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Pain relief the natural way

Being In pain is not pleasant, and can make you feel really rough. We ask health experts for their best natural advice for easing pain and Inflammation

There are many different forms of pain,” says Lucy Kerr from health store The Good Earth in Kilkenny. “Muscle aches and pains can occur after over-exertion, strenuous exercise, from an injury, tension or when ill from a virus. Muscle aches and pains are more common as we age, from general wear and tear.

“Migraines are severe throbbing, debilitating headaches that may or may not become accompanied by nausea, visual disturbances and other symptoms. There can be many triggers for migraine including allergies, stress, too little sleep, hormonal changes or flashing lights.

“Severe targeted acute pain may occur from an injury, surgery, dental work or a broken bone. It is usually a localised pain which should resolve after a short recovery period.

“Chronic pain lasts beyond six months and can severely affect your quality of life – arthritis, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, back pain, chronic migraines and endometriosis are examples of chronic pain.”

“Chronic pain is complex, and it can take some time to find the best pain relief methods that work,” says Giulia Criscuolo, a life coach and health expert with Coyne Healthcare. “Chronic pain can affect every part of a person's life, from work and social life to sleep and mental health. Some pain is caused by inflammation which can be characterised by five cardinal signs – redness, swelling, heat, pain and loss of function. If we can reduce inflammation using natural remedies, then pain can also be diminished as a result.”


“Curcumin is a polyphenolic compound derived from the spice turmeric,” says Giulia Criscuolo. “It is one of today's most exciting dietary food supplements, impressing scientists around the world with its remarkable multiple clinical applications, especially as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Nearly 700 studies from all around the world confirm the remarkable properties of curcumin, however it is well known that it is poorly absorbed. It's best to choose a supplement that combines curcumin with the essential oils in turmeric, making it extremely well absorbed and bio-available.”

“Curcumin has a vast range of benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties and pain-relieving properties,” says Lucy Kerr.


“Magnesium is a mineral that is required for muscle relaxation, supportive in relieving pain related to migraines, tension headaches and fibromyalgia,” says Lucy Kerr.

“Magnesium has been shown to help fight inflammation,” says Giulia Criscuolo. “It reduces the inflammatory marker CRP (C-reactive protein) and provides several other benefits. In fact, low magnesium levels in the body are associated with low-grade chronic inflammation. Choose a magnesium formula that is enriched with prebiotic fibre for improved gut health, liposomal technology and phosphatidylcholine to provide optimum therapeutic benefits.”


“Fish oil supplements are a popular alternative for those looking to relieve joint pain,” says Giulia Criscuolo. “The omega-3 fatty acids you find in these oils contain anti-inflammatory properties and play a role in providing pain relief to many of the body's joints. The two types of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA can reduce inflammation, which causes swelling and pain.”

“Omega-3 supplies essential fatty acids that increase the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins,” says Lucy Kerr. “This helps relieve pain and is anti-inflammatory.”

Lifestyle tips for controlling pain

“Epsom salts baths are excellent for your body to absorb magnesium and for relaxation of your muscles,” says Lucy Kerr. “Stretching and yoga are a great way to keep your body flexible and to help your muscles stay strong to help avoid any aches and pains. A massage is a great way to get rid of any knots or tensions in your muscles. A foam roller is also a great way to get rid of tension in your muscles at home. Acupuncture has been found to be a great way of relieving arthritic muscle pain.”

“Try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise four times a week,” says Giulia Criscuolo. “Get enough restorative sleep, manage your stress levels, laugh more often, spend more time in nature, reach out to others for support and understanding. Mindfulness, meditation and deep relaxation may improve the psychological experience of pain by decreasing repetitive thinking and reactivity, increasing a sense of acceptance for unpleasant sensations and improving emotional flexibility.”


“Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the primary compounds found in the hemp plant,” says Lucy Kerr. “It has been found to have pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.”

“CBD may help to reduce pain by acting on a variety of biological processes in the body,” says Giulia Criscuolo. “It has been shown to work as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic. CBD may also reduce the anxiety that people living with chronic pain often experience. CBD has many health benefits, but it has low oral bioavailability. This means the majority of CBD taken through oral supplements are either not absorbed or are broken down by the liver before they reach the general circulation. So ask your local health store for advice on the best CBD products for good bloodstream absorption.”

Other natural remedies for pain

Vitamin D – aids in the absorption of calcium, which is needed for bone growth and maintenance.

Bromelain – an enzyme that helps stimulate production of prostaglandins. Inhibits inflammation and facilitates injury healing. It is particularly good for short-term inflammation.

Boswellia (frankincense) – helps relieve stiffness and joint pain.

MSM – a sulphur compound found to relieve pain, provides support for tendons, ligaments and muscles.

Glucosamine – vital for the formation of bones tendons, ligaments and cartilage.

Aromatherapy oils such as lavender, rosemary, peppermint and eucalyptus.

Topical applications such as arnica balm or Tiger Balm are a great way to get rid of any localised muscle pain or after an injury.

Foods to avoid

  • Remove all sugar - refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, honey, agave, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • Refined and processed foods
  • Coffee and black tea
  • Alcohol
  • Gluten
  • Dairy – reduce milk, yoghurt and cheese
  • Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
  • French fries and other fried foods
  • Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
  • Margarine, shortening, and lard
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