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Pain Management – Natural Pain Management

Pain Management - Natural Pain Management
Greetings friends. Today I am going to talk to you about managing pain in a natural health sense. Many of my clients are sufferers of chronic pain and as such have, in many cases, been on prescription or over the counter pain medications for long periods. These of course come with a long list of undesirable side effects for many users and in some cases these can be quite dire indeed. The question often arises; “is there any natural or herbal medicines that may be able to help me?”. The answer is YES! There are several well known herbal medicines and nutrition based approaches that have shown in clinical trials, to be as good as or better than their prescription counter parts. There are also electro-magnetic and electrical current approaches that are working well to relieve pain and inflammation that require no drugs and that work very well in conjunction with natural medicines. Today I am going to outline some of my most used and most well known natural medicines for pain and inflammation so you may gain an understanding of how they work and what they may do for you. So grab a nice cuppa and enjoy the read 🙂


Pain can be described as an unpleasant, subjective, sensory and emotional experience that occurs in response to actual or potential tissue damage. It is a complex phenomenon influenced by physical, psychological and environmental factors and is the most common reason that people seek medical advice. Over 3 million Australians live with chronic pain, with this number projected to rise to 5 million by 2050. Pain may be classified as acute, sub acute, recurrent or chronic. Untreated, acute pain may develop into chronic pain which is considered a disease entity in it’s own right. As it is highly subjective, people vary widely in their tolerance to pain.

Mechanisms of Pain

As you can imagine, pain is a highly subjective sensation associated with a wide range of health conditions, psychological factors, physical factors and environmental factors. Pain may be difficult to quantify for this reason. Pain may be nociceptive, neuropathic or psychogenic in origin and may be acute, sub-acute, recurrent or chronic in it’s duration.
  • Nociceptive Pain – This is the most common type of pain. It arises from the activation of nociceptors, the receptive nerve endings that respond to mechanical, thermal or inflammatory (Chemical) stimuli. Examples of these are burns, fractures and wounds.
  • Neuropathic Pain – This is characterised by pain due to injury or dysfunction of the axons of the peripheral or central nervous systems. Neuropathic pain is quite often distressing and may require a comprehensive and integrative pain management plan. Examples of neuropathic pain include nerve compression (Bulging Disc), diabetic neuropathy, neuralgia.
  • Psychogenic Pain – This is pain without a well defined physical cause that carries psychological factors. Basically any type of pain that may be amplified by psychological factors. Examples include back pain, stomach pain, musculo-skeletal pain.

