When patients come into our office, they are almost always in pain. When they are in pain, commonly they are also dealing with inflammation. I am often asked if there is anything that they can be taking at home to decrease inflammation. Instead of prescription anti-inflammatories and NSAIDs, here are a few natural options that will help decrease inflammation and get you out of pain as quickly as possible.
The most commonly used, and probably most effective, natural anti-inflammatory is fish oil. Studies have shown that taking between two to four grams of fish oil daily can decrease inflammation, espeically in chronic conditions. Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil are the catalyst for decreasing inflammation. Although omega 3 fatty acids can be found in other sources, the most benefit has been shown with fish oil. Fish oil has also been shown to help with a number of other conditions ranging from heart disease to depression to asthma.
What About Turmeric?
Although fish oil works very well as an anti-inflammatory, its pain relieving ability has not been proven. However, when used in combination with turmeric, a natural pain reliever, the effect is improved. Turmeric, commonly found in curry, has shown to be even more effective than some NSAIDs when used to treat patients with arthritis. There is even research currently being done to test the anti-cancer properties of turmeric.
While fish oil is very good at decreasing inflammation in chronic cases, it has not been shown to help acute pain and inflammation. In acute cases, try bromelain, an enzyme naturally found in pineapple. Research has shown that bromelain can be effective as both an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever when used with other proteolytic enzymes.
Warning Before Starting
Before taking any of the above supplements, be sure to consult with your doctor. They can determine what supplement is right in your case, and make sure that you will not suffer any ill effects. As an alternative to medication, fish oil, turmeric and bromelain can help calm inflammation or help ease your pain.