Alternative Pain Relief:
Substances That Can Diminish Pain

The following substances have shown to be somewhat effective in reducing pain:

  • MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a food. It is an organic form of sulfer, which is found primarily in fruits, vegetables, meat, milk and seafood. It can offer a natural way to reduce pain without serious side effects, including reducing or eliminating muscle soreness and cramps. People with arthritis report substantial and long-lasting relief with MSM supplements. Taken along with glucosamine, MSM can offer pain relief and help repair worn or damaged cartilage in joints with healthy, flexible new cells.1
  • Calcium is recommended for arthritis, more as a preventive than as a painkiller. Recently, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that pain from pre-menstrual syndrome was reduce by half in women given supplemental calcium.2
  • Magnesium, found in soybeans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fish, has long been valued in treating migraines because it acts as a muscle relaxant. It is considered one of the most promising nutrients in headache research.3 In a 1996 German study of 81 migraine patients published in the headache journal Cephalgia, 41.6 percent of subjects taking oral magnesium reduced both the duration and intensity of migraine attacks. They also reduced their reliance on medications to control their migraines.4'
  • Glucosamine sulfate has shown effectiveness in reducing arthritis pain, which may be due to its ability to repair joints.5 Used together, glucosamine and chondroiten can reduce joint pain and may help build new cartilage, according to a study at Boston University School of Medicine. The treatment worked so well for Jason Theodosakis, M.D., who suffered from severe osteoarthritis, that he is now medication free.
  • Essential Fatty Acids are important to pain-free health. American researchers suggest that a combination of magnesium taurate and fish oil may help prevent migraine headaches, based on the ability of both to reduce blood vessel spasms.6 A 1997 study showed that gamma-linolenic (GLA) and alpha-linolenic (ALA) fatty acid supplements reduced the severity, frequency and duration of total migraine attacks by 86 percent. During the six month study, 22 percent of the 169 patients no longer had migraine attacks, and 90 percent experienced less nausea and vomiting.7
  • Arnica's anti-inflammatory action can be used topically to ease the pain of bruises and sprains.
  • Cayenne contains capsaicin, which stimulates the brain to secrete endorphins that help block pain signals. A recent trial showed that cayenne helped reduce arthritis pain.8
  • Chamomile contains bisabolol, which has anti-inflammatory properties and relaxes the muscle lining of the digestive tract. Several studies indicate that chamomiles is a good digestive aid.
  • Ginkgo biloba extracts have been shown to reduce leg pain.9


  1. Total Health 1998. "MSM". Feb/Mar., Vol. 20, No. 1. pp. 30-31.
  2. Calcium Helps PMS, Study Shows, New Scientists.
  3. Batchelder H., PMS Naturally, Rocklin, CA, Prima Health, 1998.
  4. Piekert A., et al, "Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium: results from a prospective multicenter, placebo-controlled and double blind randomized study". Cephalagia 1996;16:257-63.
  5. Kelly, G.S., The role of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfates in the treatment of degenerative joint disease. Alt Med Rev, 1998; 3(1):27-39.
  6. McCarty, M.F., Magnesium taurate and fish oil for prevention of migraine. Medical Hypothesis 1996 Dec; 47(6):461.
  7. Wagner W, Nootbaar-Wagner U. Prophylactic treatment of migraine with gamma-linolenic and alpha-linolenic acids. Cephalagia 1997 Apr:17(2)127-130.
  8. Milla SY, Jacoby RK, Chacksfield M, Willoughby M. Effect of a proprietary herbal medicine on the relief of chronic arthritis pain: a double blind study. Br. J. Rheumatol. 1996; 35(9):8740878.
  9. Drabaek, H., Petersen, J.R., Weinberg N., Hansen, K.F., Mehlsen, J. The effect of ginkgo biloba extract on patients with intermittent claudication. Ugeskr Laeger, 1996; 158(27): 3928-393

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