Back to top

Dealing with annoying aches and pains

Dr. Brenda Gill. Photo by Larry Doell

 Often we experience aches and pains that don’t send us to the doctor or keep us from working, but may take us to the pharmacy for medication or drain our energy.  Chronic achiness anywhere requires the body to dedicate time, nutrients and energy to repair whatever is creating the soreness. Readily accessible supplements or home remedies can help relieve the symptoms quickly. Here are some simple tools to treat minor problems.

•    Heartburn or reflux- Irritating heartburn can keep you from sleeping soundly and enjoying your favourite activities. Licorice in the form of DGL (deglycyrrhized  licorice) coats, soothes and protects the mucous lining of the esophagus and stomach. A chewable tablet coats the lining the best because of maximal contact, but you can also use a DGL capsule to help heal the stomach and drink licorice tea to heal the esophagus. Interestingly, licorice also re-balances the adrenal glands to handle stress more effectively; stress can cause heartburn. Therefore, it not only treats the symptoms, but potentially addresses part of the cause as well.

Another tool is calcium, magnesium or potassium minerals. Mixed in water, gargled and swallowed, these will neutralize the area and give you quick relief. An old remedy is baking soda and water, which will help, but you have to be careful not to use it too often because of the sodium content.

Heel drops before bed help as well. Drink a half-glass of water to put weight in the stomach, and go up on your toes and down on your heels repeated 10 times. This drops the stomach into the right position so it isn’t pushing up on the esophagus and is especially supportive if you have a hiatal hernia.     

•    Nausea and indigestion:  A wonderful spice that most people use in cooking is ginger. Adding it to stir-fries or sautéed vegetables is a simple way to relieve nausea, especially with pregnancy. Slicing some ginger and making a tea is the best way to use ginger and adding licorice to the tea will sweeten it. Sipping it throughout the day will relieve an upset stomach, otherwise, there are also ginger lozenges that slowly dissolve in the mouth for continual relief. Ginger is also a wonderful tool for the side effects of chemotherapy.

Chamomille, lemon balm and peppermint are common herbs brewed as tea for indigestion and will help calm the nerves that may be part of the problem. Peppermint oil is another useful tool for baby colic and can be applied with almond, olive or coconut oil on the tummy for relief.

Probiotics are the live bacteria we have in our bodies to help break down food, produce digestive enzymes, absorb nutrients effectively and protect us from infection. Usually 10 billion bacteria in an enteric coated capsule once a day is sufficient to relieve most digestive upset.

•    Aching Muscles: Muscle cramps or a stiff neck, shoulders or back after shovelling or a long day of touring is all too common. Eating wild salmon or halibut and including at least 3 or 4 tablespoons of raw seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, flax, chia, or sesame per day help maintain the omega 3 essential fatty acids that decrease inflammation, ease those sore, tight muscles and lubricate the joints. EFA’s reduce the metabolites such as lactic acid, produced whenever we are active, especially when we push ourselves a little harder than our muscles and joints are accustomed.

Inflammation in excess can be harmful and trigger tight muscle and muscle cramps, so turmeric, a spice which has been shown to reduce inflammation, can be added to soups, stews, curries and rice.

Epsom salt baths (about 1 cup per bath) or compresses can provide quick relief for sore, tight muscles.  Adding a few drops of lavender oil is also calming to the body and mind and can be added to the bath to relieve stress and tension. Traumacare, a homeopathic cream can be rubbed on any sore areas and is excellent at relieving swollen or achy muscles or joints.

•    The most commonly deficient vitamins I see are C and B vitimins because they are used in so many places in the body. Vitamin C is the main raw material to repair any muscle, tendon or ligament in the body and provides the adrenal glands with what they need to handle stress.  Vitamin C also helps maintain energy and gives the immune system what it needs to remove any bacteria, virus, allergy or irritant from the body. The B’s help the nervous system to handle stress, convert our food to energy to minimize lactic acid build-up, maintain focus, memory and concentration, relax the blood vessels for proper blood pressure, as well as help the liver to detoxify well. Make sure Vitamin C is a non-citrus based form in a capsule or powder, otherwise it will eventually make you acidic. A B-complex capsule with extra B5 usually gives enough of the required nutrients.

•    Calcium, magnesium and potassium are the most commonly deficient minerals and are important for proper muscle contraction and relaxation. Magnesium and potassium minimize muscle cramping, restless legs and proper heart rhythm.                          
  

Of course, the best treatment is prevention and food should be our medicine. So make sure you are getting the proper nutrients to feel well on a day to day basis. A balance of 5-6 servings of veggies per day with at least 1 cup per day of green leafy veggies, 2-3 pieces of dark fleshed fruit, whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa balanced with protein in the form of wild fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, chicken or turkey, beans and other legumes, tofu, tempeh or lamb or buffalo will usually give you most of the nutrients required to feel well and keep the balance, so, you are neither too acidic or too alkaline.

If those aches and pains persist, seek help by making an appointment to see Dr. Brenda Gill at 250-362-5035.