Here’s how you can stop pain safely, naturally, and effectively
I’ve had 40 years’ experience investigating and researching non-drug, natural treatments for pain, inflammation, and pain-related conditions like arthritis.
And I’m excited to tell you I’ve compiled all that information into a brand-new, definitive pain and arthritis management protocol.
I’m putting the finishing touches on the protocol now and will let you know as soon as it is ready.
In the meantime, today, I’m going to give you a preview of some of the steps outlined in the protocol. And I’ll also share some new research on my favorite supplements and mind-body approaches that work safely and effectively for pain.
But first, I’d like to take a moment to remind you just how dangerous—and ineffective—mainstream pain treatments actually are.
The deadly truth about painkillers
We’re currently seeing an epidemic of abuse of narcotic pain-reliever prescription drugs in the U.S. This has led to calls by local, state, and federal governments to rapidly reduce people’s dependence on these unsafe drugs, as well as tackle the many health and social hazards that result from this dependency.
How bad is this epidemic? Well, after a century of improving health and declining death rates among all Americans, the U.S. Urban Institute in Spring 2015 released a study showing dramatically increasing death rates among women ages 15 to 54.
The primary reason? Accidental overdoses of prescription pain-reliever drugs.1
Perhaps even more shocking is data from the CDC and other sources, analyzed by the 2015 Nobel Laureate in Economics Dr. Angus Deaton and his wife, Dr. Anne Case, who is an economist at Princeton University.
In a study published in November, Drs. Deaton and Case showed that death rates among middle-aged white people with no more than a high school education have increased half a percent per year over the past 15 years.2
And guess what the No. 1 cause of those deaths was? Overdoses (either accidental or intentional) of narcotic drugs, as well as alcohol.
You may think a death rate that’s only rising half a percent per year doesn’t sound that bad. But consider this: The study reported that from 1978 to 1998, mortality rates for the same group of people fell 2% a year.
But starting in 1998, the death rate began steadily rising. And pain pill abuse and dependency has a big reason to do with it.
This sad truth is particularly upsetting because no other group of people in what Case and Deaton call “rich countries” has ever shown increases in death rates during our modern era. And historically, no population has had a comparable increase in death rates over just 15 years, unless there was a disease epidemic or ecological calamity.
And that’s not the only bad news. Along with drug and alcohol overdoses and suicides, Case and Deaton say the other chief cause of the increase in middle-aged Americans’ deaths is chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.
And while some of that is due to alcohol abuse, other liver problems can be attributed to pain pills as well.
As I’ve told you before, popular over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) have long been known to be the leading cause of fatal liver toxicity in the U.S. And to add insult to injury, recent research shows they are not even effective for back or other common pain.
Fortunately, there are safe, affordable alternatives to pain drugs that are readily available today. I divide them into two categories: supplements and mind-body techniques.
Let’s take a closer look at these natural solutions, along with the latest research on them…
Natural, safe pain solutions that really do work
There are a variety of mind-body approaches that can help alleviate pain, including meditation, acupuncture, guided imagery, behavioral therapy…even yoga.
To learn which of these approaches will work best for you, it is important to understand a psychometric indicator developed over several decades at Tufts University Medical Center in Boston by the late Ernst Hartmann, MD. This indicator, called the personality boundary type, helps predict your susceptibility to various mind-body treatments.
I use the personality boundary type in the book I co-authored with Michael Jawer, Your Emotional Type. To determine your personality boundary type and the most effective treatments available for that type, take the Your Emotional Type quiz here.
One of the most interesting mind-body approaches for pain relief is guided imagery (GI). This is a technique in which you are guided by a professional to form images in your “mind’s eye” that literally overcome pain.
Guided imagery can work for everything from arthritis to surgical pain. In fact, it’s now being used for pain relief after knee replacements—one of the most common, and problematic, orthopedic surgical procedures today. One new study found that most people who tried guided imagery after knee surgery had high levels of satisfaction.3
Another natural mind-body powerhouse is mindfulness meditation, which includes mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for pain.
A new study demonstrated that only eight sessions of MBSR reduced pain and improved quality of life in people with chronic low back pain.4
Of course, anxiety and depression often accompany chronic pain. In one new study, a group of chronic pain patients completed an eight-week program that consisted of an hour of mindfulness meditation training three days a week, and then an hour of meditation daily at home. Over the next year, the patients had significant improvement in anxiety, depression, and pain.5
These studies involved formal, group meditation programs, but you can also get significant benefits meditating on your own. My book with Don McCown, New World Mindfulness, tells you all the tips for achieving mindfulness every day—no matter how busy your life.
