natural alternatives to painkillers

Don’t like taking pain killers? Then look for alternatives

“I don’t like taking pain killers” is a phrase we often hear in practice, many patients can be concerned about the possible side effects of ibuprofen or paracetamol or the adverse effects these drugs can have on the liver especially when taken regularly.

Inflammation is a necessary part of the body’s healing response, but excessive inflammation can lead to disease.

Monocytes (white blood cells), help to fight off infections and Cytokines are a protein that help other cells to kill off cancerous or infected cells.

TNF is the name of one these cytokines. TNF also has pro-inflammatory properties, which help the body to bring its inflammatory cells to the site of the injury, creating a healing response

However GOOD NEWS! Ibuprofen / paracetamol is not the only way to control inflammation.

1. Turmeric or “curcumin” in high doses can be as effective as an ibuprofen in reducing pain and swelling.

A systematic review and meta-analysis showed scientific evidence that 8–12 weeks of standardized turmeric extracts (1000 mg/day of curcumin) treatment reduced arthritis symptoms and resulted in similar improvements as ibuprofen.

Research suggests curcumin also targets specific inflammatory cells and blocks certain enzymes that lead to inflammation.

2. Alternating hot and cold

Think of this as a delivery system of materials, when your body is repairing itself it requires building blocks and energy to do this, once these materials have been used there remains a build-up of waste product and this need to be removed.

Applying heat to the area increases the blood flow bringing and supply of nutrient and oxygen to the area to add in healing.

Applying cold causes a reduction in blood flow to an area this essentially flushing the area of any inflammatory chemicals and waste products, this also has an analgesic effect.

So by alternating hot and cold (hot being the delivery of new materials and the cold being the waste removal) this helps to create in the body a good environment for healing.

3. Movement!! (a rolling stone gathers no moss)

Studies are showing that as little as 20 minutes activity is enough to reduce inflammation.

47 participants walked on a treadmill for 20 minutes and blood samples were taken from the participants both before and after exercise.

“Our study found one session of about 20 minutes of moderate treadmill exercise resulted in a 5 percent decrease in the number of stimulated immune cells producing TNF,” says Hong.
More specifically, the researchers tested the hypothesis that a single 20-minute session of exercise would be enough to trigger sympathoadrenergic activation, which, in turn, would suppress the production of monocytic cytokines, meaning that the inflammation response was reduced.

Thanks to The Osetopathic House in Richmansworth for this guest article. For more information about their treatments, Tel: 01923 89 66 55 or visit


  1. Daily JW, Yang M, Park S. Efficacy of turmeric extracts and curcumin for alleviating the symptoms of joint arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Journal of medicinal food. 2016 Aug 1;19(8):717-29.
  2. Dimitrov S, Hulteng E, Hong S. Inflammation and exercise: Inhibition of monocytic intracellular TNF production by acute exercise via β2-adrenergic activation. Brain, behavior, and immunity. 2017 Mar 1;61:60-8.

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