Pain. What You Can Do About it Naturally.
By Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com.

We've been told we shouldn't use too many NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as acetaminophen (Tylenol - analgesics, pain relievers and antipyretics or fever reducers) because they cause liver damage, or too much ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, Medipren, PediaCare Fever) because it damages the stomach lining, so what can you do if you have pain on a regular basis and don't want to keep taking them?

Fluid retention (edema), blood clots, heart attacks, hypertension and heart failure have also been associated with the use of NSAIDs. 10-15 grams of acetaminophen can produce liver failure and dosages exceeding 25 grams can be fatal. There are 1,000 mgs in a gram, so this means at the recommended dose of 650-1,000 mgs every 4-6 hours of acetaminophen or Tylenol, in just 10 doses you are taking enough to do liver damage. Too many people take Tylenol more than 10 times per month for chronic pain conditions.

Pain is the body's way of telling us something is wrong. To just ignore it, or worse, mask it with pain medications, is not the answer. Finding the underlying cause of the pain is the answer to long-term, pain-free health: not taking pain meds for the rest of your life. The majority of our pain is caused by imbalances or inflammation in the body. Address these issues and you could be free of pain meds forever.

The best way to rid yourself of chronic pain is to do your homework and figure out the source of it. Arthritis is an anti-inflammatory disease, often labeled as an autoimmune "disease" (along with fibromyalgia). These are all convenient labels used by the medical profession for a condition they know little about or can't treat the root cause of because they are not trained to. Find out the source of your pain and your body will be more than happy to relieve you of it. Fibromyalgia has been successfully treated with vitamins and nutrients the body needs but which some individuals are deficient in. Nutrients such as B12 specifically, and often the rest of the B vitamins as well, magnesium and vitamin E in the form of Omega Fatty Acids. Nerves take a very long time to heal, often months or even years, and most people do not give them the time and support they need to do so. We have a tendency to run to the doctor immediately for a pill and take their word for it that we have some horrible, incurable "disease". Fibromyalgia, arthritis and many chronic pain disorders are caused by excessive inflammation or imbalance in the body, more often than not, brought on by a poor diet that is high in acidic, inflammatory foods that throw off our body pH resulting in inflammation, or chemical toxins the body is not designed to function on such as pesticides, mercury in vaccines, growth hormones etc. The best way to lower your overall body inflammation is to lower the acid content of the foods you eat and avoid toxins. Fresh fruits and vegetables are alkaline and cooling by nature, but the American diet is typically lacking in this area, hence most of our "new" chronic nerve disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome etc.

Another cause of the majority of our inflammation and pain is imbalances other than pH levels, such as chronic hormone imbalances caused by the heavy overload of chemical estrogens in our food supply. It's a known fact among the medical world that hormone imbalances can lead to all kinds of chronic conditions and diseases, the most widely known and proven are fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic fatigue, heart conditions, fibroids, diabetes, obesity, prostate inflammation and cancer and the list goes on.

What Can You Do Naturally for Chronic Painful Illnesses?

• If you are serious about wanting to get off of the pain meds for a disease or condition, change your diet immediately. Get away from processed foods entirely and specifically foods packaged in plastic wrappers and containers that contain high amounts of chemical estrogen leaching into the food; and DO NOT EVER microwave any foods in plastic!

• Support your nerves so they can heal by supplementing with B vitamins and specifically sublingual or liquid B12 and magnesium. Both are very difficult for the body to absorb if you have any kind of digestive impairment whatsoever; and most of us today do. B12 in pill form is not well-absorbed by the body, so just because you are taking a B12 supplement does not mean you are getting it - this is why they make a sublingual and liquid form of B12. Using a liquid B12 supplement you can put on your skin is the best way to absorb B12 because it bypasses the stomach. Sublingual tablets you put under your tongue are better than oral supplements that you swallow but not as effective as liquid B12 used topically on the skin. Apply about 1/3 to 1/2 of a recommended dose to the inside of your forearm or thigh, apply it to a different area each time or wash it off after about 2 hours before reapplying it to the same area or it may not absorb well. If you are deficient in it, you should feel less pain within approximately 30 minutes after applying it to your skin. B12 is the only B vitamin that gets stored in the body. It's stored in the liver, but can still be depleted if you haven't been absorbing it for quite some time. Taking the rest of your B vitamins (B6, B2 etc) by oral supplement is okay, it's specifically B12 that the body has a hard time absorbing orally. The rest of the B vitamins are naturally flushed from the body approximately every 8 hours, so take them first thing in the morning and before bed every day.

