According to a recent report published by PainAustralia, one in five Australians (including adolescents & children), lives with chronic pain. An earlier study in 2007 revealed that 3.2 million Australians live with chronic pain and is projected to increase to 5.0 million by the year 2050.

As we know with pain, the impact is enormous. As the statistics above show, there are quite a few of us living our lives with some continuing level of pain. Sore joints from Arthritis, Lower Back Pain stiffness, constant headaches and migraines, etc. What’s even more concerning is the Psycho-Social impact that chronic pain could have. It interferes with our daily life with either our daily activities or through work. It impacts on the quality of life. It may lead to further serious health issues such as depression or other mood disorders.

As you would expect, many of us in pain would reach for medications such as analgesics (painkillers). Medications such as Paracetamol (Panadol), Codeine with Paracetamol (Panadeine), Ibuprofen (Nurofen) and Aspirin (Disprin) are all commonly prescribed or bought off the shelf to try and relieve us of pain. However, for those in chronic pain, taking such medications long term could have potential (and sometimes deadly) side effects.

Fortunately, there is good news, with new research emerging about the benefits of naturally-occurring substances that can not only help us in the battle of chronic pain, but can also be taken long term if necessary. Let’s take a look:


Normally when we think of turmeric, we think about the wonderful spice that gives curry its distinct colour and contributes to the flavour. Well now you can think about its anti-inflammatory activity. Turmeric contains a plant chemical known as Curcumin, which is the main substance that gives Turmeric its distinctive yellow-golden colour. What’s really exciting about Curcumin though is that it possesses amazing health benefits with actions such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-arthritic. Several studies have now been published, which shows its effectiveness in relieving the symptoms of both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis and Enlarged Prostate.

So it never hurts (pardon the pun) to add a little spice to your life, especially when it can assist in relieving the symptoms of pain. As mentioned earlier, turmeric is a crucial ingredient in curries. However, you can also sprinkle it on salads, mixed into mince for an inflammation-relieving burger patty. You can also find it being served up in cafes as a spicy latte!


It’s now a well-known fact that Fish Oil is an important factor for so many health ailments. When we think about long term health issues such as Cardiovascular Disease and Inflammation, we look towards Fish Oil as being a safe, long-term solution to manage such ailments. However, let’s look at the profile of the humble Fish Oil and see why it can be effective.

When you look at the nutritional profile on a bottle of Fish Oil, you’ll see a couple of figures known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These are the Omega 3 Fatty Acids that are responsible for providing health benefits to ailments mentioned previously. It’s the EPA in particular, that have amazing anti-inflammatory benefits. EPA has been shown to block inflammatory pathways in the body, which would produce inflammatory ‘bad’ prostaglandins known as PGE2, and therefore lead to the production of the anti-inflammatory ‘good’ prostaglandins known as PGE3. These good prostaglandins also have heart-protective properties.

The best fish to look for with regards to a high level of EPA is Salmon. These are sold as capsules and liquid. However, it’s hard to beat a nice piece of freshly grilled Salmon served up a generous dose of greens and maybe a side of quinoa.


Boswellia may not be a herb that has come across your radar, but you probably have heard of Frankincense, one of the gifts given to the Infant Jesus by one of the Three Kings. In essence, Frankincense is Boswellia. And when you read further into the medicinal properties of this wonderful herb, it’s little wonder that it was such a prized and valued commodity during biblical times.

The resin from Boswellia contains a substance known as Boswellic Acids, and it’s these properties that have been shown to demonstrate anti-inflammatory activity in various clinical trials in conditions such as both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Crohn’s Disease and also reduces symptoms associated with Chronic Asthma. The mechanism of action is similar to Turmeric, which was mentioned earlier, where it blocks inflammatory pathways in the body.

You’ll only find good quality Boswellia in tablet form and sold in health food stores & pharmacies. It is also one of the most commonly prescribed herbal extracts by Naturopaths & Herbalist when it comes to chronic pain.

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