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Considering the amount of ibuprofen I consume on a regular basis combined with the number of times I find myself saying "What?!" per day, my initial reaction to news of a study linking women's use of pain relievers such as the aforementioned ibuprofen to long-term hearing loss was one of, let's say, alarm. Especially considering that this latest research, which also implicates acetaminophen, seems to think that "twice-a-week" is a regular basis. I don't know about you, but in my life the urge to reach for painkillers occurs more like twice-an-hour. And I really do wonder if I'm going deaf sometimes, though it's possible I'm just developing "selective hearing," that classic physical manifestation of mommy burnout ("MOM! MOMMOMOMOM!!!" "Oh, sorry sweetie, I didn't hear you.").
Of course, I'm always a bit skeptical of "studies" like this one which compare existing data (as opposed to a clinical trial), so I'm not planning on tossing out my ibuprofen altogether. But maybe it's worth looking into other pain relief options. You know, ones that won't have me shopping for a hearing aid before I'm a grandma. So here are 5 all-natural alternatives to get rid of your headaches, or whatever type of ache you happen to be having:
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1. Hand reflexology. This method is supposed to work wonders on cluster and migraine headaches, and you can master the technique yourself to use anytime. To really learn about reflexology, try downloading a chart, but this is basically what you need to do for a headache: Use the thumb and on opposite hand begin working the tips of your thumb and fingers (where the head, brain and sinus reflexes are located).
2. Capsaican. An active component of chile pepper, capsaican creams used topically are super-effective at relieving arthritis pain, but apparently a little capsaican cream inside the nostrils is just as useful in making headaches go away.
3. Kill the lights. Docs recommened resting, sitting, or lying "quietly in a low-lit room" to vanquish headaches, and as a former migraine sufferer, I can tell you this really works ... BUT you hafta nip that sucker in the bud, or else you'll just be in a low-lit room, moaning in pain.
4. SAM-e. Derived from a naturally occurring amino acid, SAM-e reduces inflammation and is thought to boost the brain's happy chemicals, serotonin and dopamine.
5. Caffeine. It's true! Except, not really on its own -- but caffeine added to pain relief meds can help those meds work better (faster, too).
Have you tried any of all-natural pain relief alternatives?
Image via e-Magine Art/Flickr