We talk about ginger a lot on this blog because it offers so many valuable health properties. But here’s one we haven’t discussed yet. According to this post, fresh chopped ginger can be used as a topical wrap to reduce back and wrist pain. This may work because the heat from ginger can relax muscles and/or dull pain sensors as hot chilis do.
Reiki is an alternative therapy that isn’t as common as yoga for pain relief, but it’s still worth considering (and knowing about). Like other Asian practices, it’s based on energies in the body. If levels are low, then there’s a greater likelihood of illness. If they’re flowing well, then health tends to be good.
Reiki practitioners attempt to remove blockages by touching the patient and allowing healing energy to flow through the hands. There’s a detox that is thought to occur in the body and emotions. Sometimes negative emotions from the past can arise and result in tension. Despite the seeming negativity of this experience, these buried hurts are important to resolve in order to improve health.
While all this may sound strange or too mystical, it does combine elements of other practices that are more accepted. Acupuncture, for example, uses needles to get energy flowing again. And much has been reported about the healing power of touch.
Dr. Mercola discusses findings from recent research that music has pain relief benefits that can be the equivalent to medication. And that’s just the main benefit. It’s also inexpensive, safe, has no side effects, and results in overall relaxation. There’s also been some evidence that biological changes happen in the body when there’s music like activating cells that fight bacteria.
According to a recent study of older cancer patients, about a quarter are reportedly on alternative or complementary therapies like vitamins and supplements. While this behavior isn’t necessarily bad, many are not telling their oncologists which can have downsides. St. John’s Wort, for example, can reduce the effectiveness of some cancer treatments.
This short piece on relaxation starts off by featuring a woman who had been struggling with back pain due to a repetitive stress injury. She was treated by a chiropractor for years before trying yoga which is when she found real relief. In fact, she is quoted as saying, “The yoga helped me more than the chiropractic I was trying to do at the time for my back pain.”
There are several lessons to take away from her story. First, yoga can work extremely well as a therapy. In fact, it may be the most commonly recommended way of treating different pains in the body including the back, shoulders, and hips. There’s the stretching and strengthening involved but also the relaxation that can reduce physical discomfort. And second, if a treatment doesn’t seem to be having a positive impact after three months or so, it’s important to discuss this with your doctor and/or practitioner. Maybe it’s time to make an adjustment, add a complementary therapy, or change approaches entirely.
Cinnamon has been touted as a great way to lower blood pressure while managing blood sugar levels, but, according to this article, it can also help to reduce pain related to arthritis. It achieves this effect by reducing inflammation around the joints which helps to prevent tissue damage, and by slowing bone loss from these areas.
According to this article, garlic milk is not only effective at treating worms and eventually sweating legs, but it can also help to relieve symptoms related to the back condition sciatica. The remedy is exactly what it sounds like—freshly crushed garlic is mixed in with raw milk and drunk. Or apparently, the garlic can be cooked in milk and consumed that way but is less potent.
This is a very interesting essay by a Yale doctor who was hospitalized earlier this summer with a tick-related disease. He kept developing terrible headaches which were not helped by the drugs he was prescribed to relieve them. In fact, this surprised him because the drugs had been shown to be effective, and as such, he fully expected them to work. The doctor explains that the placebo effect is real and can have a material impact on the recipient.
Something that did work to relieve his pain was his wife’s massages. Massages have been shown to be an effective form of therapy in that it may help to improve circulation and reduce inflammation. But the doctor also believes the healing had to do the fact that the touch was from a human who happens to love him.
He cites a visor device that is designed to prevent migraines. It works by producing an electromagnetic field that stimulates certain nerves to stop the pain from developing. His hypothesis is that the electromagnetic fields produced by his wife and humans in general can have a similar effect on the nervous system.
Just as you think you’ve become familiar with most of the herbs that have pain-relieving properties, you come upon a post like this one that lists four you’ve never heard of. According to reports, blue lotus can help with muscle issues, Kava Kava works as an analgesic, wild opium lettuce is a painkiller, and kratom helps with severe pain. If you decide to explore any one of these options, it’s important to do additional research on the herb and proper sources for it.
This Q&A in the Straits Times of Singapore is particularly interesting because the answer is clearly from an Eastern medicine perspective. The writer asks about her severe shoulder pain which one doctor has diagnosed as degenerative spine disorder and another has said is frozen shoulder. The medical expert acknowledges that either of these two conditions can cause such shoulder pain, but in traditional Chinese medicine, it means she has issues with her liver and kidneys.