The Sad Truth about Pain
There is a saying that goes “it’s better to feel pain than nothing at all.” But did you know that according to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) an estimated 25.3 million American adults suffer from pain every day?
Most people experience pain at one time or another. And here are the most common causes of pain:
- Arthritis is a very common ailment especially among older people, although people of all ages can experience arthritis, it is said to be the leading cause of disability in America.
- Poor posture is another reason why we might feel pain. Being in a slouched position or immobile for a long time causes muscle fatigue and tension in our body. This can trigger complications of poor posture like back pain, spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration, rounded shoulders, and even a potbelly.
- Muscle strain usually occurs as a result of fatigue, overuse, or improper use of a muscle. It is most common in your lower back, neck, shoulder, and hamstring areas
- A pinched nerve is also a common culprit of pain. This happens when there is too much pressure placed on a nerve, which obstructs the nerve’s function and causes pain.
- We may also feel pain because of poor blood circulation, which occurs when your limbs can’t get enough blood which causes your arms and legs to ache.
Men and women respond differently to pain. Some individuals are lucky to have high pain tolerance, while others have a low pain tolerance.
Do you have a low pain tolerance?
More often than not we reach for over-the-counter drugs/prescription drugs for minor pain or discomfort every once in a while.
Because we all want to live a pain-free life, right?
Although over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can help ease the aches and discomfort that come with pain, it is important to remember to limit the use of over-the-counter drugs/prescription drugs. Because they can have serious side effects if we take them too often.
Below are some of the reasons you might want to cut back on taking those meds:
- Taking too much acetaminophen or paracetamol can damage your liver. It is important to follow the recommended dose so as not to make matters worse.
- Long-term use of ibuprofen can put you at risk of getting a stomach ulcer.
- While aspirin can help prevent a clot-related stroke, it may increase your chance of a bleeding stroke (hemorrhagic stroke) not to mention increasing the risk of stomach ulcers and allergic reactions.
Furthermore, relying on medications can also cause drug interactions, and lead to habitual use or addiction.
So with that being said, why not seek the relief you need with far fewer side effects?
Benefits of herbal medicine in treating pain
Many people nowadays take advantage of the benefits of herbal medicine to help ease their pain.
There is no doubt that even before current medicine was developed, alternative medicines such as spices and herbs were the main healing modalities for people in traditional cultures throughout the world.
In China for example, herbs have been used as medicine for thousands of years. To this day, Traditional Chinese Medicine remains one of the most commonly used methods of treatment for many.
Why herbal medicine may a better option than prescription drugs:
- Herbal medicine works on a holistic level meaning it treats your whole being, and not just the signs and symptoms you’re experiencing.
- When used correctly, they rarely cause side effects since plant medicines are natural and more compatible with our bodies.
- Plant medicines are usually more cost-effective than their drug counterparts.
- Plant medicines are readily available even in remote communities around the world.
Though the healing effects of herbal medicine tend to take longer than conventional / prescription medications, which usually give instant results by treating the symptoms, plant medicine help to get to the root cause of the problem.
That’s why it takes longer to notice the improvement and feel the effects of it.
One very common, traditionally used herb for pain relief is ginger. Some of us might be familiar with ginger as a spice to help make dishes more flavorful and also in holiday traditions like the dearest gingerbread men or gingerbread cookies.
But since time immemorial, ginger has been used as a medicine for the past 2500 years in countries like India, China, Korea, and Japan. And nowadays more people are becoming aware of the surprising benefits ginger has to offer.
Let’s get to know this amazing herb better as well as the health benefits it can provide, shall we?
The Pain relieving effects of ginger
Originating from Southeast Asia, ginger is a rhizome or underground stem which belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. The phytochemical compound in ginger called gingerol is regarded for its pungent taste and powerful medicinal healing properties.
Gingerol has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which help in the powerful medicinal properties of ginger.
Here are just a few of ginger's benefits:
- Because of its anti-inflammatory effects and pain-relieving properties ginger helps to reduce the pain and inflammation connected with osteoarthritis. Some studies even found that ginger helps to reduce muscle pain that comes from a good workout.
- The potent properties of ginger can help to relieve menstrual cramps. Clinical research shows that ginger works as effectively as over-the-counter pain relievers containing mefenamic acid and ibuprofen to relieve menstrual cramps.
- Another proven medicinal use of ginger is the treatment of sore throats, both supported by scientific studies and tradition. It works best when taken as a tea, lozenges or candy form and it gives a soothing effect relieving the sore throat.
The Therapeutic Wonders of Sesame Oil
Another amazing herbal remedy used for relieving pain is sesame oil. Normally used as a cooking ingredient in most Chinese, Japanese, and Middle Eastern cuisines, you might be wondering why this nutty-smelling oil has medicinal benefits as well.
Sesame oil, cold-pressed from delicious tiny seeds, has a distinct nutty flavor and is considered to be one of the healthiest oils on the market. Aside from its ability to enhance the flavors in dishes, this wholesome oil has been used in China, India, and other Southeast Asian countries to treat various health issues.
According to the USDA’s National Nutrient Database, sesame oil is packed with essential vitamins like Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
Although sesame oil may not contain as many nutrients as the seeds because of the extraction process it has to undergo, it is still filled with other beneficial properties. It's high in minerals like zinc, copper as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that are beneficial for our health.
Here are just a few of the health benefits of sesame oil:
- Traditional Taiwanese medicine uses sesame oil as an anti-inflammatory and helps treat joint pain, toothaches, cuts, and more
- Because of its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, massaging your skin with this extraordinary oil moisturizes your skin and prevents premature signs of aging
- Vitamin E in sesame oil will also benefit your hair. It will support in retaining the natural hair color and minimizes hair loss
- When added to your daily diet, sesame oil will help prevent the development of heart diseases such as heart attack and stroke. It’s a heart-friendly oil because of the balanced ratio of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids
- Including sesame oil in your diet will aid in the feeling of stress and depression. Tyrosine in sesame oil boosts serotonin which is the hormone that stabilizes our mood
These are just some of the benefits that sesame oil offers. Thanks to its superb medicinal properties, sesame oil will surely be an additional herbal medicine you will use as treatment of ailments.
Is herbal medicine for you?
Tapping into the power of medicinal plants can help not only in alleviating discomfort but also harness their ability to support a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
But just like taking any medicinal drugs we also have to be knowledgeable on how to take them so we can avoid any harmful side effects. It’s also important to buy them from a reputable source.
And if you are taking any medications, a visit with your doctor is always better as some herbs may be contraindicated with certain medications.
It is never too late to start using herbal medicine. Along with a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we have a greater chance at preventing pain and discomfort.
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