• The above mentioned topical application of B12 also works extremely well for magnesium; another nutrient many people are lacking and that is difficult to absorb. It's no coincidence that both magnesium and B12 are the nutrients our society is becoming more deficient in since they are the first nutrients to be impaired by too much chemical estrogen. Too much estrogen blocks the absorption of magnesium and destroys B vitamins, specifically B12. Is it any wonder then that we have such a high number of new cases being diagnosed every day of fibromyalgia and other nerve disorders? B vitamins and magnesium are the two most essential nutrients for proper nerve function, and they are being destroyed rapidly and daily by the high amount of chemical estrogens in our food and parabens in our body care products that mimic estrogen.

Use about half the recommended dosage of liquid magnesium applied to your skin daily and see if you feel better within about a half hour of applying it. DO NOT take too much magnesium as it relaxes the muscles, including your heart, and in extremely high doses can relax your muscles too much which could cause a heart attack. The same goes for too much B vitamins which can CAUSE a nerve disorder as well as too little, so only take enough to feel better, and stop there. When applying anything topically, it's important to start out with less than the recommended manufacturer's dosage because the manufacturers develop their supplements to be taken orally in most cases, not topically, and knowing most of synthetic nutrients are not well absorbed by the stomach, they boost the dosages and concentrations to compensate for this. Also, the body absorbs substances much quicker and in a much more concentrated amount when applied to the skin.
Magnesium is stored in the bones and muscle tissue eventually, but if you are deficient in it, it could take months for you to build your stores back up to where they should be. If your muscles feel weak, you develop diarrhea or you feel like you barely have a pulse, take straight calcium for a while and pull back on the magnesium. Calcium and magnesium need to be in balance in the body, which is why you see that most supplements come with calcium and magnesium together. They should be taken together in the proper ratio predetermined by most supplement manufacturers. The only time to take magnesium by itself, as mentioned above, is if you know you are deficient in magnesium and/or because you consume large quantities of calcium and not nearly enough magnesium in the foods you eat to be in balance. Such as eating a lot of dairy and hardly any grains, beans or fresh vegetables on a daily basis. Too much calcium without the proper ratio of magnesium to balance it can cause nerves to become hyper-active, also resorting in pain and excitability. Magnesium should be consumed (even topically) in a daily ratio to calcium of a about twice as much calcium to magesium.

What Can You Do Naturally for Pain Associated With Injury or Headache?

Cold packs or ice packs help a great deal with pain and inflammation. So do certain herbs such as feverfew, reishi, oregano oil, turmeric, valerian, kava kava and white willow bark. The difference in using herbs compared to NSAIDS is that herbs are not a one-dose wonder, they have to accumulate in your system to be effective. Usually an herb will work best after 2-3 doses. You may also need to try different herbs because often an herb that works for one person may not work for another. For headaches due to muscle tension, kava kava specifically addresses any muscle tightness in the neck and shoulder area, used along with valerian or reishi for the painful inflammation, the combination can be just as effective as NSAIDS without the side effects. Before using any herb you have not taken before, try it at half the dose first to see if you will have any reaction to it, and certainly do not mix herbs unless you know what you are doing or have the advice of an herbal professional or naturopathic doctor. Often, for severe pain, it takes a combination of natural remedies to do what an NSAID can do, which is why so many people turn to pain-relievers. A good anti-inflammatory herb that also addresses the nerves, such as skullcap or reishi, in conjunction with cold packs, acupuncture or other pain diversion techniques, such as acupressure, or soaking your feet or lower body in hot water (no more than 104º) to get the blood away from the brain etc for headaches, works better than any one technique or herb alone for severe pain relief.

