When you think about the biggest health problems facing our country, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes probably come to mind.
But pain affects more Americans than all of those conditions combined.1
The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) has published a list of the most painful health conditions you can get.2
If you’ve had any of these, you will probably always remember the suffering you endured.
And maybe you took some type of heavy-duty drug to cope. But there are natural solutions that can get you through even the most severe types of pain.
Here are 10 conditions that can lead to the most excruciating pain of your life:
- Shingles. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chicken pox. It causes a rash with an extraordinarily painful burning and tingling sensation. Witch hazel, applied topically, can provide relief. A moist compress can also help. Use a natural cotton cloth. Soak it in cool water. Wring it out and apply to the affected area. Don’t use ice and don’t use hot water.3
- Frozen shoulder. The cause is unknown, but frozen shoulder occurs when a shoulder joint becomes stiff and painful. It is very difficult to move your arm even a little without agonizing pain. To reduce pain and improve movement, you apply heat with a compress, or take a warm shower or bath. You can then (very gently and gradually) try stretching the joint: Sit or lie down. Raise your arm above you. Stretch slightly or rotate the joint.4
- Migraine. This is the worst type of headache. The pain can be completely debilitating. A 2014 study found acupressure is effective against migraines. Pinch your right nostril, or apply pressure to the crease of your inner wrist (left or right) below your thumb.5
- Slipped disc. This is when a disc in your spine ruptures, often due to a lifting injury. The pain is sudden and severe. Moving makes it worse. Try essential oils. The ones most linked with pain relief include rosemary, peppermint, and lavender. You can inhale their aroma and use them along with therapeutic massage.6
- Stomach ulcer. This is a sore in the lining of your stomach. If untreated it can eat through the stomach wall. This becomes very painful as digestive acids leak into the abdominal cavity. Infection with pylori bacteria is often the cause. To help restore bacterial balance in your stomach, take probiotics. You can get them in supplement form, or consume them in fermented foods and yogurts.7
- Fibromyalgia. This disorder can cause musculoskeletal pain throughout the body. A number of natural supplements can provide relief: Melatonin, St. John’s wort, SAMe, and 5-HTP are all worth exploring.8
- Sciatica. When the sciatic nerve is pinched or irritated, it can lead to this aching pain that shoots down the leg. For relief, visit an acupuncturist. A biofeedback practitioner can also help. Biofeedback involves deep breathing, visualization, and mental and physical exercises.9
- Arthritis.There are various forms, but all tend to affect the joints. A number of supplements that help reduce the pain. Try: SAM-e, turmeric, cat’s claw, omega-3 fish oil, gamma linolenic acid (GLA), and ginger.10
- Gout. This is characterized by swelling and intense, burning pain in a joint, usually the big toe. Natural remedies include tart cherry juice and herbs that may lower uric acid. These include ginger, dandelion tea and extract, and milk thistle. You can also soak the affected joint in warm water with Epsom salts. Add 1 to 2 cups to your bath.11
- Kidney Stones. These occur when a solid mineral forms in the kidney, usually calcium. Dehydration is often the cause. You may have intense pain until the stone passes (if it’s small enough to pass on its own). This may take about a month. Warm showers and baths provide temporary pain relief. Also try willow bark, which lessens pain and inflammation. It’s available in liquid and capsule form.12
The mainstream solution to severe pain has long been opioid drugs. We’ve all seen how that has worked out: The nation now faces a massive addiction crisis that kills thousands every year.
Natural pain relievers are often just as effective as opioid drugs…and they won’t put you in danger of addiction and overdose.