Over 116 million Americans suffer from chronic pain – which adds up to more people than those suffering from diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. To alleviate your major aches and pains – from sore necks to backaches – follow Dr. Oz’s 7-day ache-fighting plan.
It’s your number-one health complaint: pain. Four out of 5 Americans will report back pain at some point in their lives, and pain accounts for more than 20% of all doctor’s visits in the United States. Painkiller abuse and addiction are an epidemic in this country. Before you reach for another pill, try Dr. Oz’s 7-Day Plan to Fight Pain, which does not require any prescription medication. Instead, this approach tackles pain layer by layer, covering your muscles, nerves and skeletal system. You’ll find relief for common pain areas including your head, neck, back, knees and feet.
Dr. Oz’s 7-Day Plan to Fight Pain
Day 1: Muscle Pain in Your Back
The first body system most responsible for pain is your muscular system. Muscles are very simple mechanisms that work like an extendable ladder. When you want them to open, they open. When you want them to contract, which you do during weightlifting, walking or anything else active, they contract. Minerals prevent muscles from latching up and having spasms.
Solution for Muscle Spasms: To ensure you’re getting enough minerals, take a muscle “pain power pill” that combines potassium, calcium and magnesium every day:
- 600mg calcium
- 400mg magnesium
- 200mg potassium
Day 2: Muscle Pain in Your Neck
Your muscles are also responsible for neck pain. Referred to by Dr. Oz as the 3 P’s, there are three common reasons for muscles spasms that cause neck pain:
1St P: A heavy purse can pull your muscles out of whack. To avoid neck pain, make sure your purse weighs no more than 3-5 pounds.
2nd P: Pressure from daily stress makes muscles tight and more likely to spasm. One of the most popular places you hold tension is in your neck, as well as your jaw and lower back.
3rd P: Poor posture can misalign the muscles in your spine and cause spasms. So stand up tall as if a string is pulling you up from the top of your head.
Solution for Neck Pain: One of the best ways to relieve neck pain is to practice good sleep habits. Your head should not tilt up or down while you sleep since this posture misaligns the muscles in your spine. Try using a sleep posture pillow, with a depression in its center so that your neck is relaxed rather than angled upward.
Day 3: Back Pain From Herniated Discs
The next body system most responsible for pain is the nervous system. Classic nerve pain includes herniated discs, which result when the cushion that surrounds spinal vertebrae is pushed out of its normal position. When a disc ruptures, the nerves then become irritated or inflamed.
Solution for Herniated Disc Pain: Try white willow bark, a natural anti-inflammatory that contains salicin and salicylate (chemicals found in aspirin), along with other compounds that have analgesic effects. Take as a tincture by adding 4-6 ml to a glass of water. Consume up to 3 times a day.
Day 4: Back Pain From Sciatica
When the sciatic nerve is inflamed, often from herniated discs, it can result in numbness, tingling or weakness that begins in your lower back and travels down the sciatic nerve in the leg.
Solution for Sciatica Pain: Try at-home acupuncture. Sit on a chair and place a tennis ball under you in the little hollow in your bottom where sciatic pain can often reside. Roll the ball around using your body weight and apply pressure; hold for about 10-15 seconds. This lifts the muscles that are compressing and squeezing the sciatic nerve.
Day 5: Joint Pain
The next system responsible for pain is the skeletal system. Jogging in particular creates repetitive trauma than can cause joint pain in your knees. Healthy joints have smooth surfaces and move easily. With age, though, this natural lubrication and cartilage diminishes in your joints resulting in more friction and increased inflammation.
Solution for Joint Pain: A study has shown that the herbal remedy anaflora arnica gel may be as effective for relieving joint pain as ibuprofen with fewer side effects. Apply to sore joints twice a day, both in the morning and night.
Day 6: Foot Pain
Foot pain often goes hand in hand with joint pain. Since your foot has over 26 bones, along with multiple ligaments and tendons, one misstep can cause instant problems.
Solution for Foot Pain: Orthotic foot inserts are inexpensive solutions that can fix foot mechanics involving the heels, toes or arch, and provide needed support to the troubled area. Keep in mind that it might involve some trial and error to figure out which orthotic works best for you.
Day 7: Headache Pain
Nearly 9 out of 10 women report problems involving tension headaches. Here are three headache remedies for morning, noon and night.
Morning Headaches: Morning tension headaches occur because, during sleep, muscles are inactive and blood vessels can stiffen. When you wake up, blood pressure spikes to give you the energy you need to start the day. This can result in the pressure surge behind a morning headache.
Solution for Morning Headaches: Stretch before you get out of bed each morning:
- Knee-to-Chest Back Stretch: While in bed, pull up your knees one at a time, all the way up to your nose if you can. Otherwise just bring your knees to your chest. This relaxes your lower back, improves blood flow, and helps you wake up gently.
- Cobra: Now lie flat on your stomach while still in bed. Press your hands under your shoulders and stretch yourself up, keeping your hips on the bed. Push to the sky, stretching your lower back. This allows your heart to relax and the whole-body stretch gets blood circulating.
Noontime Headaches: These are commonly caused by stress that creates tightened muscles in the head or neck. Too much stress over time actually makes the pain areas in the neck more sensitive.
Solution for Noontime Headaches: De-stress by adding spices to your lunch. Try each of these throughout the week:
- Ginger helps reduce inflammation.
- Turmeric is also an anti-inflammatory.
- Red pepper flakes contain capsaicin, a natural pain reliever.
Nighttime Headaches: Headaches occur at night due to stress that has accumulated throughout the day.
Solution for Nighttime Headaches: To conquer these and/or to prevent headaches from occurring the next day, drink hibiscus tea. It will help you to unwind while also preventing morning tension headaches.