My Top 20 Favorite Cures for Pain: Effective Supplements and Strategies
Death should never be considered as an acceptable side effect of a pain medication, even if the drug is considered as the optimal “standard of care” by Western medicine.
As you may know, we are in the midst of an opioid crisis. According to the government’s website, “From January to March 2017, there were at least 602 apparent opioid-related deaths and it is expected that this count will rise as additional data become available.” Many of these victims started out taking prescribed opioid drugs for a variety of pain-related conditions, but then became addicted to the drugs and eventually overdosed on them.
There are numerous conditions that produce acute or chronic pain. The commonest ones include arthritis; cancer; fibromyalgia (mostly muscular); headaches including migraines; sports injuries; neuralgias (e.g. shingles; and toothaches. What can you do naturally for pain control to avoid the side effects of drugs?
First Check Out Your Diet
“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
If all other medical diagnoses have been ruled out, chronic unexplained aches and pains could be the result of hidden food intolerances, also referred to as delayed hypersensitivities. Over 90% of the documented adverse reactions to foods are not true allergies, occur on a delayed basis (up to 4 days after exposure), and will avoid detection by conventional skin scratch tests. They are often referred to as “Type 2 Allergies” and they may have either immune or non-immune system mechanisms.
The most accepted method of identifying these non-classical food reactions is an elimination diet. This identification is accomplished by following a hypoallergenic diet for three weeks, eliminating the most commonly eaten foods (sugar, sweeteners, grains, milk and dairy products, eggs, yeast, corn, soy, citrus, caffeine, red meat, bacon, and any other foods eaten on a daily basis), and then challenging the body by re-introducing the eliminated foods one by one, noting the reactions.
During the three weeks that the hypoallergenic diet is underway, participants often notice that symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, wheezing, joint pain, muscle aches, headaches, itching, and more will improve or disappear. If one then reintroduces the individual to these trigger foods and the symptoms reappear, the person is most likely allergic (or intolerant) to one or more of the test foods. He or she is then advised to abstain from these foods for a period of months or years. This process only works if all the foods are discontinued abruptly or by “cold turkey.” Easing into this diet slowly does not work.
The elimination diet is not recommended for severely ill people and is best performed under the supervision of a qualified health care practitioner. A safer and more accurate alternative to the elimination diet is the IgG RAST. This is a blood test performed by one of several labs that can assess how your blood reacts to as many as 250 foods. In Ontario, Gamma Dynacare Labs will perform this test based on any doctor’s order. The cost will vary between $250 and $325, depending upon the number of foods tested.
Recent studies have concluded that eliminating the foods detected by the IgG RAST are at least 80% effective in reversing or reducing the symptoms of dozens of chronic health problems, including various chronic pain syndromes.
“Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you cannot bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain. What you have not done is feel all you are beyond that pain.” – Kahlil Gibran
If you don’t move it, you lose it. So, the next thing to look into is the benefit of physical therapies like acupuncture, massage, exercise, sauna therapy, chiropractic, and osteopathy for pain relief. Some people respond better to one than the other but all can be effective for the right individual.
Physical exercise, stretching, and muscle strengthening by lifting weights are also effective for assorted aches and pains. Some people people do well with movement routines like yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong, and others with martial arts like karate. It’s all a matter of individual likes, dislikes, and compatibility, but the bottom line is you’ve got to improve your circulation somehow and (with the exception of sauna therapy) that requires movement.
Natural Health Product (NHP) Supplements
Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs used for pain control work quickly but are linked to numerous unwanted side effects, the seriousness of which depends on the drug. With narcotics, for example, the potential for addiction and death are significant, and even Tylenol, Aspirin, steroids and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can have serious consequences if used for extended periods of time.
In 2013, deaths caused by prescription and OTC drugs in the U.S. were over 47,000. Those are the documented cases but it is estimated that the figure could be much higher if full reporting of drug deaths were recorded.
These high death rates from prescription drugs are a far cry from what can be expected with natural health products (NHPs). In fact, a report published by the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service (Jan. 12, 2016) declared that in 2014: “Not only were there no deaths from vitamins, there were also zero deaths from any supplement.” NHPs are generally regarded as safe. They can, however, interact with some drugs, so caution should be exercised if one is taking certain medications on a regular basis.
NHPs usually take from weeks to months to be fully effective for control of aches and pains. They are by no means a quick fix. The good news is that, unlike drugs, they have never killed anyone. You would be hard pressed to commit suicide with an NHP. The same cannot be said for most painkillers, many of which have successfully been used for that purpose.
There are literally dozens of NHPs that have been recommended as remedies for aches and pains. Listed below are those that I have found work the best for people suffering from chronic pain syndromes of just about any kind.
