Natural Solutions for Pain: Non-Addictive and Cost-Effective

natural-pain-relief-medicine-and-treatments-perthOver 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain—yet conventional “solutions” can cause intestinal bleeding, dependence, heart disease, and cancer. Yikes! Here’s some of what integrative medicine has to offer instead.

Drawing upon the advice of such natural health superstars as Dr. Jonathan Wright, Dr. Julian Whitaker, Dr. Robert Rowen, Dr. Frank Shallenberger, and Dr. Stephen Sinatra—as well as cutting-edge studies and the personal experiences of the ANH-USA staff—we’ve compiled the following list of natural treatments for pain.

Don’t be overwhelmed by its length—it’s meant to start the conversation between you and your integrative physician on natural alternatives for chronic pain. We encourage you to print it out, highlight a few appealing options, and discuss them with your healthcare provider:
Injection Therapies: Stimulating Your Body’s Natural Healing Mechanisms

  • Prolotherapy is the injection of natural substances into chronically injured areas of the body. The injected substances themselves don’t heal, but rather stimulate cell growth in the tissues that stabilize weakened joints, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Ozone therapy—a type of oxidative medicine that can also be used to treat viral and fungal infections—is the injection of oxygen gas (ozone) into affected areas. Ozone is known to deactivate bacteria, simulate oxygen metabolism, and activate the immune system.
  • Oxygen therapy. Ozone molecules are composed of three oxygen atoms bound together. Oxygen molecules have two such atoms. Other forms of oxygen therapy such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT, (pressurized oxygen) may help as well by flooding wounded tissue with the oxygen it needs to repair itself.
  • Prolozone therapy utilizes injections that are a combination of collagen-producing substances and ozone. As a fusion of prolotherapy and ozone therapy, it is sometimes described as a major advance on both treatments.

Traditional Approaches to Pain Management

  • Acupuncture is an integrative treatment increasingly accepted by even conventional doctors. As detailed in a rigorous meta-analysis from 2012, it helps manage not only chronic pain (including fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and sports injuries), but provides relief from migraines and arthritis.
  • Homeopathy: The research “gold standard” used in the drug approval process, a double blind, random-controlled trial (RCT) published in Rheumatology International, reported that those suffering from osteoarthritis felt more relief from Arnica (an herb that grows in the US and Europe) gel than ibuprofen gel. In tablet form, Arnica tablets should be taken right after an injury or before an expected one (such as a medical or dental operation). Additionally, homeopathy offers many other customized approaches to the management or elimination of pain. For example, one of our staff member’s spouses instantly eliminated trigeminal neuralgia—one of the most severe and difficult to treat forms of pain—with a homeopathic preparation.

Non-Invasive Techniques Utilizing Electricity, Magnets, Lights, Lasers, and Vibration

Physical Manipulation

  • Individualized physical therapy not only manages pain, but can restore function and movement. One integrative variant of traditional physical therapy is the Bowenwork therapy, a non-chiropractic muscle manipulation that helps “reset” the nervous system.
  • PNT (the Kaufman pain neutralization technique) is a gentle form of chiropractic manipulation that “turns off” the nerve reflexes that perpetuate trigger points (small—yet painful—muscle knots) and muscle pain. PNT, a non-invasive technique that requires only very light pressure, is recommended by such natural health pioneers as Dr. Robert J. Rowen and Dr. Jonathan Wright.
  • Exercise. When you’re in pain, increased movement may seem counterintuitive, not to mention unappealing. But as some pain is caused by nerves not being adequately supported by muscle, specific strengthening exercises can provide relief. Another “real life” example from the ANH-USA office: a staff member suffering from sciatica practiced a simple exercise recommended by a top Japanese physical therapist—kneeling and sitting back on ones heels. This movement was repeated several hundred times a day until the pain completely disappeared; relief was then maintained by a hundred repetitions a day.
  • Moist heat treatments like the Thermophore. One ANH-USA staff member swears by this for relieving muscle spasm pain, especially in comparison with regular heat pads or those that require inserting a wet cloth. As the Thermophore draws moisture from the air instead of a wet cloth, it tends to be both reliable and effective.

