I’ve struggled with chronic pain all my life. I was born with congenital hip dysplasia, scoliosis and spina bifida. In adulthood, I developed bursitis, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. I have sleep apnea and don’t rest well. Prescribed steroid treatments make me jittery, irritable and depressed. I’ve taken high-dose (2400 mgs daily) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprophen, but gotten only temporary relief. NSAIDs make me tired and sluggish. I get less relief with extended use. Here are natural pain relievers, muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory supplements that work for me.
* Valerian root: I used this natural muscle relaxer when my four children were young. I took adult doses and gave them a liquid children’s version. Valerian helped with pain, but seemed to cause vivid dreams. That was before I used a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) breathing machine for sleep apnea, however. Using valerian root with the CPAP, I realized that apnea caused the dreams. Valerian root calms muscle pain and spasms and helps me sleep better.
* Glucosamine chondroitin: This supplement reduces joint inflammation and pain in my back, shoulders and wrists. My husband uses it for arthritis in his knee and hip. If you use other supplements, take glucosamine at a different time. We take it before bed to tame nighttime aches.
* MSM: We choose glucosamine supplements with MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane). This natural anti-inflammatory supplement helps tendonitis, bursitis, back pain and arthritis. Web MD lists other conditions MSM is used for: osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, tenosynovitis, muscle pain and cramps, scleroderma, eye inflammation, periodontal disease, TMJ, leg cramps, yeast infection and other pain issues. It promotes healing in wounds and infections.
* Hyaluric acid: This natural substance provides lubrication for joints. It loosens stiffness and helps us with joint and muscle pain. We take glucosamine supplements with hyaluric acid.
* Alfalfa: I took this as a teen for leg cramps brought on by Osgood-Schlatter disease. Mayo Clinic describes this painful childhood condition that we used to call “growing pains.” Alfalfa reduces associated swelling and cramping.
* Papaya: Taken as fruit or supplement, papaya is a natural anti-inflammatory. I take papaya as fruit juice.
* Ginger: I take this supplement only to reduce gas and stomach inflammation as it leaves an acidic aftertaste. I cook with ginger, also.
Compared to NSAID, steroid and pain reliever side effects, my natural supplement regimen works better overall to treat chronic pain.