1) VITAMIN D (10,000 IU or more daily) –This NHP has been in the news nearly every day for the past decade, and for good reason. Vitamin D works primarily as an anti-inflammatory agent. Since low-grade inflammation is at the root of chronic pain and disability in most cases, it stands to reason that it should help anybody with aches and pains. In fact, several recent studies have provided evidence for its use in this connection. I’m constantly amazed at how many people treated for heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders, who start taking high doses of vitamin D, improve their low back pain, arthritic knees, and headaches within weeks of supplementation. Since most chronic illness also has inflammation at its core, it’s easy to understand why vitamin D would be helpful to those conditions as well as aches and pains.
2) OMEGA-3 (4,000 mg or more daily of combined EPA and DHA) – This NHP has been proven to relieve chronic pain due to arthritis, muscle stiffness, or injury, as well as headaches. Omega-3 enhances the action of vitamin D, and together they are effective treatments for depression and other mental health concerns, including ADHD and some cases of autism.
3) MAGNESIUM BISGLYCINATE OR THREONATE (500 to 1,000 mg daily) – This is an absolute must for anyone suffering from pain anywhere, especially for those afflicted with fibromyalgia. You can read much more about magnesium in my Vitality article entitled ‘Magnificent Magnesium’. In more severe pain cases like neuralgias, cancer or bone pain, magnesium is even more effective when given intravenously.
4) CURCUMIN (1000 to 2000 mg daily) – is an extract of the spice turmeric, which has been extensively studied as one of the most effective anti-inflammatory agents available. Not only does it help alleviate arthritis and muscle pain, curcumin also has anti-cancer, anti-fungal, cholesterol-lowering, and anti-depressant effects.
5) SERRAPEPTASE (120,000 to 240,000 units twice daily) – is an enzyme derived from the silkworm. It too is strongly anti-inflammatory when taken on an empty stomach and has numerous applications for arthritis, fibromyalgia, coronary artery disease, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, along with numerous other chronic health concerns. Other enzymes such as pancreatin, bromelain, papain, and vegetable enzymes are also effective for pain relief when taken on an empty stomach – but serrapeptase is far stronger clinically, in my opinion and experience.
6) HERBAL REMEDIES – Alone or in combination: arnica, boswellia, ginger root, cayenne (capsaicin), devil’s claw, ginseng, kava kava, St. John’s wort, valerian, white willow bark, and feverfew can all sometimes be effective for aches and pains. Experimenting with these can be quite rewarding. For instance, feverfew has a good history of benefits in treating migraine headaches, while boswellia has gained a good reputation for its arthritis benefits.
7) VITAMIN C (1000 to 3000 mg daily) – has been shown to help reduce muscle soreness in several studies. Many athletes swear by the benefits of vitamin C for enhancing athletic performance. It just makes perfect sense because vitamin C is critical for the nourishment of connective tissue like muscles, ligaments, gums, bones, and joints. Intravenous vitamin C can safely make use of doses as high as 100 grams per infusion. This level of megadose is particularly effective for severe cancer pain.
8) GLUTATHIONE (Setria brand) (1000 mg or more daily) – is also very important for pain control. Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant. I wrote an article on Glutathione for Vitality in September 2015.  In it, you will read about glutathione’s multiple benefits for a long list of chronic conditions. If you didn’t know it already, antioxidants are anti-inflammatory agents and vice versa.
9) CANNABIS (aka “medical marijuana”) – is a plant that has been unjustly vilified for at least the last 50 years. Only recently has it gained some acceptance for its myriad of medicinal benefits. Cannabis contains several active chemical components (mainly CBD and THC) that drug companies have been unsuccessful in mimicking or marketing for huge profits. Drug versions of these active compounds have significant toxic side effects. This is not the case with the intact, whole cannabis plant or its unadulterated components.
Cannabis can control moderate-to-severe pain, as an alternative to opioids in conditions such as MS, and in different types of cancer. Various licensed dispensaries can make it available to people on a doctor’s prescription in Ontario. Now legalized in Canada for recreational use, access to it may not be needing a doctor’s prescription.
10) THE MYER’S COCKTAIL – This cocktail of intravenous vitamins and minerals is a very effective remedy for severe pain conditions, especially in those over 65 years of age. As one gets older, the ability of the digestive tract to absorb certain nutrients is reduced. People who need digestive enzymes to help absorb vitamins and minerals often benefit dramatically from IV nutrients because this procedure circumvents the stomach and intestines. Those who get diarrhea from even modest amounts of oral vitamin C supplementation are able to tolerate megadoses of this vital nutrient by IV without any gut side effects.
