Early on in my career as a professional fitness trainer, I realized that it was not the lack of will or desire that kept a large percentage of my clientele from reaching their fitness goals; it was the presence of chronic, debilitating pain. The most common types of pain limiting the client’s motion were neck and back pain, often related to injuries.
To help these clients regain mobility, I decided to make it my mission to research available scientific literature and become familiar with every clinically effective pain-relief cream, pain medication, and natural pain remedy available in the marketplace. I soon discovered that prescription pain medications, while often able to effectively block aches and discomforts, came with a variety of dangerous side effects which, in my opinion, made their long-term use inadvisable. Studies showed that even garden variety over-the-counter salicylates (aspirin), when taken for prolonged periods, doubled the likelihood of perforated ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Further research eventually brought me to a six-year observational study of 6,500 outpatients entitled “Homeopathic Treatment for Chronic Disease,” published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The study, which measured the results of using homeopathic intervention for a wide range of diseases, found nearly 71 percent of the patients treated with homeopathic remedies got better.
Because homeopathic remedies produced overwhelmingly positive results and no harmful side effects, we then narrowed our focus to find the most effective natural remedies for treating the specific types of pain that our clients were suffering from, which included back pain, neck pain, muscle pain, and joint pain.
The following 10 all-natural pain relievers, which can be rubbed directly into the skin over the painful areas, were found in clinical studies to produce the fastest and most effective pain relief.
The story behind the discovery of CMO is that a scientist working for the National Institutes of Health noticed that lab mice never contracted arthritis. After investigation, he determined that mice produced a rare fatty acid known as cetyl myristoleate (CMO) which gave them immunity from arthritis. When the scientist applied CMO to his own arthritic joints he found it completely alleviated his pain symptoms. CMO acts as a moisturizer on dry and brittle joints, cushioning the joints, and repairing cell membranes. Some researchers have been so impressed with CMO they say it may be an alternative to the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for treatment of osteoarthritis.
While CMO is one of the rarest substances to occur in nature, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is one of the body’s most common. This naturally occurring nutritional sulfur makes the body’s cells more permeable, allowing nutrients to more easily flow in and out through the cell membranes. MSM works in two ways to naturally relieve pain. First, it blocks the C fibers from delivering their chronic pain message to your brain. Secondly, MSM decreases swelling and inflammation.
Menthol is an ancient herbal medicine used by ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians to rapidly cool painful flare-ups in muscles and tendons. It’s why whenever you use a cream containing menthol as an ingredient, you instantly feel cool relief to aching muscles. Menthol actually tricks the body by sending a cooling, pleasing sensation to your brain that thwarts the stinging heat of inflammation. Menthol then acts fast to increase the blood flow by widening the blood vessels to reduce inflammation and pain.
Ignatia, a plant used by ancient Chinese doctors, was brought to the West by a Jesuit missionary serving in the Philippines in the late 1600s. This homeopathic remedy calms nerves and reduces the stress which can lead to tight shoulders, a tight neck and painful tension headaches. It also relieves emotional distress, allowing muscles to relax.
5. Magnesium Sulfate
We’d probably all agree there’s nothing more agonizing than sudden painful muscle spasms. Fortunately, when they occur, there’s nothing faster at stopping muscle spasms and twitching than magnesium sulfate. This vital mineral compound has also been shown to reduce aching joint pain by 80 percent.
6. Lachesis Mutus
A rare homeopathic remedy from Central and South America, lachesis mutus has been prescribed for centuries as a blood thinner. This thinning quickly improves blood flow, which speeds healing by removing toxins from the blood.
Phosphorous, the second most abundant mineral in your body, relieves the burning sensation of tight, painful muscles by stopping the nerves from sending pain messages to the brain. It’s especially good at helping muscles rebound after a workout.
For centuries, healers have used a plant called belladonna as a powerful anesthetic for surgeries. It reduces swelling, eliminates muscle twitches, relieves nerve pain, ends muscle aches and stops shooting pains.
9. Rhus Tox
Another ancient natural remedy, rhus tox, helps to eliminate stiffness and aches caused by inflammation in both muscles and joints. It’s good for sprains and backaches, too.
Naja is a rare but amazingly potent homeopathic remedy from India that quickly calms nerve-based pain and brings fast relief from inflammation. It’s also very effective at curing migraine headaches.
Certified fitness and rehabilitation specialist Jesse Cannone is co-founder of The Healthy Back Institute, an expert in natural modalities for pain relief, and author of “The 7-Day Back Pain Cure.”