For many people dealing with chronic pain and inflammation, relief can feel like an impossible dream. Some may not even remember a time when they didn’t feel discomfort. Opiates and prescription painkillers only mask the suffering and carry the very serious risk of addiction. Not to mention the debilitating side effects that often rival the pain in terms of intrusiveness.
Without real help available from the mainstream medical community, many pain patients have turned towards natural remedies for chronic inflammation to help ease their suffering and allow them to live richer and fuller lives. But just how effective are these alternative therapies? Can even the best natural remedy for inflammation and pain compete with an Oxycodone?
Pharmaceuticals vs Natural Remedies
Prescription opiates have created a bona fide crisis in this country. In 2019 alone, nearly 50,000 Americans died from an opiate overdose, and thousands more are wrestling every day through the tribulations of addiction. We as a nation find ourselves in this situation largely due to the insatiable greed of the pharmaceutical industry. In the 90s, companies like Purdue Pharma aggressively marketed synthetic opiates to healthcare providers and intentionally misrepresented the risks of addiction. As a result, doctors began overprescribing these pain killers to chronic pain patients.
Opiates can be useful in the short term. Say you’re recovering from surgery, or you broke your arm, an opiate prescription can help you reduce the pain while you recover. It’s a different story for chronic pain patients when there is no recovery date in sight. When patients use opiates as a long-term solution, they very quickly develop a tolerance and will require a higher dose to maintain the drug’s effectiveness. This astronomically increases the risk for overdose and addiction.
An anti-inflammatory diet of natural herbs and spices like turmeric extract, curcumin, black pepper, and green tea can help to reduce inflammation & potentially alleviate the discomfort of chronic conditions (like people with osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia) without such glaring risks. These anti-inflammatory foods also allow for patients to continue living their lives without dealing with the myriad unwanted side effects that come with pharmaceuticals.
Turmeric Curcumin For Joint Pain
You may be familiar with turmeric from the spice aisle of the grocery store or as an ingredient in curry. Evidence suggests that the bright yellow powder, may be, a powerful herbal medicine that could potentially help treat inflammation and pain.
Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which belongs to the ginger family. Curcumin is the chemical in turmeric that gives the powder its recognizable bright orange hue. Curcumin may also be the secret to turmeric efficacy as a treatment for joint pain. Research suggests that curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties that could make it an effective treatment for people suffering from mild joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, or even Crohn's disease.
Evidence That Turmeric Curcumin Is Good For Joint Pain
In 2019, a randomized pilot study looked into the effects of curcumin in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
45 patients who suffer from joint pain due to rheumatoid arthritis were randomly split into three groups. One group received 500mg of curcumin twice daily for eight weeks. Another group received 50mg of diclofenac sodium (a standard pharmaceutical treatment for arthritis) twice daily. The final group received both 500mg curcumin and 50mg diclofenac sodium treats.
Researchers then measured the reduction in tenderness, swelling, and pain in all three groups. While all groups showed improvement, researchers were surprised to find that the group given only curcumin showed the highest percentage of improvement of all three groups.
Another study in 2019 used a similar model and found similar results. 139 patients with arthritis of the knee were enrolled and randomly split into two separate groups. One group was given 500mg of curcumin three times daily, and the other received 50mg diclofenac twice daily. Both groups reported relief at similar rates; however, those taking the curcumin reported significantly fewer side effects. 28% of those taking diclofenac required further treatment for the stomach issues induced by the medicine, while zero patients taking curcumin required any further treatment.
Combining Curcumin With CBD
Evidence suggests that turmeric curcumin can be an effective remedy for pain caused by inflammation. Preliminary research investigating the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD (another natural compound) looked to be incredibly promising.
Both these compounds on their own could prove useful in relieving chronic pain, but when used together in tandem, they may prove to be even more effective. Both turmeric and CBD are non-toxic to humans, and taking these supplements together has not been shown to create any serious side effects or health concerns.