Dietary Supplements

  • Sulfur-containing MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) not only provides pain and anti-inflammatory relief for osteoarthritis, but can also be effective for hay fever and other allergies. As many of us do not get enough usable sulfur in our diet, MSM is offered in powder as well as supplement form, which also facilitates the larger doses that may be necessary for pain and allergy relief.
  • Tumeric, ginger, boswellia, and bromelain exhibit remarkable anti-inflammatory properties (bromelain should be taken at high doses on an empty stomach as explained at
  • Cayenne cream reduces substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to brain.
  • Cetyl myristoleate acts as a joint lubricant and an anti-inflammatory.
  • The GLA in evening primrose, black currant, and borage oils can help arthritic pain.
  • A member of our staff uses the Swiss Alpine herb butterbur for headaches and migraines (which can oftentimes be a side effect of prescription drugs). It also works well for hay fever. Because a toxic element must be removed from the plant, use a reliable preparation such as Petodolex.
  • Samento (a form of cat’s claw, an herb), green tea extract, and zeaxanthin (and other carotenoids) can help manage rheumatoid arthritis. Natural alternatives are particularly important, given the serious—and sometimes fatal—side effects of prescription RA treatments.
  • Even if you already take fish or krill oil, higher-than-normal dosages are anti-inflammatory and may help you manage pain.

Other potential supplements for pain management include:

  • niacinamide (osteoarthritis),
  • enhanced delivery forms of curcumin (such as Meriva),
  • green-lipped mussel,
  • pycnogenol,
  • proteolytic enzymes,
  • oligomeric proanthocyanidins,
  • hyaluronic acid,
  • 5-loxin,
  • Conolidine (derived from tree bark, it’s being studied as a potentially safe and powerful painkiller),
  • DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide),
  • B vitamins (particularly B6 and B12 for the management of tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and bursitis),
  • black cumin seed oil,
  • pomegranate extract,
  • cherry juice or extract (especially for gout pain),
  • avocado unsaponifiables (for joints), and
  • SAM-e (recommended by Dr. Stephen Sinatra).

Prescription Treatments

  • Pentosan sulfatedescribed by Dr. Jonathan Wright—is a natural molecule derived from beech trees and an effective treatment for arthritis.
  • PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatment, described by Dr. Julian Whitaker in his July 2012 Health & Healing newsletter, delivers platelets—“nature’s reservoirs” of proteins, peptides, and other compounds that facilitate healing—taken from the patient’s own blood to the point of injury.

What natural solutions do you, your integrative physicians, and your friends and family use to manage pain? Share your thoughts and experiences in our comment section below!


  1. You have DMSO listed as useful for pain. This is an industrial solvent. Illegal and not advised
    for human use. It can carry unintended toxins straight into the blood stream. Not everything else
    on your lists are all safe. Many drugs you hate come from plants too. Natural as a term in this case means nothing. Thanks

  2. Hello – Thank you for a comprehensive article on natural and integrative pain management. Quite useful. Almost all pain management techniques address specific injury sites. I have Reflex Sympathetic Disorder (RSD). Basically, it hurts all over more than any place else. There are times I truly don’t know where it hurts, and sometimes even a light touch, anywhere, is very painfull. Both peripheral and root nerves are affected. I am in the sympathetic response always. The pain center in the brain is firing off all the time. RSD is a systemic (autonomic nervous system disorder, affecting the nervous system, specifically the pain center in the brain. My nerve synapses are constantly firing off pain, “fight or flight,” messages.
    Are there natural and/or complementary aids which might treat a systemic pain disorder, such as RSD and other systemic and autonomic nervous system disorders and secondary reactions, such as headaches and even stress-related anxiety and depression symptoms?
    Any suggestions you might have will be of great value!

  3. I would like to know which ones from the above list would bring me relief for my tinnitus (ringing in the ear). I’m desperate for something natural rather than those OTC pain killers recommended by my physician.
    Thanks for any assistance that you may provide.

    1. Some of the above pain remedies may also be helpful for tinnitus. Acupuncture is reported to be helpful for up to 40% of tinnitus sufferers provided it is continued for 10-15 sessions. B vitamins can be helpful for some people with tinnitus. However, a natural, herbal product has been developed specifically for people with tinnitus. The main ingredient, Ginkgo biloba, has been shown in 19 clinical studies to be helpful for most people. There are no side effects and it is not addicting.

