Whether we have a migraine, period pain, or toothache, we’re raised to think that the first port of call is to grab some painkillers and wait for them to kick in.
Though a quick Google will show you that a simple Ibuprofen contains microcrystalline cellulose, lactose, hypromellose, croscarmellose sodium, sodium laurilsulfate, magnesium stearate, french chalk, colloidal silicon dioxide, and titanium dioxide (E171).
Tbh, we don’t know what any of those are! But we do know that increased use can lead to serious side effects, such as stomach ulcers and kidney damage.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as there are natural remedies in abundance that you can experiment with to tackle pain that are all free of toxins.
First up is CBD oil, which contains the non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
In what sounds like a too-good-to-be-true story, CBD’s power knows no limits and people credit it with helping them to get out of bed each day and function.
It is not only used to reduce anxiety and depression by impacting mood, it also packs a punch on physical health too, with evidence showing it can boost heart health.
While it may seem like a hip product marketed at youngsters, it is actually widely used in palliative care and by cancer patients to combat chronic pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Next up, we have curcumin.
This little guy is the major component in household spice turmeric.
Like CBD oil, it boasts remarkable anti-inflammatory properties that make it an ideal pain reliever, especially for those with muscle soreness or suffering from arthritis.
It is also believed that as a potent antioxidant, curcumin can neutralise free radicals that occur in the body which cause ageing and trigger the onset of many diseases.
Chasing curcumin’s tail, you’ll find aromatherapy.
While this typically conjures up images of lying on a massage table surrounded by the scent of lavender, that’s kind of an accurate picture!
Essential oils used in this practice – such as ylang ylang, rose, and frankincense – are world class natural alternatives for alleviating pain.
The reason being that they come from plants and once inhaled by the body, the molecules travel through the nervous system directly into the brain and impact the amygdala, which is often known as the emotional centre of the brain or otherwise the fight-and-flight response.
In addition to engaging with our emotional response and relieving pain, research also points to certain oils helping to reduce sleep disorders and respiratory problems too.
Of course, on some days you might need a quick-fix, but remember there are many more options out there that might be worth stocking up on before that next headache attacks.