Do you regularly rely on paracetamol for quick-fix pain relief to get you through the day? When in pain most people quickly reach for a conventional painkiller so they can get back to their busy life. However, common painkillers can have nasty undesirable side effects.
While paracetamol is widely regarded as generally safe when used at its recommended doses, in larger doses it can be fatal.
Paracetamol was discovered and used as a pain reliever long before it was known how it works. According to Panadol Uk it is believed to work in the brain where it inhibits the production of the pain and inflammation causing chemicals, prostaglandins. It has no effect on inflammation.
Pain is the body’s indication that something is wrong and it seems our primary concern needs to be to find a way to lessen the problem by treating its cause. Paracetamol alleviates the effects of the problem, the pain, but does not address the cause behind the pain.
In addition there is the big concern about the side effects of any prolonged use of medications that do nothing more than simply block pain symptoms.
Paracetamol can cause liver damage and even liver failure. There is a serious risk for liver injury with overdose.
But paracetamol can also cause other side effects. Skin rashes, blood disorders, nausea and vomiting, and inflammation of the pancreas can all occur when paracetamol is taken for a long time.
In 2012 in the UK it was suggested that people who regularly take medicines, such as aspirin and paracetamol could be causing themselves more pain than relief. The dosage recommendations for paracetamol were subsequently lowered in the UK and USA. But in Australia recommendations were maintained at the higher levels. Many people in the community have the impression that paracetamol is a harmless drug.
However, there are natural alternatives that do stop pain and help the body heal as well.
In addition to the use of homeopathic remedies or herbs it is wise to address any factors in your lifestyle or diet that are contributing to your pain.
Toxins in any form in your body can cause pain.
Pain and inflammation can often be caused by a food. Sometimes a seemingly benign food or food group can be the culprit, acting as a toxin within your body. No matter what you take, if you continue to eat the problem food you will continue to have the pain. Testing can help you identify problem foods quickly. But be aware that you may have a food intolerance rather than an allergy causing the inflammation.
When you are able to identify the problem food, or foods, you can remove it from your diet at least for a while, to give your body time to recover.
Deficiencies of certain nutrients can also cause you pain, as can metabolic processes. Pain is often linked to excess acidity in the body. Acidity may be caused by a number of things, and one is a diet containing too much acidic food.
All foods can be classifies as either alkaline or acidic according to how they break down in the body (not how acidic they are before eaten). Weighting your diet towards more alkaline foods can help reduce pain. Essentially eating more fruit and vegetables and less meat, sugar, dairy, grains and additives makes your diet more alkaline.
Many headaches are the result of dehydration and simply increasing your water intake can reduce the problem.
As a professional homeopath my personal inclination is to make homeopathic remedies my go-to for pain relief. The advantage of homeopathic remedies which are carefully selected by a trained practitioner is that at the same time you get pain relief the homeopathic remedy will also immediately begin to address the underlying cause.
There are many homeopathic pain remedies and I have employed their use successfully for many years. In fact we have not even had any paracetamol or other pharmaceutical painkillers in my home for decades. Homeopathy can be particularly useful for treating pain associated with problems that cannot be diagnosed, as it is selected according to presenting symptoms rather than disease diagnosis.
Perhaps the most well-known homeopathic remedy for pain is Arnica montana. Used in both homeopathic and herbal formulations this mountain meadow flower offers great benefit for muscular pain as well as pain in general.
Homeopathic Hypericum (St John’s Wort) provides great relief for nerve pain, especially in the fingers, toes and nails. When professionally selected in its homeopathic form it can be used along with anti-depressants, unlike the herbal version.
Magnesium phos and Chamomilla are perhaps the most widely used homeopathic remedies for spasms and cramps.
Nux-vomica is just one of the many remedies that offer great relief for headaches.
Homeopathic Arnica is very widely used by many first-class sports persons. They employ its marvellous healing benefits for traumatic injuries such as bruising, muscle strain, ligament sprain, fractures and so forth.
There are a number of herbs that have been used for thousands of years to relieve pain. When prescribed by a qualified herbalist they assist the body to heal itself. However, like paracetamol, some herbs simply suppress the symptoms without actually healing the problem. But, these generally do not have the side-effects of the drug and so may be a better choice than paracetamol or NSAIDS for pain-relief.
Capsaicin is the active ingredient found in chili peppers, and gives topical relief from nerve, joint and muscle pain by interfering with substance P, a chemical that transmits pain signals to the brain.
There has been a great deal of research into curcumin, the active substance found in turmeric, which is proven excellent for reducing the inflammation that causes pain. Like capsaicin it blocks substance P. It offers great relief for the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.
Bromelain is another herb that works as an effective anti-inflammatory.
Chamomile is well known for its calming properties and provides relief for muscle pain and spasm.
Scutellaria (skullcap) can be effective in relieving headache and muscle pain and has been used for the pain of fibromyalgia, joint pain and tension headaches.
A German study showed that a drop of peppermint essential oil applied to the forehead and temples could reduce headache pain as effectively as paracetamol.
Paracetamol certainly has a place in certain situations such as post-surgery. But while paracetamol is useful if used occasionally with care, it poses concerns especially for chronic conditions when used frequently. If you find yourself in that position it’s time to start investigating alternatives. Discuss what natural alternatives may help your problem with a professional alternative health practitioner.
In the end it is far more effective to treat the cause of the pain rather than simply suppressing the symptoms. Carefully selected natural or traditional remedies can provide fast pain relief and start the body’s own healing processes at the same time.
You may need to try a few options to find the one that suits you best as we are all different and so we all respond to different treatments differently.
All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.