Acupressure for a headache:
You have 2 very large, painful nerves right at the base of your earlobes. If you place your index and middle fingers of both hands in the little indentation behind your earlobe you should feel a throbbing or pulse there and right along your jaw bone if you are experiencing a severe headache. Put pressure in that area right behind your earlobes and along your jawbone but don't press too hard or you could make the pain worse. You want to press gently, just enough to get the throbbing in your head to subside and hold it there while you are laying down or able to relax. It may take 10-15 minutes to get the throbbing in your brain to subside, and once it does, slowly let up on the pressure you are using with your fingers. You don't want to release the pressure instantly because the sudden rush of blood flow back to your brain may cause it to start throbbing all over again.
Acupressure works well for immediate relief of severe headache pain that can work even quicker than a pain medication, but back it up with an herb such as reishi, skullcap or valerian to help keep the pain at bay, and possibly cold packs on your head and neck area.

For Pain Due to Injury:
Cold packs work best and an anti-inflammatory herb that works specifically on injuries such as comfrey root. Comfrey root should only be used topically, never orally, but is a miraculous herb for getting rid of pain, bruising and swelling quickly and very effectively. The best way to use it is to make a strong tea of the root, soak a washcloth in it and apply it to the injury for approximately 30-60 minutes, once to three times a day over the course of 3-4 days immediately after the injury. (See The Hangout section of our site for more details on comfrey compresses. You must be a Circkles Subscriber to access The Hangout, but membership is free.)

The above methods should work for occasional, acute pain, but for chronic, on-going pain that happens more than once a week, it's time to look at what the cause of it may be. Taking more than two to three doses of NSAIDS a week is putting your health at serious risk. For women who get pms migraines or nerve pain, we highly recommend getting your hormones checked as an imbalance occurs in 80% of all women these days. Men as well, they just don't know it yet. Many women notice an onset of pain with perimenopause. The worst thing about pain and nerve disorders associated with too much estrogen is that it can take 6 months to a year or more after cutting excess estrogen out of your diet before you will notice any improvement in your nerves or pain. This is because estrogen is stored in body fat and can take that long to be eliminated from the body; and your body WILL NOT get any better until excess estrogen is completely gone from your system. Any additional exposure to chemical estrogens will throw your body right back into painful nerve disfunction each and every time, so of course, the hard part here is figuring out where you're picking up all the chemical estrogens from. It would be easier to tell you what doesn't have chemical estrogens these days than what does; the list is much shorter. Basically anything that comes wrapped or packaged in plastic has chemical estrogens that are 1000 times more potent that what the body makes and thus will cause a hormone imbalance leading to pain. Any petroleum products: solvent fumes, motor oil, gasoline fumes and plastics of any kind which are made from petroleum derivatives, contain extremely high amounts of chemical estrogens. So you see, avoiding this particular toxin is very difficult, but not impossible. It boils down to eating only organic food (not packaged in plastics) and going back to making your own foods to get away from processed food additives and toxins. However, if you can accomplish this, you will feel a great deal better without all the medications with side effects that are only making your health worse over the long-term, not improving it.

 

B12: What's it Good For?

This is part of our regular series of articles on individual nutrients and what their purpose is in the body. See our article archives where you can do a search for a specific nutrient we have covered. You must be a Circkles Club Member to use our archives however. Membership is FREE.

Since the above article focuses on pain, we decided to feature the number one vitamin associated with nerve pain. Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis, and if you are deficient in it, you will feel it but may not know the cause. Vitamin B12 deficiency is characterized by megaloblastic anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Neurological changes, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, can also occur. Additional symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue including your teeth hurting. The neurological symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can occur without anemia and early diagnosis and treatment is imperative to avoid irreversible nerve damage.
In infants, signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include failure to thrive, movement disorders, developmental delays, and megaloblastic anemia. Many of these symptoms are general and can result from a variety of medical conditions other than vitamin B12 deficiency.

Who's Most at Risk:
Some people, particularly older adults, those with pernicious anemia, and those with reduced levels of stomach acidity (hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria) or intestinal disorders, have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from food and, in some cases, oral supplements. Strict vegetarians are also at risk since meats and dairy are the primary source of B12.