This cocktail has a long track record of safely reversing numerous health problems. Named after the late Dr. John Myers, the cocktail is known to help alleviate acute asthma attacks, migraines, fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, acute muscle spasm, anxiety, depression, upper respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis, seasonal allergic rhinitis, angina, hypertension, and other cardiovascular disease disorders.
Nutrients in The Myers’ Cocktail:
Magnesium chloride hexahydrate 20% (magnesium) 2-5 mL
Calcium gluconate 10% (calcium) 1-3 mL
Hydroxocobalamin 1,000 mcg/mL (B12) 1 mL
Pyridoxine hydrochloride 100mg/mL (B6) 1 mL
Dexpanthenol 250 mg/mL (B5) 1 mL
B complex 100 (B complex) 1 mL
Vitamin C 222 mg/mL (C) 4-20 mL
Some doctors also follow the cocktail with IV glutathione and adrenal cortical extract for added antioxidant and energy boosting. The majority of individuals who get this IV will do so twice a week until feeling better, then maybe once a week or once a month depending on the case.
11) GLUCOSAMINE SULFATE (with or without chondroitin) / (1500 mg daily) – This remedy combo has long been a mainstay in the treatment of osteoarthritis and the pain associated with that condition. It will do very little, if anything, for chronic muscle pain. It works by healing the cartilage in the joints and this takes six or more weeks before you’ll see any improvements in pain and mobility. If you’re a senior and suffer from joint pain, it’s worth trying.
12) PROBIOTICS (1 to 3 capsules of a multi-strain probiotic; 15 – 50 billion cells) – can reduce pain, especially in those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. If your gut is loaded with unfriendly bugs that secrete various toxins, chronic inflammation can be the result. Probiotic supplements can help rebalance your gut flora in favour of more friendly microbes that will actually secrete various pain-relieving substances.
13) DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) – is a natural sulfur compound most often used topically for muscle and arthritis pain. It is strongly anti-inflammatory and analgesic. The unique feature of DMSO is that it quickly penetrates any skin surface. If one rubs in any mineral directly on top of DMSO, that mineral penetrates the skin and gets into the bloodstream quickly. DMSO is a powerful carrier of whatever you put on top of it. So, DMSO is ideal for people with poor mineral absorption who want to avoid IV nutrients. Just rub in the DMSO and then rub in directly afterwards magnesium chloride or almost any other mineral. The one drawback to using DMSO, especially if one swallows it on a regular basis, is the garlic-like odour it produces, making the individual less socially acceptable. Some cancer clinics around the world use DMSO in high doses to reduce inflammation and cancer spread. The late Dr. Rudy Falk in Toronto used DMSO liberally in his cancer clinic with terrific results.
14) VITAMIN K2 (1,000 mcg or more daily) – This nutrient, found in green leafy vegetables (kale, arugula, spinach, etc.), has pain-soothing properties, according to some research. Aside from pain relief, vitamin K2 is vital for normal blood clotting, preventing osteoporosis and keeping calcium from depositing into arteries. It works even better when combined with vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids discussed earlier in this article.
15) CLOVE OIL – contains an ingredient called eugenol which has been used by knowledgeable dentists for decades as topical, temporary relief of a toothache. Just saturate a cotton ball or tissue with clove oil and rub it into the gums adjacent to the pain as needed. But, do go see a dentist to deal with the tooth or gum infection too.
16) ECHINACEA (5000 mg or more daily) – This herbal remedy is mostly known for its immune system benefits when treating colds, ‘flus, and other infections. In high doses, it can relieve a toothache and arthritic pain. There is no evidence to suggest that echinacea cannot be used longer than two weeks. This myth originates from an old German study which was mistranslated, leading one to believe that echinacea’s effects plateaued after five days. Echinacea can be safely and effectively used for years. There is no evidence that echinacea cannot be taken on a continuous basis or that it cannot be used by people suffering from autoimmune diseases like lupus and AIDS.
17) ROSEMARY OIL – can be used topically for muscle and joint pain as well as for neuralgia seen in shingles. It can be mixed with other oils like peppermint, DMSO gel, and magnesium chloride gel.
18) BLACK SEED OIL (Nigella Sativa) – is an oil that can both be swallowed and used topically for virtually any kind of pain. One study showed it to possess better pain control than Tylenol without the adverse effects on the liver. In fact, black seed oil can protect the liver from disease and can help reverse fatty liver and other liver diseases. It is also anti-inflammatory as well as anti-cancer.
19) MEDICAL OZONE – This is something that can be injected or combined with olive oil as a topical cream or gel. There are perhaps several thousand studies on the multiple benefits of medical ozone but it’s a good remedy to think of especially for the pain that comes with some skin infections like shingles.