  4. May I please add earthing/grounding to this list? It can be very effective against pain.

    1. I have just discovered Earthing and have found it to be very helpful, especially for sleep but also for pain. I have had fibromyalgia (also called myalgic encephalomyelitis)and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) for over 25 years. It took about 15 years before I got a diagnosis so I thought I was crazy to have this pain for no apparent reason. Everyone else did too. I have been through Chronic Pain programs 3 times and each time I have learned more techniques for managing my pain, the most important being pacing my time and activities which help keep my pain and fatigue level lower. I also take several prescription meds. I take 2 meds for the nerve pain but these are not pain pills per se (gabapentin and lamotrigine). I also take methadone for the pain about every 8 hours. They help keep me stabilized but I have added several kinds of integrative medicine to the mix which help very much. I would eventually like to wean off of the prescription drugs but am not able to just yet. I am now taking several supplements such as Vitamin D 2000 mg/day, vitamin B12 daily and B complex 3 tabs 3x/day, Bentonite one tbsp daily and a digestive enzyme plus probiotic with meals, I have also been eating a great deal of fermented foods. I have mostly eliminated processed foods. I eat freshly laid eggs that I buy from a friend who raises free range chickens, I eat mostly organic foods and whole grains. I have been making lots of bone broth from grass fed animals. I walk for 30 minutes every day and now am also walking on the earth with my bare feet for 20-30 minutes every day. I have had acupuncture in the past with moderate pain relief but am not doing it now. I have tried massage but am too pain sensitive for that unless it is VERY gentle. I have tried chiropractic but it just does not seem to work for me.If I have a flare-up I use arnica cream along with a cream called Arthrocare which is methylsalycilate based and I alternate ice and dry heat to affected areas. With these tools I find I can have a pretty full and quality of life.

  5. I suffer from idiopathic peripheral neuropathy – that is, I have odd persistent pain in the skin of my feet with no diabetes or sign of inflammation. The skin looks normal, the muscle tone is normal. My doctor insists it is psychosomatic and tried to give be amitryptiline – one of those was one too many. I was fool enough to try Neuragen, not noticing that all 5 “active” ingredients were “12C” and could not possibly have any effect – at least it did no harm!
    I am curious if this problem could be part of the only identifiable malady I have, lichen planus – currently in remission.

    1. I also have neuropathy in my feet and the last year it has affected my legs. Latest diagnosis is SNF (small nerve fiber) neuropathy. I am 60 years and have given up on ever having a life again. Taking neurotonin which only helps my legs but does nothing for my feet. Have you had any success? I am currently going to a neurological D.O. who suggested prolotherapy. If you have any ideas I would like to know about them.. I used to be very active and am very frustrated.

    2. I have worked in the field of pain management for over ten years, and one of the most difficult types of pain to treat is neuropathic pain, especially RSD. I have seen multitudes of invasive and non-invasive therapies employed, with little to no real relief for patients. I have a serious back injury dating many years back, which has caused a tremendous amount of nerve pain. About a year ago I heard of a Doctor in Corpus, Christ, Texas who treats chronic pain and nerve pain using his Vecttor unit, which employs the concepts of acupuncture, acupressure, and reflexology via electrodes. I was astounded over the miraculous help patients with RSD received, putting the condition in to remission. I have been using the Vecttor for about 4 months now, and my nerve pain is in complete remission, and my back pain has become increasingly better. I employ many of the nutritional/herbal/supplement and exercise/PT therapies mentioned in this article, and have for years. Thus, for having a complete collapsed disc at L5/S1, I have had minimal pain. But if on my feet for too long, the pain is persistent. But I have NEVER had anything be as effective as the Vecttor. The inventor is Dr. Donald Rhodes, MD, with contact information as follows:
      South Texas Innovative Medicine6001 S Staples St Suite B, Corpus Christi, TX 78413 (361) 992-9432 (Office)

  6. Regarding exercise for pain: If my back hurts or I strain it, my greatest relief comes from walking. If it is a sudden onset injury, I wait a bit until I can stand, then i walk (lower speed — 2 or 2.5 mph) and do that repeatedly. Within a day or day and a half the pain is gone. If my back hurts in the morning, I walk my dog her normal three miles and we are both feeling fine when we get back.