Environmental Factors: Most recently, with the increase in B vitamin deficiency, studies are revealing that the ever-increasing exposure to toxic chemicals is destroying our stomach function and B vitamin usage and absorption. People exposed to chemicals, estrogens in foods or who consume large amounts of alcohol may experience B12 deficiencies due to the fact that alcohol and high amounts of estrogen destroy B vitamins and impair absorption.

Hereditary: Some people do not make enough intrinsic factor to absorb adequate amounts of B12, a condition called pernicious anemia. They are typically treated with vitamin B12 shots, although very high oral doses or topical applications can also be effective. It's thought that this condition is hereditary and these people will need supplementation or shots for the remainder of their lives.

Individuals who have had gastrointestinal surgery, such as weight loss surgery or surgery to remove all or part of the stomach, often result in a loss of cells that secrete hydrochloric acid and intrinsic factor. This reduces the amount of vitamin B12, particularly food-bound vitamin B12, that the body releases and absorbs.

Interactions with Medications: Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin®) is a bacteriostatic antibiotic. Limited evidence from case reports indicates that chloramphenicol can interfere with the red blood cell response to supplemental vitamin B12 in some patients. Histamine H2 receptor antagonists, used to treat peptic ulcer disease, include cimetidine (Tagamet®), famotidine (Pepcid®), and ranitidine (Zantac®). These medications can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12 from food by slowing the release of hydrochloric acid into the stomach. Metformin, a hypoglycemic agent used to treat diabetes, might reduce the absorption of vitamin B12, possibly through alterations in intestinal mobility, increased bacterial overgrowth, or alterations in the calcium-dependent uptake by ileal cells of the vitamin B12-intrinsic factor complex.

Where to Find it:
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Vitamin B12 is generally not present in plant foods but it is fortified in some processed foods such as breakfast cereals and is found in significant amounts in brewer's and nutritional yeast.

How To Supplement it:
If you have a B12 deficiency, it is more than likely because you are not absorbing it through your digestive system, in which case, you should be using a sublingual (under the tongue) tablet form, or better yet, a liquid form of B12 that you can apply to your forearm or inside of your thighs where it will be absorbed by your skin directly into your bloodstream thereby bypassing your digestive system.

Health Risks from Excessive Vitamin B12:
The IOM (Institute of Medicine) has not established a universal limit for vitamin B12 because of its low potential for toxicity. In Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline, the IOM states that "no adverse effects have been associated with excess vitamin B12 intake from food and supplements in healthy individuals" However, a few nutritional reports claim excessive B vitamin (not so much B12) can cause nerve problems that act the same as a deficiency. That is, too many B vitamins could cause a nerve disorder. You would have to take an extremely high amount for this to happen since the body flushes it out of the system within 8 hours.

 

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- Ask a Nutritionist

- Ask an Herbalist

- The brain needs some healthy time too?
Stop by The Cyber Lounge on your way out.

- Also see the Motivity Page for Mental Health.

- Find more health articles in our Archives and health product reviews are in The Hangout. But you must be a Circkles.com member to access those pages.

This health section is updated monthly to give our members a chance to view it, so check back the first of every month for new posts. Disclaimer: This page is designed to offer information only on topics the average person can use themselves. It is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

HOME REMEDIES: Improve Your Hair.

Rosemary is good for dark hair. It improves circulation in the scalp, increases shine and color and can help with dandruff. Make a strong tea of rosemary, keep it in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and use it for a hair rinse.

Chamomile is good for light hair such as blondes. It perks up the color and can soothe the scalp. Make a strong chamomile tea and put some in a jar in the refrigerator to use as a hair rinse after shampooing. It will last about a week refrigerated.

Yucca root was used by the native Americans as a shampoo for centuries. Claims have been made that it can slow the graying of hair, but whether that works or not has not been proven. However, yucca root makes an excellent hair rinse just the same. It will improve the softness of your hair and moisturize your scalp. Make a strong tea of this wild herb by simmering the raw root and then keeping it in the refrigerated until needed. Yucca contains natural saponins which make it slightly sudsy, as you may notice while using it. This is why native Americans used it as a shampoo. No reason you can't do the same.