20) MSM (Methyl-sulfonyl-methane) / (6000 mg or more daily) – is effective for most general aches and pains. MSM is the physiological form of sulfur in the body and is another extremely important mineral needed for connective tissue repair. MSM has applications for muscle and joint injuries as well as for chronic pains of unknown origins. Hair, skin, and nails also receive benefits from MSM, especially if the body absorbs sulfur poorly from the gastrointestinal tract. About 20 years ago, I wrote a small article in The Toronto Star on MSM. Shortly thereafter, I received a nice letter from a horse trainer at the Woodbine horse track in Toronto. He told me that he had used MSM for many years on his horses, both orally and topically, to relieve their aches and pains so they could run faster. Since MSM is an NHP, it could never be detected in the urine as a doping agent. So, MSM is used extensively in the horse-racing field.
Numerous studies report that cannabis can work to replace opiates and several commonly prescribed pain drugs. Depending on the strain of cannabis, and the concentration of THC or CBD (cannabidiol), the plant has been successfully used for pain control, anxiety, depression, PTSD, seizure disorders, autism, and insomnia.
Over the years, I have witnessed that most people can overcome pain by using the strategies described here. You can work with a natural health care practitioner to get a personalized plan of action.
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
 IgG RAST: Gamma Dynacare Labs (Tel: 905-790-3000) will perform this test based on any doctor’s order.
 “Magnificent Magnesium” by Dr. Zoltan Rona https://vitalitymagazine.com/article/magnificent-magnesium/
”Reversing Glutathione Deficiency” by Dr. Zoltan Rona: https://vitalitymagazine.com/article/reversing-glutathione-deficiency
- Vitamin D and Pain. https://tinyurl.com/hped7cd
- Vitamin D and Pain. https://tinyurl.com/hwnf374
- Omega-3 and Pain Relief. https://tinyurl.com/yc4gal9
- Magnesium Benefits. https://tinyurl.com/ohsenlt
- Magnesium for Chronic Low Back Pain. https://tinyurl.com/hbpmlen
- Magnificent Magnesium, Vitality. https://vitalitymagazine.com/article/magnificent-magnesium/
- Curcumin BCM-95 Benefits. https://tinyurl.com/z8np8h2
- BCM-95 Bioavailability. https://tinyurl.com/3j9do8u
- Curcumin Relieves Muscle Soreness. https://tinyurl.com/jxextof
- Serrapeptase. https://tinyurl.com/m5dfak3
- Serrapeptase. Aviva. https://tinyurl.com/hhyu3t4
- Vitamin C. PubMed. https://tinyurl.com/gs72k6m
- Vitamin C. LiveStrong. https://tinyurl.com/j9gzx7w
- Glutathione. AHC Foundation. https://tinyurl.com/z795lgp
- Glutathione Deficiency, Vitality. https://tinyurl.com/hhvjsj2
- 5 Benefits of Glutathione. https://tinyurl.com/je8r2fg
- Cannabis for Management of Pain. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1526590015008378
- MSM study, PubMed. https://tinyurl.com/zkljs6l
- MSM study, ScienceDirect. https://tinyurl.com/gumhlgb
- No Deaths from Supplements, OrthoMed News. https://tinyurl.com/hyab9mv
- Herbal Remedies, Natural Society. https://tinyurl.com/pqz5dy2
- Glucosamine evidence. https://tinyurl.com/hyqdw2a
- Opioid deaths in Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/apparent-opioid-related-deaths-report-2016.html
- Alive Research Group; Gursche, Siegfried, Publisher; Rona, Zoltan P., Medical Editor. Encyclopedia of Natural Healing. Vancouver:Alive Books, 1998.
- Gaby, Alan. Intravenous Nutrient Therapy: the “Myers’ Cocktail” Alternative Medicine Review, Volume 7, Number 5 2002 Page 403
- DMSO: https://www.sott.net/article/228453-DMSO-The-Real-Miracle-Solution
- Vitamin K: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20378261
- Clove oil: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321256.php
- Echinacea for pain: https://draxe.com/echinacea-benefits/
- Rosemary: https://draxe.com/rosemary-oil-uses-benefits/
- Black seed oil beats Tylenol for pain relief: https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/topical-black-seed-oil-beats-tylenol-pain-relief-osteoarthritis
- Medical ozone benefits: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320759.php
Thanks for a wonderful article. Do you know if any of these natural substances could be used in labour for pain relief? Perhaps DMSO & MSM or black seed oil?
I would avoid DMSO entirely. Black seed oil in small amounts as a food additive is ok but not in amounts used for pain relief. These could adversely affect pregnancy. MSM is safe in just about any amount during pregnancy and there are no reports of any adverse reactions during pregnancy.