The first thing you do when it comes to managing pain is probably to reach out for a pill. But did you know that most such pills come with the risk of adverse reactions, drug interactions, or even addiction due to habitual use? Instead try natural painkillers.

There are many spices and herbs that you can use to treat inflammation as well as other related conditions. All plant-based options, these come under the group of alternative medicine which includes yoga, Reiki, acupuncture, and other practices. In fact some of these have been in use for centuries now and you will be surprised how much relief they can give you. Here are a few options you can explore:

Willow bark

The bark of white willow is one thing you can use to ease your inflammation. It is very effective for lower back pain, headaches, osteoarthritis, and many such conditions. This contains a chemical called Salicin, which works just like the main ingredient in aspirin. In olden days people used to chew this bark to get relief from pain and fever. Today you can buy it in the form of dried herb and brew it like tea. Willow bark is also sold in capsule form or as a liquid supplement.

However, when taken in large quantities, willow bark can cause stomach upset and slow down your kidney functioning. It should not be given to children. Avoid taking willow bark if you are sensitive to aspirin or if you are taking warfarin, any anticoagulant treatment medicine, or any anti-inflammatory drug such as naproxen, ibuprofen, or aspirin.

Turmeric

The same spice that gives the yellow color to your curry can also provide relief from your pain and inflammation. The curcumin in turmeric is actually an antioxidant that protects your body from free radical molecules, thereby preventing any damage to your cells or tissues. Apart from pain relief, turmeric can also be effective for stomach upset, indigestion, ulcers, psoriasis, and even cancer.

Cloves

Cloves can also be used to get relief from pain associated with toothaches, headaches, as well as arthritic inflammation. They are also effective in treating colds and easing nausea.  Clove has an active ingredient called eugenol which is used in most OTC pain rubs. Cloves can be bought in the form of capsules, liquid supplements or even clove oil. However, it is better to consume it in minimal quantities. Try and avoid cloves if you are on blood-thinning medication or have a bleeding disorder.

Acupuncture

One of the alternative treatments you can try for pain relief is acupuncture. This is a Chinese medical practice that is used to balance your body’s natural energy pathways. In this treatment, tiny thin needles are placed into your skin by an acupuncturist. This will cause your body to release serotonin that is actually a “feel good” chemical which eases pain. The treatment is very effective for pain associated with migraines, osteoarthritis, and any other chronic pain.

In case you are not comfortable or don’t find relief with any of the above treatments you can get yourself a tens machine. This is a pain therapy device that is very effective in alleviating migraines, joint pain, muscular pain, as well as inflammation. It works by transmitting electrical impulses and has absolutely no side effects.