Q. Dear Terry, “My neck hurts really bad today from falling asleep on the couch. I’ve tried stretching and some over-the-counter pain medications, but the pain is not going away. What else can I try?” – Mal L., Honolulu, HI
A. Dear Mal, When it comes to acute pain, I think there are three ingredients that are incredibly safe and effective. Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers can destroy the stomach lining, put incredible stress on the liver, have a dangerous blood thinning effect, and even change the way people think and experience emotions. These are just a few of the reasons why I choose natural approaches to pain relief.
I prefer a blend of curcumin, boswellia, and black sesame oil for fast pain relief. Curcumin from turmeric is one of the world’s leading natural pain medicines. Curcumin fights inflammation in the body, which is one of the key drivers of the pain response. There is also a lot of research on curcumin supporting joint function and mobility. The curcumin I prefer is blended with turmeric oils, which means it offers a wider spectrum of compounds from the turmeric plant.
Boswellia works synergistically with curcumin to modulate the inflammatory pathways in the body. A placebo-controlled clinical study found that people had a higher pain threshold and greater pain tolerance when taking boswellia. I would take a boswellia that is uniquely standardized to contain high levels of the key compound, AKBA (acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid) and low levels of the pro-inflammatory compound BBA (beta-boswellic acid).
Lastly, sesame oil contains compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects for synovial (joint) tissue. A compound within sesame oil, called sesamin, helps to protect the cushioning elements of our joints.
A clinical study using curcumin and boswellia emulsified in black sesame oil demonstrated that the herbal ingredients worked as fast as acetaminophen for acute pain. Additionally, the herbal group was 8.5 times better than acetaminophen at alleviating the emotional aspects of pain, such as fatigue, fear, and distress. Plus, these ingredients are protective for the liver, stomach, and kidneys – unlike traditional OTC pain relievers.
I would take these ingredients once or twice per day.
You may also want to consider magnesium due to its ability to help relax tense muscles. Magnesium works synergistically with vitamin B6 (as pyridoxal-5-phosphate [P-5-P]) and zinc. I would take vitamin B6 (as P-5-P), magnesium glycinate chelate, and zinc glycinate chelate three times per day.
Terry . . . Naturally
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