for chronic pain as an alternative to conventional pain meds.
Valerian root is often called nature’s alternative tranquilizer. It numbs the nerves resulting in pain relief. The application of the valerian root is fairly similar. As for how to make homemade painkillers, a cup of valerian root tea will do the job just fine.
Valerian root has been determined as a natural tool for pain management without medication in acute pain.
As valerian root masks the sensitivity of the nerves, it might cause drowsiness. Valerian root also works as an alternative to sleeping pills, so consumption should be limited and monitored by the doctor.
Feverfew properties help with migraine. It contains a few active compounds that directly act as an anti-inflammatory. Ingredients like tanetin and parthenolide are the elements in feverfew that help with migraine.
Although studies on feverfew concluded with contradictory results, feverfew works in reducing ache for the most part. Despite some cases show no effect on pain like a chronic migraine though it’s a good way to start relieving pain without medication if a doctor approves it.
Avoid taking this painkiller as an alternative while pregnant as it might cause early natural contractions. Heartburn, diarrhea, and stomach ache are common side effects of feverfew.
Magnesium has proved itself to be a natural pain reliever and nerve calmer. The pain-relieving property of magnesium is widely applied as it relaxes the muscles, but its usage as alternative nerve pain medication was started recently.
Natural magnesium deficiency is a big reason for chronic pain. As magnesium settles down the pain bearing chemical in the brain, it has become a cheap and great alternative to painkillers. It can primarily be cured with daily dosage of 250 to 500 mg of magnesium and be sure to consult a doctor first.
Excessive consumption of magnesium can cause nausea, vomiting, stomachache, and a variety of skin conditions. Hypermagnesemia is another negative outcome of a magnesium-rich products misuse.
Cat’s claw is most known for its effectiveness in treating two variants of arthritis, rheumatoid, and osteoarthritis. Freeze-dried cat’s claw extract is particularly helpful in treating osteoarthritis. It’s a prime ingredient of many alternative herbal pain medications.
Cat’s claw helps with osteoarthritis and reduces ache score significantly among the participants of a study about the efficacy and safety of freeze-dried cat’s claw in osteoarthritis of the knee. It can be taken as capsules or raw barks. When it comes to arthritis, cat’s claw is one of the best natural non-medication pain relief.
Consult a doctor to know if it’s possible to replace the regular pain medications for arthritis with cat’s claw.
Boswellia works as a painkiller alternative with a variety of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It can help increase pain threshold and cure inflammatory bowel conditions.
Side effects are the increased menstrual blood flow and the risk of miscarriage. Avoid taking this alternative pain medication while pregnant. It is always advisable to seek a doctor’s opinion before consumption of this alternative.
The process of needles inserting signals the brain to release endomorphin, which is a natural opioid neurotransmitter found naturally in human bodies, and which plays a main role in pain-relieving. Alternative acupuncture methods include Chinese, Japanese, and Korean acupuncture, where the needle width varies according to the needs of the patient.
The effectiveness of acupuncture has been well known to researchers. Skin rashes and allergic reactions are the most common side effects of acupuncture.
It’s always a good idea to consult a doctor before seeking acupuncture treatment.
Heat And Ice
Heat and ice are both very effective and proven natural methods in relieving acute pain. Heat therapy relaxes the muscle by increasing blood flow. It helps the muscle to heal quickly. Heat therapy excels in managing chronic pain without medication. Alternatively, ice reduces inflammation by lowering blood flow. Ice therapy instantly works as a painkiller in injuries and muscle damage. A general rule is to use heat for muscle stiffness and pain. Use ice for injuries or acute pain.
Yoga And Meditation
Chronic ache directly affects the brain’s grey matter volume. Yoga can improve volume through neuroplasticity. Yoga also improves white matter connectivity, and the ultimate result is similar to the effect of painkillers.
Alternatively, meditation works with the peace of mind. As there is no need for actual painkillers, people tend to disbelieve meditation, but brain imaging studies indicate that mindfulness helps soothe the brain waves to calm the pain.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Natural Alternatives To Painkillers
Many prescription and even OTC painkillers often come with various side effects and health risks. Natural painkillers may work as effective alternatives to many OTC and conventional pain medicines. Sometimes, they exceed the effectiveness of conventional painkillers.
Despite the use of natural painkillers can prevent painkiller overdose, they also come with health risks in certain situations. It is always necessary to consult a doctor before using any of the mentioned natural painkillers alternatives.
Nowadays, it’s possible to consult online doctors for pain medication that would be a useful alternative to regular pain drug. Also, it’s easy to buy natural pain meds online or simply search for how to make painkillers at home.
For some people, the use of prescription pain meds reaches the level of addiction, and the natural alternatives wouldn’t be helpful in such a case. Addiction treatment options would be needed, and it is straightforward to find, though. It’s special treatment, and it’s strongly advised to go through it at rehabilitation facilities.
Withdrawal from pain meds when stopping using them might be extremely painful, so it’s better to talk with a doctor about finding natural pain-relieving alternatives as soon as possible.
- Shaheen E. Lakhan, Heather Sheafer, Deborah Tepper. The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy in Reducing Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5192342/
- Soltani R, Soheilipour S, Hajhashemi V, Asghari G, Bagheri M, Molavi M. Evaluation of the effect of aromatherapy with lavender essential oil on post-tonsillectomy pain in pediatric patients: a randomized controlled trial. 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23932834
- Yang Suk Jun, Purum Kang, Sun Seek Min, Jeong-Min Lee, Hyo-Keun Kim, Geun Hee Seol. Effect of Eucalyptus Oil Inhalation on Pain and Inflammatory Responses after Total Knee Replacement: A Randomized Clinical Trial. 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703330/
- Mina Kamkar Asl, Ashraf Nazariborun, Mahmoud Hosseini. Analgesic effect of the aqueous and ethanolic extracts of clove. 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4075701/
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- Nafiseh Shokri Mashhadi, Reza Ghiasvand,Gholamreza Askari,Mitra Hariri,Leila Darvishi, Mohammad Reza Mofid. Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence. 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/
- Afshin Zare, Zabihollah Khaksar, Zahra Sobhani, Masood Amini. Analgesic Effect of Valerian Root and Turnip Extracts. 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6290317/
- Di Cesare Mannelli L, Tenci B, Zanardelli M, Maidecchi A, Lugli A, Mattoli L, Ghelardini C. Widespread pain reliever profile of a flower extract of Tanacetum parthenium. 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26141762
- Hyo-Seok Na, Jung-Hee Ryu, and Sang-Hwan Do. The role of magnesium in pain. 2011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507245/
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- K. Prabhavathi, U. Shobha Jagdish Chandra, Radhika Soanker, and P. Usha Rani. A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, cross over study to evaluate the analgesic activity of Boswellia serrata in healthy volunteers using mechanical pain model. 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4175880/