  7. I was surprised to read an article about pain relief that says nothing about Chiropractic given that a large number of people who have pain is due to joint issues particularly back and neck. Especially in a newsletter from an organization advocating natural health. Disappointing. Given the number of things mentioned as “integrative medicine ” it’s hard to believe that it’s pure coincidence. Perhaps it is… but it happens too often.

    1. Never mind that comment. Evidently I read the arti
      cle too fast, now i feel foolish. A good reminder to read slow.

  8. this is a very complete article and I thank you for that. However as a chiropractic physician I have seen for 27 years how returning a joint to a better range of it’s proper motion reduces inflammation. This is accomplished by allowing the cartilage to be properly stimulated to grow and maintain on the joint surfaces with proper gliding. Then synovial fluid is stimulated within the joint to act like OIL and cushioning along with the cartilage.A stuck joint does not do this efficiently and exercise/stretching alone cannot aid individual joint, only general movements. All of this allows for inflammation reduction. Please include traditional chiropractic care (where individually appropriate) for your readers as an option in the future. Pamela G. Latimer, DC

  9. one of our staff member’s spouses instantly eliminated trigeminal neuralgia—one of the most severe and difficult to treat forms of pain—with a homeopathic preparation.
    My cousin suffers terriblt from this illness. I would appreciate knowing whatever your staff person does for their spouse that provides relief. My cousin has tried many avenues and is about at the end of her rope.

    1. David:
      My wife suffers from severe trigeminal neuralgia pain–same diagnosis as you have mentioned in your staff members spouse diagnosis. Traditional medical attention with various pain relievers at their maximum levels have not resolved her painful condition. Unfortunately the next step is surgery which is not guaranteed to permanently resolve her pain! Would you please share the homeopathic preparation that instantly eliminated your staff member spouse’s trigeminal pain! Thank you in advance.

  10. Medical pioneer Dr. Janet Travell pioneered pain management in her studies of trigger points spanning 40 years. Physicians adopted her techniques and inject these painful modules with saline or chemicals. Massage therapists modified this approach to employ manual treatments which sometimes call for using pressure bars aka T-bars. This approach called Neuro Muscular Therapy (NMT) is less invasive and more tolerable to pain sufferers. Both acute and chronic pain are often completely eradicated using this approach

  11. What about Yoga therapies and EFT. I have used both and find them
    Both to be effective with releasing the muscle tension that is contracted when
    We are in pain

  12. What about Yoga therapies and EFT. I have used both and find them
    Both to be effective with releasing the muscle tension that is contracted when
    We are in pain

  13. What about Yoga therapies and EFT. I have used both and find them
    Both to be effective with releasing the muscle tension that is contracted when
    We are in pain

  14. What about Yoga therapies and EFT. I have used both and find them
    Both to be effective with releasing the muscle tension that is contracted when
    We are in pain

  15. What about Yoga therapies and EFT. I have used both and find them
    Both to be effective with releasing the muscle tension that is contracted when
    We are in pain

  16. All very informative information regarding alternative medicine, however one major alternative to pain management is YOGA!
    Many studies have shown that the physical postures of yoga help to alleviate health problems, reduce stress and make the spine supple, in addition, many studies have determine the effectiveness of yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer, schizophrenia, asthma and heart patients.
    In a national survey, long-term yoga practitioners in the United States reported musculo–skeletal and mental health improvements.
    As our nation and the world prepares for the increase in population of people over 50, and the increased demands on our public health system and on medical and social services, more studies are being done that validates what Yogi’s have known for many years.
    Yoga acts positively in maintaining the health of the human body, helping in slowing down the aging process, by providing elasticity to the spine, firming up the skin, removing tension from the body, strengthening the abdominal muscles, correcting poor posture just to name some of the benefits
    Some of the anti-ageing properties of Yoga are long life, increased resistance to diseases, increased vitality, and rejuvenation of glands, looking young, improvement in vision and hearing and many other mental and emotional benefits.
    As a 65 year old retiree who has reinvented herself for the second chapter of life, and recently became a Registered Yoga Teacher, I will soon be earning my certificate in Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors from the prestigious Duke University’s School of Integrative Medicine’s professional training program on Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors.
    This program partners integrative medicine with Western medical specialists to further the emerging research of the affects of yoga on health and offer a scaffolding from which to integrate specific recommendations gleaned from what is known and to creatively adapt the practice in areas that are yet to be clarified.
    One can successfully extend the period of life by constantly following Yogic practices. Yoga is the next best thing to the “MAGIC BULLET” against aging that we are all looking for!