Biotin: While biotin is added to some shampoos, in order to really reap it's benefits for your hair and nails, it's best to take it internally. Brewer's yeast is extremely effective in improving hair softness, scalp dryness and overall hair health and appearance because it's high in biotin. Take a tablespoon of brewer's yeast once a day for a week and you will notice the difference not just in your hair but your overall health.

 

HERBS: .
How to use herbs for maximum benefit.  Short and sweet descriptions and uses written by our on-staff Nutritional Herbalist.  Always remember that herbs should be treated as a medicine. Almost all of our modern-day medicines are derived from compounds found in herbs and plants. If you have not used a particular herb before, try a half dose at first to make sure you do not have an unfavorable reaction to it.

Cranberry Vaccinium macrocarpon.

Not technically an herb, but this article pertains to the cranberry juice extract that has been tested by scientists.

Medicinal Properties: Almost everyone has heard of drinking cranberry juice for urinary tract infections, but it's also extremely effective against E.Coli. It does this by preventing the dangerous bacteria from adhering to cells along the intestinal wall thereby helping the body to flush them out of the system. Cranberry has also been used to dissolve kidney and gall stones.
Cranberries have recently been labeled as a longevity food, with studies suggesting it may help you live longer. Recent research indicates that cranberry consumption can extend the life of fruit flies. Scientists were able to uncover the biological process by which cranberries promote long life in multicellular organisms.
The effects of cranberry consumption on human life span have yet to be studied, but scientists are optimistic that their findings "have important implications in utilizing cranberry juice extract to promote healthy aging and combat age related diseases in humans."

How to Use: Unsweetened 100% cranberry juice is the most effective against E.coli and intestinal bacteria from the flu etc. I know it tastes sour, but the sugar in sweetened cranberry juice is contraindicative for E.coli or gastric problems because bad bacteria love sugar. Always keep a jar of cranberry juice around for those all-too-often E.Coli outbreaks and also for stomach flu. It will keep in the refrigerator for months since bacteria will not grow in it.
Or.....find more creative ways to incorporate raw organic cranberries into your diet on a regular basis. Such as adding them to cereal, baked goods, smoothies etc.
See our recipe for Cranberry Walnut Breakfast Bars.

Parts Used: Berries

Some Herb Basics: Most herbs work better on an empty stomach. A few exceptions are garlic, goldenseal and cayenne due to stomach upset. Herbs work in a cumulative fashion meaning they are not a "one dose wonder." They need to build up in the system a little, usually within 2-3 doses, before any real affect can be noticed. Fresh herbs always work better than old herbs and science is always proving the fact that a whole herb usually is more effective than one isolated compound of that herb.

 


FOODS THAT HEAL:
Do you know what foods will give you more energy, calm your nerves, act as an anti-inflammatory, help prevent cancers, or help you lose weight? Hopefully this column will help you to have a better understanding of food and its healing properties. The best diet for optimal health is a wide variation of foods, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and minimally cooked whole foods. Sweets, fatty foods, meat, dairy and carbs in moderation.

Carrots.

Therapeutic Properties: Of course, carrots are good for the eyes and high in beta-carotene which makes them a good cancer deterrent. Because they are so high in Vitamin A, carrots also fight infections, boost immunity and protect the arteries. One medium raw carrot a day cuts lung cancer risk in half according to one study. Carrots are good for the eyes for problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. The roughage of raw carrots makes them good for maintaining a healthy colon and digestion.

Acid or Alkaline: Slightly acidic.

Phytoestrogen? Yes.

Significant Nutrients: Beta-carotene and vitamin A. Small amount of Calcium.

See our AWESOME Carrot Cake with Sweet Cream Sauce recipe in the Circkles Monthly Recipe Club.

Become a Circkles subcriber and join our Recipe of the Month Club for ways to incorporate Foods That Heal into your meals and get our latest recipes sent to you automatically.

You can find more herbs and home remedies in The Circkles Hangout under the Main Menu. (Sorry, you must be a subscriber of Circkles.com.)

October 2013
Health and Nutrition Circkles
"The Doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."
~Thomas Edison
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