When most of us experience pain, whether it’s mild or chronic, our first impulse is to reach for a pill instead of using a natural pain relief treatment. Relying on pain medications can lead to the risk of side effects, habitual use, drug interactions and addiction. Fortunately, there are several natural alternative pain relief treatments available including the following.

  1. Herbal Painkillers

There are several herbs that can relieve pain including curcumin, the bioactive ingredient in turmeric that gives it healing properties. Known to safely treat anti-inflammatory issues, it’s also an effective natural pain relief treatment, known to work better than over-the-counter pain relievers (without the side effects). Because turmeric root itself only contains around 2% to 5% curcumin, it’s a good idea to take a curcumin supplement instead of turmeric root. Curcumin isn’t absorbed easily by the digestive system, so invest in high-potency curcuminoids and combine it with oil because the herb isn’t fat-soluble. Black pepper extract (piperine), also increases curcumin’s bioavailability. In addition, you can combine curcumin with other anti-inflammatory compounds like ginger for an even stronger effect. Other herbs used to treat pain include oregano, mountain arnica, capsaicin, devils claw and feverfew.

  1. Hot or Cold Treatment

When it comes to a natural pain relief treatment, in some cases the basics work best, including hot and cold therapy. Varying temperature changes between hot to cold and back again invokes anti-inflammatory heat and cold-shock proteins. These treatments add compression that minimizes the blood flow to injuries, keeping inflammation and swelling down. Applying an ice pack shortly after straining a muscle, ligament or tendon can reduce swelling and inflammation, providing relief. If you suffer from arthritic pain, applying moist heat to the affected joint helps more than ice. If you’re dealing with headache’s, briefly using a cold pack on your head can relieve pain.

  1. TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)

TENS is a powerful natural pain relief treatment that also helps address inflammation. TENS works by sending a mild electrical current through soft tissue and muscle, stimulating repair compounds and endorphins that when activated provide pain relief.

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is a therapeutic natural pain relief treatment that helps people identify their negative emotions, thoughts and behaviors and learn how to substitute them with productive, often life changing alternatives. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps treat chronic pain by teaching you how to respond less to it, making it possible to live a life that isn’t controlled by pain.

  1. Acupuncture

This ancient Chinese practice relieves pain by balancing the body’s natural energy meridians (pathways). This flow of energy is referred to as “qi”. Acupuncturists gently place tiny, ultra-thin needles into the skin, in the area that is triggering the pain. Acupuncture is believed to relieve pain by inducing a release of serotonin, nature’s “feel-good” chemical. Acupuncture is known to relieve a variety of ailments including migraines and other chronic pain conditions says CT Acupuncturist Samantha Jacobs.

It’s important to remember that pain is the body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. While pain can be associated with temporary problems like a strained muscle, it can also be a sign that you have a more serious problem that may need professional medical attention. It is highly recommended that you consult with a healthcare provider to identify the source of your pain and review natural pain relief treatment options that can help treat it.