    1. It doesn’t cost anything nor does it require a ‘professional’ alternative doctor to sell it to you, which is why its not listed.

  17. Michael Siegle asks about his pain which makes his entire body very sensitive and experiencing pain. These are part of the symptoms of pesticide poisoning. One does not know of their exposures as pesticide is often applied in various buildings while people are not present, but the toxins will continue to be in the environment and poisoning people. In the files section of:
    he can find a detox protocol which is every effective, not expensive and can even be done at home if he has no access to a sauna. (This information is free, and I am not selling anything.) He will have to sign up for the detox group to access the files, but he can make use the information and he can sign off whenever he wants.
    As to back pain, I lost an inch of my back bone in an ice skating collision 40 years ago. When I saw the x-rays I realized that my back could not depend upon remaining bone shards to hold me up. I had unbelievable pain. I realized I would have to depend on muscle. I enrolled in a ballet class. I pushed through the initial pain (about 5 weeks) and became strong with this particular exercise. I took ballet class for 40 years. In all these years, I have had no returning back pain after the initial period. My ballet class recently disappeared, so I have to dance at home.
    I recently had a significant bone spur in my shoulder. After surgery, I took charcoal immediately to get the drugs out of my body. I took no pain medication but every morning sliced several very thin slices of fresh organic ginger root into my green tea. No one, especially my surgeon, could believe I had no post surgery pain.

  18. Why is arnica described under homeopathy? Arnica is commonly used in Mexican folk medicine, and dried arnica is widely available in Mexican grocery stores. There’s nothing homeopathic about it in this form. I suppose there may be homeopathic arnica preparations, but the principle behind homeopathy is that diluted preparations cure the conditions caused by the undiluted parent material, so the effect of a homeopathic arnica should be opposite from the dried arnica herb.
    Steve Miller — you are correct that DMSO is used as an industrial solvent. Water is used as a coolant for nuclear reactor cores. Neither has any relevance to whether they are useful remedies. You are also correct that DMSO can carry toxins into the bloodstream — it goes right through the skin (which is normally impermeable to both aqueous and non-aqueous solvents) and carries along stuff that’s dissolved in it. It’s easy to purify DMSO by distillation, and I haven’t heard of purity being a problem in the DMSO available in health food stores. This was a problem in the labs at Crown Zellerbach where much of the early research on DMSO has been done, because they were using it to clean laboratory glassware and their technicians were getting poisoned, but that was an unusual case. Uncontaminated DMSO is not poisonous. DMSO is known to be an excellent liniment for joint pain. It has the hazard of causing cataracts at high doses because it infiltrates and disturbs the structure of the lens of the eye. It also has the minor side effects of causing garlic breath and the taste of oysters in the mouth. I don’t think any of these issues is a concern for most DMSO users, except the cataracts. The aunt of a friend of mine got cataracts in both eyes from using DMSO, but I suspect she was using a very large amount. She had a relative working at Crown Zellerbach back when the early research was being performed, before the hazard of cataracts was appreciated. As long as you get pure DMSO and limit the use to a safe level, there is no hazard. I have seen DMSO sold in plastic bottles, which I think is a bad idea because DMSO is such an excellent solvent that it may extract bad stuff from the plastic. If I were using DMSO, I would only buy it in glass bottles.

  19. For back issues…lower back…etc…I use an incline table set at 20 degrees. Using this for 20 mins a day allows the spine (back) to elongate and align some…and if caught early can stop a week or two of debilitating pain…where you have issues standing straight. Also useful for neck issues.

