I have complicated feelings towards mainstream doctors. I see them when I’m sick, but I’m very suspicious. There have been too many episodes of “wrong medicine” where doctors didn’t want to run tests on me and gave me the wrong medication (“she’s fine”, doctor said while I was puking my guts out 3 times/ day). They try selling me antibiotics for everything, and when it doesn’t make me better they just give me more (“don’t worry, only 1 in 3 become immune” one doctor said, as she prescribed me to take antibiotics every day for the rest of my life). When I was 11 a doctor even refused to x-ray my broken nose (“it’s not broken”, he insisted until my mother threatened to sue the hospital), I still don’t refuse mainstream doctors (they ARE doctors, after all), I just try to take their advice with a big pinch of salt and do as much research as I can before taking medicine.
Now that’s off my chest, let’s talk about happy things.
I love natural treatments for pain, and there are lots of good remedies out there that work. I’m not into homeopathy, so that’s not what I’m getting at here. I’m also not a doctor, and I won’t tell you these remedies are going to be better for you than whatever medicine your doctor might have prescribed you. We are all different. But I will say that this is how I treat my everyday pain.
1. Tiger Balm for backpain
I’m a big advocate of Tiger Balm, and ironically, I currently live a 20 minute walk from the old home of the inventors, Haw Par Villa in Singapore.
I have Scoliosis, (48 degrees, last time I checked) and sitting all day at a computer, or spending all day walking around with a heavy backpack aren’t good, and I’ll get back pain. That’s when I rub on a good chunk of Tiger Balm and feel the hot and cold feeling, and my muscles instantly releasing and relaxing.
I try to always carry a small tin of the balm in my backpack, and when someone I meet complains about back pain I’ll have the balm up in seconds, encouraging them to try it. Never met someone who didn’t love it and never come across anything nearly as effective for back pain. The best part is that it’s made of herbs and oils, so I don’t have to worry about weird stuff leaking into my blood stream.
2. Comfrey Cream for joints
When I first started having knee pain a few years ago, I couldn’t use stairs for over 6 months. I tried physio but it made the pain worse, so I stopped going. Somewhere online I heard mentions of Comfrey cream. The internet was going absolutely crazy over it, insisting on it’s amazingness for joint pain. So I got a small tube to try it and oh-my-god the pain was gone. And it stays gone for several days. Some people even say Comfrey helps heal your joints, but I haven’t experienced this yet.
I use a simple cream with few ingredients. What’s important is that the cream contains the herb.
3. Bicarbonate Soda for Stomach Acidity
Before discovering Chamomile tea I had a nice stash of bicarbonate soda in the kitchen. Don’t ask me how it works, but it calms the acidity in your stomach so it stops burning/ hurting. I learned this after staying home from work one whole week in 2012. One day my husband remembered this trick his dad taught him. Add about two teaspoons of bicarbonate soda in a glass of water, and stir until it dissolves. It’s hard to drink, as it’s probably the most horrible taste in the world. But it really works.
My stomach is complicated though, and just like it became immune to Gaviscone in 2012, it’s now stopped responding to bicarbonate soda as well. Which is why I use number 4 now days.
4. Chamomile Tea for Stomach Pain
Don’t underestimate chamomile tea. Last summer, after 3 weeks in Sicily of stuffing myself with pizza, pasta and fried foods, I came home with a stomach pain so bad my husband called for an ambulance at 4 am. It was like an alien trying to break out of my stomach. After 2 days of this constant pain, doctors scratching their heads and medicine not working fast enough (as usual) I called my mom. “Drink Chamomile tea” was the answer. It took less than 5 minutes for the chamomile tea to calm my stomach. Since then I always have a the tea at home, and call me crazy, but whenever doctors offer me some anti-acidity meds, I answer thanks, but I’ll stick to chamomile tea.
5. White Vinegar for Rashes
I scratched my shoulder against a coral in Tioman Island a few weeks ago. It was really silly, I got carried away playing mermaid in the water. I didn’t think much about it as the scratch was tiny, and it healed in no time. But then it started to itch, and before I knew it I had a massive rash covering my newly formed scar(s). Oops.
It was obviously a reaction to the coral, so I wanted to know if I should worry, and set out to google. Answer, do not worry, but wash with white vinegar to disinfect (or get steroid cream from doctor). White vinegar is amazing, it kills about 99.9% of bacteria, and most types of mold too. I used to wash my clothes and furniture with white vinegar when I had mold at home.
Anyways, I drenched a cotton pad with white vinegar, attached it to my shoulder with some tape, and left it over night. By the next morning the itching had stopped and the rash was half it’s size. I cleaned the rash with vinegar a few more times, and in a few days the rash was all gone. Thank you vinegar!