The Natural Route to Pain Relief

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Got a headache? Here, have some Tylenol!

Did you pull a muscle exercising? Motrin might help!

Pain happens, and there’s a pill for nearly every pain. But what happens if the pharmacies are closed? There are other options besides popping a pill – give these methods a try!

A535 or Sports Rubs: These analgesic gels can help relieve aches and pains from overused muscles, back spasms or arthritis. These rubs contain camphor, eucalyptus oil, menthol, and methyl salicylate and heat up on contact with the skin. If you are allergic to aspirin or if you have coagulation issues, you should not use these rubs.

Arnica Gel: A natural version of the sports rub, Arnica Gel works to relieve pain in sore muscles or bruises.

Hot Water Bottle: The very low-tech hot water bottle aids in relieving pain from sore muscles, stiff necks and menstrual cramps. A water bottle applied to the back of the head or neck can help relieve a headache.

Massage: Massage can relieve muscle pain. If you don’t have a willing pair of strong hands around, you can use a tennis ball to help loosen up tight muscles. Massaging the temples gently can alleviate a headache.

Gentle stretching: Stretching can work wonders for back pain. NOTE: Therapeutic stretches may cause some slight pressure but they should NEVER CAUSE PAIN. Pain is your body’s signal to STOP. With that warning in mind, try these simple moves:

Lay completely flat on the floor. Pull one knee up to your chest, keeping your other leg straight and flat on the floor. Hold the knee to your chest by wrapping your arms around it. If you are able, hold the stretch for 30 seconds to one minute. Gently release your leg and do the same thing with the other side.

Get on all fours on the floor. This stretch is called an “angry cat” and that is exactly the position you want to achieve. Never drop your spine down towards the floor, as this will hyperextend your backbone. Curve your spine upward and form a downward “C”. Hold this while concentrating on sucking your belly button in towards your spine. Release and repeat.

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Tess Pennington joined the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999 Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. You can follow her regular updates on Preparedness, Homesteading, and a host of other topics at