The ABCs of pain supplements
Of course, another way busy people can alleviate pain is to take a tablet or capsule. But that oral pain medication doesn’t have to be a prescription drug.
Especially when there are powerful and proven ancient natural remedies readily available for pain and inflammation in supplement form.
For centuries, traditional healers have known the secret to successful pain management includes tackling the inflammation that typically accompanies pain—something the drug companies just don’t understand.
There are a variety of herbal supplements that can help reduce pain and inflammation, but I’ve found the most effective (especially for joint pain) is the pain-killer combo I call “the ABCs”—ashwagandha, boswellia, and curcumin.
These three pain powerhouses have come under increasing scientific scrutiny not only because of their benefits for pain and inflammation, but for a host of other health benefits as well.
One new study compared a boswellia extract to standard medical treatment (including pain drugs) for knee osteoarthritis symptoms. After 12 weeks, the people who were given boswellia had just as much reduction in pain and restoration of knee function as the group that got the standard treatment. In addition, the boswellia group was able to walk better than the other group, and had better overall emotional and social functions.6
Curcumin’s effectiveness at relieving pain has been well established in a wide range of inflammatory conditions. A new laboratory study used the novel approach of loading lipid (fat) nanoparticles into a curcumin supplement, which markedly improved pain and molecular measures of inflammation.7
And in a new Belgian study, 820 people with osteoarthritis who took a curcumin extract had improved pain, mobility, and quality of life in just six weeks. The curcumin was so effective that more than half of the study participants were able to toss out their drugs for pain and inflammation.8
Of course, I have long observed that the ABCs are even more potent when taken together, in the same supplement (I recommend products that contain 450 mg of boswellia gum extract, 500 mg of ashwagandha root extract, and 200 mg of curcumin.)
In a new study, researchers gave people who had painful tendon repair a boswellia-curcumin combo before and after surgery. The researchers found that the herbal duo alleviated the patients’ pain better than a placebo.9
Finally, fish oil is also well known as an anti-inflammatory and painkiller.
A major new clinical trial of fish oil for treatment of knee osteoarthritis showed a reduction in pain and improvement in walking ability.10 And another study found that these benefits are just as good with a lower dose compared to a higher dose of fish oil.11 I recommend 1-2 grams of high-quality fish oil a day.
So, as you can see, there is no reason to suffer in pain…And no reason to suffer from the potentially deadly hazards associated with mainstream pain drugs. There are a number of safe, natural alternatives that are just as effective as drugs—without the added risk.
2“Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Dec 8;112(49):15078-83.
3“Acceptability of a Guided Imagery Intervention for Persons Undergoing a Total Knee Replacement.” Orthop Nurs. 2015 Nov-Dec;34(6):356-64.
4“Effectiveness of mindfulness meditation on pain and quality of life of patients with chronic low back pain.” Int J Yoga. 2015 Jul-Dec;8(2):128-33.
5“Observing the Effects of Mindfulness-Based Meditation on Anxiety and Depression in Chronic Pain Patients.” Psychiatr Danub. 2015 Sep;27 Suppl 1:S209-11.
6“Management of osteoarthritis (OA) with the pharma-standard supplement FlexiQule (Boswellia): a 12-week registry.” Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol. 2015 Oct 22.
7“Curcumin loaded solid lipid nanoparticles ameliorate adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats.” Eur J Pain. 2015 Aug;19(7):940-52.
8“A new curcuma extract (flexofytol®) in osteoarthritis: results from a belgian real-life experience.” Open Rheumatol J. 2014 Oct 17;8:77-81.
9“Co-analgesic therapy for arthroscopic supraspinatus tendon repair pain using a dietary supplement containing Boswellia serrata and Curcuma longa: a prospective randomized placebo-controlled study.” Musculoskelet Surg. 2015 Sep;99 Suppl 1:S43-52.
10“Efficacy and Safety of Fish Oil in Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis.” J Med Assoc Thai. 2015 Apr;98 Suppl 3:S110-4.
11“Fish oil in knee osteoarthritis: a randomised clinical trial of low dose versus high dose.” Ann Rheum Dis. 2016 Jan;75(1):23-9.