Aches and pains are an unavoidable part of being alive. Whether you're working hard to get in shape or you strained your back from long hours at your desk, pain can be as much of a sign that we're getting stronger as it is that we need to take it easy and take better care of ourselves. Cheryl Myers, a registered nurse and expert on natural medicine, writes in Mindbodygreen that pain was "specifically designed by Mother Nature to be unpleasant so that it would motivate us to take whatever action is necessary to stop it." In this day and age, pain relief typically means popping an ibuprofen and pushing forward with your day.
But as she outlines the best natural remedies for pain, Myers underscores the big difference between healing pain and simply covering it up. She notes how we've become accustomed to simply masking these warning signals with pain medication, writing, "We deaden the signal to make it more bearable without addressing the causative factors—which is likely high levels of inflammation." So instead of taking drugs that put the pain out of our minds, Myers describes a handful of natural remedies that can actually cure the pain—getting your body back to its healthy self.
We've highlighted our top three natural pain-relieving picks below.
Peppermint oil: If headaches are what's causing you to reach for over-the-counter pain relievers, you may want to consider integrating peppermint oil into your day. The Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine recommends rubbing peppermint oil on the temples and forehead to relieve pain and tension from headaches. Combine a few drops of peppermint essential oil with coconut oil for the perfect soothing ointment.
Frankincense: This ancient essential oil can help provide overall pain relief. Myers cites a 12-week human study that tested the combination of BCM-95 curcumin and frankincense against a generic prescription drug for osteoarthritis of the knee. The group given the frankincense "had superior scores in overall pain relief and distance walked without pain," she notes.
Acupuncture: Myers explains that this traditional alternative medicine "can be helpful for different types of pain including low-back pain, knee pain, osteoarthritic pain, neck pain, and tension and migraine headaches."
Interested in testing out more natural remedies? Discover three more essential oils to keep you healthy.