The first thing to always remember is that pain is not your enemy! Just as your car's dashboard lights up to tell you it needs an oil change, pain can be a helpful early warning that your body has a health issue that needs attention. Annoying though they may be, both signals are a way to get your attention so that you can deal with a situation before it becomes worse. So feelings of pain can actually be your friend. . This does not, of course, mean you have to put up with continuing pain.
It's important to note that in this discussion we focus on understanding how nutrition and supplementation can help manage mild pain (e.g., the result of normally occurring muscle overuse and fatigue). If you are experiencing severe pain, or mysterious pain that you cannot account for, you should consult a physician to determine the cause.
Follow S.H.I.N.E.® to Prevent Unnecessary Pains
One of the reasons I created the S.H.I.N.E.® protocol was to define a framework for holistic care of your body. Though its main objective is to fight fatigue, it also offers guidelines for helping you reduce pain. Let's briefly review the five areas of S.H.I.N.E.®, the roles they play in managing pain, and a few natural alternatives that can help you stay pain free.
Not getting enough sleep can often contribute to developing ongoing joint and muscle discomfort. That's because your body uses sleep to repair the daily tissue damage that results from muscle overuse. Though most people in today's hectic world find it tough to do, those with pain really should make it a priority to get 8-9 hours of sleep every night. Until 130 years ago, when light bulbs were invented, the average American got 9 hours of sleep a night!
If you have occasional difficulty falling or staying asleep, try using an herbal mix designed for sleep support. Look for herbal formulas that contain ingredients such as theanine, Jamaican Dogwood, wild lettuce, valerian, passionflower and hops. Two herbal sleep formulas I recommend are Fatigued to Fantastic! Revitalizing Sleep Formula for those who experience poor sleep quality, and Sleep Tonight! for those who have trouble falling asleep at bedtime.
Underactive thyroid function can sometimes contribute to ongoing physical discomfort (and sometimes unusual weight gain). If you experience chronic fatigue and have achy muscles and joints, heavy periods, constipation, easy weight gain, cold intolerance, dry skin, thin hair, a change in your ankle reflexes (called a delayed relaxation of the deep tendon reflex, or DTR), or a body temperature that tends to be on the low side of normal, you should consult a physician (ask them about low dose prescription Armour thyroid hormone).
There are natural supplements, generally referred to as "thyroid grandulars," that can help support normal thyroid function by providing the essential nutrients they need for healthy function. Ingredients should include a high quality glandular extract and supporting nutrients such as iodine, zinc, copper and L-thyrosine. BMR Complex is an excellent thyroid glandular that contains all of these. High-dose iodine supplementation with Tri-Iodine 6.25 mg a day for 3-4 months can also be very helpful.
Keeping your immune system at peak performance will help your body more effectively fight infections that occasionally occur as part of normal life (we all catch cold occasionally). In addition, it helps to settle down an overactive immune response. So promoting a healthy immune system can help reduce aches while your body heals itself.
Herbs that help to settle down an overactive immune response include Willow Bark, Boswellia (aka-Frankincense), and cherries. All 3 of these can be found in the Fatigued to Fantastic! End Pain Formula. Another excellent mix is Curcumin (the formulation needs to be a highly absorbed one), Boswellia, DLPA and nattokinase. These 4 can be found in combination in a remarkable pain relief mix called Curamin. Though they begin to work within 1-2 hours, natural remedies get more and more effective over 6 weeks of use. So you should give them time to see the full effect. These 2 mixes can be taken together and can also be used while taking pain medications.
The typical modern diet is notoriously deficient in providing the complete mix of daily nutrients your body needs. And without adequate nutrition, your body has a tough time trying to keep tissue healthy and bodily systems running smoothly. The fuel just isn't there. One of the easiest and best habits you can adopt to ensure nutrition doesn't contribute to unnecessary aches and pain is to simply take a high potency daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Powder forms are better than pills, as they can deliver far more vitamins minerals, amino acids and energy co-factors. I recommend Fatigued to Fantastic! Energy Revitalization System for this (a single drink replaces over 35 pills) — and to anyone who wants the best multivitamin available!
Another daily supplement you should consider taking is called ribose. I'm so impressed with the benefits of taking ribose that I find it important to include a mention of it whenever I discuss daily nutrition. Ribose not only helps you maintain healthy energy levels, but studies show that it may also help reduce the muscle stiffness, soreness and fatigue that results from muscle overuse. The product S.H.I.N.E.® D-Ribose is a great source for ribose.
Exercise as Able
Though muscle overuse can produce pain, moderate exercise to keep your muscles reasonably conditioned is essential for avoiding pain. If you haven't been getting exercise in a while and your condition is less than it should be, ease into a new program only to the extent you are able. Start with a nice regular evening stroll. Over time, work your way up to longer distances as you are able to comfortably tolerate them.
Special Mention — Curcumin!
The three herbals I've mentioned so far — willow bark, boswellia and cherry — have generally been considered to be the best herbals for reducing the pain and inflammation associated with occasional muscle ache. But a new herbal that's getting a tremendous amount of attention lately is curcumin. Over 1,000 studies show it to be incredibly promising for health — including pain relief.
Curcumin is a common ingredient in curry powder, and a relative of ginger that has powerful immune balancing and antioxidant activities. A common dose would be 500 to 1,000 mg 3 times a day. Unfortunately, curcumin itself is poorly absorbed. However, an amazing leap forward in this herbal use has been the development of a very highly absorbed form of curcumin called "BCM 95." This new formulation has increased absorption over the previous best versions by 693%!
A product called Curamin® provides curcumin in this high-absorption formula. If you're looking for excellent natural support for occasional pain relief, I highly recommend keeping a bottle of this in your cabinet!