  20. I don’t use therapies of Alternative Medicine that are in conflict with being a Christian.
    I used to listen to a doctor on tv that told of using Noni supplements for pain. Since this is just a fruit I tried it. The organic Noni juice helped me with dental pain and Org. Noni capsules helped me with hip and back pain.
    Topical Liquid Magnesium helps me with back and hip pain also. I usually only use it at night since it often makes me more tired.
    I hope these will help someone else here also.

  21. The natural pain remedies such as yoga, eft, and the other therapies mentioned by commenters are not included in this piece because they dont cost anything, they aren’t a ‘product’ per se, and aren’t promoting alternative doctors or MDs who went alternative, which is what ANH-USA is about, taking alternative natural healing and putting it into the hands of “professionally educated alternative doctors”, product promotion and preservation of the industry. Check out the link “who we are” for their backgrounds.

  22. God forbid you should have mentioned Chiropractic as an effective form of pain relief as well as management. Safe, effective, non-addictive etc etc etc. Combine Chiropractic with a yoga lifestyle and you will find the keys to wellness, vibrancy and a dis-ease free life.

    1. wow, you must have skated this article pretty quick–there is chiropractic listed–it’s called PNT under the physical manipulation heading…read first, then reread if you think you didn’t see it

  23. I have interviewed many doctors and researchers about the management of pain and inflammation.
    My conclusion is that one will never get pain and inflammation under control as long as the omega-3 / omega-6 balance is off. Therapeutic doses of EPA and DHA are required to shift this balance. Reduction in consumption of omega-6 is also required. This change can result in less pain and inflammation because of it’s primary role in the disorders.
    Then it makes sense to target structure and function of the affected tissues.
    Third, use natural pain mediators such as curcumin, boswellia, systemic enzymes etc.
    But without the shift in omega balance there is less likeihood of significant and long term reversal. I think this can’t be over emphasize. This is not to dispute the benefits of any therapies listed here but without a proper omega-3 / 6 balance, I have found less effective benefits from other therapies.
    I have posted many interviews with experts on omega-3 at

  24. At the risk of being commercial, yes I am a manufacturer of pain-relieving products based upon topical essential oil technology. As a Type II, insulin dependent myself, I developed our Reunion product line out of the same desperations voiced in this forum. The PN in my feet was excruciating and I even thought of not spending life in such pain. Instead the PN served as my inspiration to develop the Reunion line of pain relievers. Today, I am 100% pain free from PN. I attribute this to blood sugar control and insulin, OTC Complex Vitamin B (2X daily) and B-12 (1X daily.) Neither of these provide immediate pain relief as your body has to regenerate the damaged nerves and I used our Reunion ISR that provides virtually instantaneous pain relief that lasts for hours. Our customers have used our products for many additional maladies: RSD (Power of Pain uses and endorses Reunion ISR), Fibro, osteoarthritis, muscular strains, lower back and neck pain and many other maladies. Simply put, pain is identified by the neurosensors feeding into your CNS. If you can quell the neurosensors, you can stop the pain from being transmitted to your brain. Many Chiros are now using Reunion on their patients with much success. Again, Reunion is NOT a cure … just a blessed pain reliever.
    ADDITIONALLY, and not on our site, I am beta testing a variant of Reunion ISR for RA that appears to offer relief bolstered with anti-inflammatory essential oils. Unfortunately, our products will never be approved by the FDA as they are compound multiple ingredient products even though we manufacture in a FDA approved lab. However, there is Clinical Trial cited on our site under Articles for our primary analgesic ingredient. 100% MBG except on the beta RA formula.
    BTW … we use NO DMSO or homeopathic ingredients… only pure therapeutic grade oils.
    Feel free to contact me through the Feedback on our website.

  25. My DH uses MSM, Fish Oil, Vitamin C, and electrolytes (especially Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium) to keep his joint pain and muscle cramping to a minimum.
    I find Nettle Leaf powder to be extremely helpful for arthritic joint pain. A well-known Master Herbalist recommends 1200mg/day Nettle Leaf powder for arthritic joint pain.
    I also find essential oils (must be Medical Grade; perfume grade oils do not have sufficient quality to be therapeutic) to be helpful for a wide variety of pain and other issues.

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