Migraines. Arthritis. Back aches. Muscle soreness. Millions of Americans suffer with chronic pain every day of their lives, with as many as 1 in 4 taking medication. But Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., has a surprising and simple message: Pain is not your enemy and there are natural ways to fight it.
In a new book, "The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution," Dr. Teitelbaum details ways to alleviate pain that are more effective and less dangerous than reaching for a painkiller. He tells Newsmax Health the first step in treating pain is recognizing it can be an ally — and not an adversary — in boosting your health.
Pain, he explains, is part of the body's natural way of letting you know something's wrong and needs fixing.
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"If you’re driving down the road and the oil light on your car's dashboard goes off it's really annoying, but it's not an enemy; it's part of the warning system that's a healthy part of your body," he says. "Pain is like that oil light, telling you that something needs attention. And if you give your body what it needs — just like if you put oil in your care the oil light goes out — our research shows that the pain goes away."
But Dr. Teitelbaum notes many physicians aren't equipped to help patients manage chronic pain.
"Unfortunately, most doctors have not a clue — they're just simply not trained in pain management," he says. "And because of that, they'll throw a couple Band-Aids at you and it's like putting a Band-Aid over the oil light. And that's the reason 1 out of 4 Americans are in chronic pain … unnecessarily."
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Dr. Teitelbaum adds that painkillers are ineffective in treating many types of pain and pose significant risks. He attributes tens of thousands of deaths to arthritis medications and painkillers.
"You have over 30,000 Americans dying unnecessarily each year from arthritis medications, things like ibuprofen," he says. "You'll have 16,500 bleeding ulcer deaths a year and a doubling to tripling of heart attack and stroke risks. Also, very often they just don’t work."
A better option, he says, is to identify and address the underlying sources of pain. In addition, many natural remedies and foods can alleviate it. Scientific studies have shown foods and supplements containing turmeric and curcumin — spices common to Indian and Asian dishes — ease pain effectively. Boswellia (Frankincense) and willow bark (the natural source of aspirin) have also been found to be potent anti-inflammatories. Two supplements Dr. Teitelbaum recommends are Curamin — containing a high-absorption curcumin called BCM-95 — and End Pain, containing willow bark extract.
Many other foods and beverages have pain-killing properties, as well, he notes. In addition to Indian curries, for instance, he recommends ginger tea — made by pouring hot water into a cup with a third of an inch of chopped ginger root — as an effective painkiller. For people who suffer migraines, he suggests taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen with a cup of strong coffee, which can boost the painkillers' power.
But coffee and ginger tea aren't the only beverages Dr. Teitelbaum recommends for pain.
"One my favorites is beer," he explains. "Beer has hops, which is a very very effective muscle relaxant.
"So there's many natural products that I find to be far more effective than the medications and which can be taken along with the medications as well."
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