Relief FromThose Annoying Aches and Pains

Dr. Brenda Gill
By Dr. Brenda Gill
March 8th, 2014

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 vitality and strength.  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 stressors more effectively, which 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 called Tri-Salts.  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 also counterbalance the acidity, but, is not as strong and you have to be careful not to use it too often because of the sodium content.   

·         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.  These are destroyed when taking antibiotics, therefore are often depleted.  Usually 10 billion bacteria in an enteric coated capsule 1/day for a month is sufficient to relieve most digestive upset and replace what was lost.  

·         Aching Muscles– Muscle cramps or a stiff back after all that shovelling is all too common with that heavy snow lately.  Eating wild salmon or halibut and including at least 3-4 Tbsp of raw seeds (sunflower/pumpkin/hemp/flax/chia/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 that is 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/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.

Of course, making sure you are getting the right nutrition and using food as your

medicine is the basis of feeling well on an everyday basis.  Always strive for 5-6 servings of veggies per day, included in that 1 cup of green leafy veggies, 2-3 fruit per day, whole grains, such as quinoa and brown rice balanced with high quality protein such as wild fish, eggs, chicken/turkey, tofu/tempeh, beans/legumes or nuts/seeds.  Most veggies, fruit and grains are alkalinizing thus balancing out the protein which are acidifying to be neutral overall.  The exceptions are tomatoes, lemon/lime, oranges, grapefruit, anything refined/white (crackers, flour, sugar, pasta, crackers, rice and  potatoes), and any stimulants (coffee, decaff coffee, black/green/white tea, herba mate, honeybush, rooibos and Pop).  Keeping your meals neutral or slightly alkaline enables the body to detoxify efficiently, consequently, minimizing overall achiness.

Incorporating vitamins and minerals may also be needed to fill in any deficiencies.  Make sure they are capsules or powder, since tablets only absorb about 10%.  The most common ones I see are Vitamin C and the B’s.  Vitamin C is the main raw material to repair any ligament, tendon, joint or muscle tissue in the body, helps the adrenal glands cope with stressors effectively, improves immune function and keeps our bones, teeth and hair strong.  It is important to use a non-citrus based Vitamin C, otherwise the body will eventually become too acidic. 

B vitamins also maintain proper adrenal response, settle the nervous system, maximize nutrient, oxygen and energy delivery to the cells and augments the removal of waste products from the body.  Others that may be considered are calcium/ magnesium citrate 1:1 capsules to maintain proper bone and muscle function and Vitamin E, our fat soluble anti-oxidant, since most chemicals and toxins we are exposed to are fat soluble.

Brenda Gill is a naturopath practising in Rossland, BC.

Categories: GeneralHealth

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