Natural Medicines For Pain and Inflammation


  • Curcumin (Theracurmin) – Curcumin the active constituent of Turmeric has long been studied and used for pain and inflammation. Curcumin works by inhibiting nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kB), a transcript factor involved in inflammation. Inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), prostaglandins, leukotrienes and other cytokines involved in inflammatory responses and signalling pathways have been demonstrated with curcumin administration. Recent experimental research exploring the effects curcumin has on pain found that it possesses significant anti-nociceptive qualities by acting on  dorsal root ganglia and having an influence on opioid and serotonin receptors. Human studies have now confirmed the efficacy of curcumin in the treatment of pain related conditions such as dyspepsia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and in helping reduce post-op pain.
  • White Willow Bark (Salix alba) – The use of this herb for pain dates back thousands of years where it was used in China and Europe for pain and fever relief. Salicin, a phenolic glycoside, appears largely responsible for willow barks therapeutic effects. Willow bark may provide analgesic activity by inhibiting COX-2 mediated prostaglandin (Pain hormones) release thus promoting an anti-inflammatory effect. Several clinical trials and a Cochrane review support the use of willow bark for pain relief. A willow bark extract standardised to 240 mg of salicin provided a similar effect to a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) in patients with an acute exacerbation of chronic low back pain.
  • Boswelia (Boswelia serrata) – The gum resin obtained from the bark of the Boswelia tree show potent anti-inflammatory effects and is used for painful conditions including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, dysmenorrhea and ulcerative colitis. Preliminary research has shown anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-arthritic effects with boswelic acids identified as the main active constituents. In humans, boswelia increases the pain threshold and pain tolerance in healthy subjects. Those suffering arthritis showed significant redictions in pain and swelling whilst improving mobility.
  • Jamacian Dogwood (Piscidia piscipula) – This has been used traditionally for neuralgia, toothache, migraine, dysmenorrhea, spasmodic pain, musculo-skeletal pain and insomnia associated with pain. Animal studies reveal both anti-inflammatory and strong anti-spasmodic activity which supports traditional use.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – Ginger has been used for it’s therapeutic benefits for thousands of years. The rhizomes (roots) of the plant contain gingerolem ginerdone, shogaol and volatile oils which provide analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-emetic activity. Clinical trials support the use of ginger for dysmenorrhea, both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis where it may reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium plays an important role in muscle relaxation and contraction through it’s role in ion transport systems. Magnesium also blocks the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor which is involved in the development of chronic neuropathic pain. Low magnesium levels have been found in individuals with migraines and fibromyalgia, while a deficiency a deficiency may be associated with pain and cramping. Research shows supplementation with oral magnesium reduce leg cramps and dysmenorrhea. Patients with chronic low back pain receiving intravenous magnesium for two weeks followed by oral magnesium for 4 weeks experienced reduced pain and intensity and improved spinal mobility.
  • Fish Oil (EPA/DHA) – These are rich in essential fatty acids which are important anti-inflammatory compounds which exert their benefits by many pathways. Fish oils reduce the production of inflammatory mediators and factors. Clinical trials have shown that fish oil reduces dysmenorrhea, rheumatoid arthritis, neck pain, back pain and other inflammatory disorders and reduce the need for medication including NSAIDs (Ibuprofen etc).
  • Proteolytic Enzymes – Proteolytic enzymes (enzymes that break down proteins in to their amino acids) which include bromelains from pineapple, assist in the breakdown and removal of inflammatory by-products, leading to a reduced localised pain and swelling response following injury or surgery. Bomelain possesses anti-inflammatory fibrinolytic and skin debridement properties. Preliminary trials indicate that bromelain supplementation may reduce knee pain in otherwise healthy individuals, improve knee function in osteoarthritis, reduce the joint swelling in rheumatoid arthritis and reduce the symptoms of acute and chronic sinusitis.
  • Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) – This is traditionally used for the relief of pain and arthritis. Devil’s claw and it’s active constituents which includes harpogaside, harpagide and procumbide inhibit the development of inflammation and produce an analgesic effect. Clinical trials have shown devil’s claw may reduce the pain of arthritis and non-specific back pain.
  • Cat’s Claw (Unicaria tomentosa) – This herb provides a similar anti-inflammatory effect to Devil’s claw. Clinical trials show supplementation may improve the symptoms of osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.

Managing Your Pain

Because pain is such a subjective entity, individualised programs are the best approach for reducing and managing your pain naturally. Other than the use of one or more of these natural medicines listed above, further measures like the use of the MiHealth device (PEMFT – read more on that here) to correct acupuncture meridians and activate deeper cellular healing responses may be used a long with meditation and mindfulness approaches to help reduce the mind and body response to pain. In some cases manual bodywork may also be appropriate.  It is this combination of these natural approaches, in the right order and amounts for each client, that brings about best results when taking a more drug free approach to pain reduction and management. Here at Craig Hitchens Therapies I am able to combine these therapeutic approaches to design a program to best suit your needs. This type of approach to natural pain management is something I have been doing with many of my clients for many years now. If this is something you feel you would like to try out please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Well I hope you have a bit clearer understanding of the natural medicines available to you for the reduction and management of pain. You need not suffer the side effects of long term prescription pain relief, there are natural means available to you.
Until next time, be well naturally.


Craig Hitchens – Natural Health Practitioner


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Alternative & Natural Health Disclaimer:

The information contained in this article is accurate at the time of posting but may change thereafter. The information provided on the various natural health subjects from this website of  is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as any form of medical advice. The information in the article this disclaimer is linked from is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always check with your health professional before taking any products or following any advice that you believe may conflict with other forms of health care. Always consult your health care professional before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed. Certain herbs and holistic remedies are unsuitable to take if you are pregnant or nursing and must always be cleared by your health professional before use.

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I highly recommend Craig Hitchens and his services. Craig has helped and supported me through some very difficult health problems using NES and general nutritional advice. Craig has often provided advice and done research without me asking, sometimes without charging me, in his free time. He is a caring, well informed, passionate and highly motivated natural health practitioner. I Feel that NES has cured me of chronic Epstein Barr virus that left me bed ridden for 5 years. My chronic fatigue has been significantly reduced and I'm now living a normal, happy life.
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