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20 Weird And Wonderful Pain Relief Solutions To Try

Most of us will try anything to relieve pain. Over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen and acetaminophen tends to be the most popular and effective solution. But popping pills has its side effects in the long run and those with chronic pain may find that alternative methods are worth exploring. 

There are some obvious alternatives like ice packs, hot baths and massages – but there are also hundreds of weird and wonderful herbal remedies, medical procedures and DIY tricks that you can look into. This post lists 20 of the more unusual forms of pain relief that could be worth trying. 


Got a needle phobia? This pain relief solution may not be for you. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese form of pain relief that involves inserting fine needles into pressure points around the body. It is used to treat a myriad of pains including joint pain, muscular pain and headaches. Scientists believe acupuncture may work by releasing endorphins as a result of triggering certain nerve endings. Make sure to only trust a licensed professional to carry out this treatment. 

Bee venom

Bee venom is probably the last thing many people think about when considering pain ‘relief’ options. However, when diluted, bee venom can actually have anti-inflammatory properties. Bee venom injections and bee venom topical cream are most commonly used to treat arthritic pain. Of course, this treatment is not suitable for those with a bee sting allergy.


While botox treatment is known mainly as being an anti-wrinkle remedy, it actually has many medical applications – including pain relief. Botox injections involve putting a carefully measured dose of toxin into an area of the body. This paralyses muscles in that area, which gets rid of dynamic wrinkles and relieves certain pains caused by trapped nerves. Such treatment lasts about six months and may be recommended for certain types of back pain and shoulder pain.

Capsaicin cream

Capsaicin is the chemical found in chilli peppers that makes them spicy. As with bee venom, capsaicin can be used to fight pain with pain, interfering with pain receptors. The most common way to use capsaicin as a pain remedy is to apply it as a topical cream. It can cause a tingling slight burning sensation, but this is likely to be much less intense than the pain it treats. 

CBD gummies

A lot of people smoke cannabis to relieve chronic pain, and there are a lot of studies to support its effectiveness. However, not everyone likes the high of cannabis, and in many places around the world it is not legal. CBD is an extract of cannabis that has pain relieving properties without creating a high. It has become very popular as an alternative medicine and can be consumed in many ways ranging from tablets to tinctures. CBD gummies for pain are one of the more fun pain relief solutions. Who doesn’t want to relieve pain by eating sweets?


Got a toothache? Rubbing some cloves onto your gums may have the same effect as teething gel. In fact, many teething gels contain clove oil. This is the result of the natural numbing ingredient ‘eugenol’ found in cloves.


Several studies have found that caffeine may help to reduce pain. One instance where it seems to be very effective is migraine relief – a lot of people report that drinking a cup of coffee during the early stages of a migraine can completely get rid of it. Of course, for some people, caffeine can also be a migraine trigger (in which case, avoid coffee!).

Devil’s Claw

No, this isn’t some weird fantasy ingredient. Devil’s claw is a plant (so-called for its claw-like appearance) which has been used in herbal medicine for centuries. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties and is used by many people with arthritic pain. You can buy tablets and tinctures containing devil’s claw at many herbal pharmacies. You can even make your own devil’s claw tea.

Fire cupping

Like acupuncture, this is an ancient Chinese form of pain relief. It involves placing hot cups on various spots around the body. The hot cups create suction that can help to relieve muscular pains. Obviously, a lot can go wrong with fire cupping if you don’t know what you’re doing, so you should only ever get this treatment done by a trained professional.


Some of you may know frankincense as being one of the three gifts Jesus received from the wise men. What most people don’t know about this herbal ingredient is that it can also have pain relief properties. Harvested from the Boswellia tree, frankincense is available as capsules that may help reduce arthritic pain and other pains. The scent of frankincense from a candle or spray may also have pain relieving properties.  

Ginger tea

Got a stomach ache? Studies have found that consuming ginger can help ease many digestion issues. Ginger can reduce nausea and alleviate gas, as well as reducing stomach pain. It is sometimes recommended to people with IBS, celiac and morning sickness. You can consume ginger in many forms, however ginger tea is the most popular solution. 

Ice pack slippers

If you suffer from foot pain, wearing ice pack slippers could be an unusual but effective remedy worth looking into. These are literally ice packs that you wear on your feet. You probably don’t want to wear them out and about, however you could try wearing them around your home.

Magnet therapy

You may even be able to use magnets to relieve pain. Admittedly, there isn’t much scientific evidence to support this one, however many people swear by the effectiveness of magnets to relieve joint pain and back pain. You can buy magnetic wristbands and magnetic knee pads online for this purpose. Obviously, magnets should be avoided if you have any metal medical devices fitted or piercings. 

Nettle leaf extract

Like bee venom and capsaicin, nettles are a substance that typically causes pain, which can be counter-actively used to reduce pain in the right doses. Nettle leaf extract is available from several herbal pharmacies and can be used to reduce arthritic pain by relieving inflammation. Nettle tea may have similar effects.

Sexual healing

When Marvin Gaye sang about sexual healing, he could have had a point. Sexual activity (particularly reaching orgasm) releases a flood of endorphins around the body that has been scientifically proven to temporarily reduce many types of pain. An orgasm can treat a migraine for some people (but can be a cause for others) and may also help to alleviate arthritic pain, leg pain and menstrual cramps. 


In 2020, one study found that using curse words increased participants’ pain tolerance by 33%. Participants were asked to keep their hands in freezing water. Some of the participants were not allowed to swear, while others were. The participants that swore were able to keep their hands in the water the longest. So next time you’re in pain (and there are no kids around) don’t hold back.

Tennis balls

If you have lower back pain, you may already be familiar with this pain relief solution. By lying on your back and placing a tennis ball under your lower back, you can help to give yourself a lower back massage. Tennis balls can be used in a similar method to treat foot pain and shoulder pain. Purpose-designed massage balls may offer better pain relief, but a tennis ball is a good DIY alternative. 

TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)

Pain is caused by the brain sending electrical signals around the body. This has triggered many studies into the role of electricity in pain and led to the development of TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation). This pain relief solution involves using a light electrical current to disrupt pain signals to certain parts of the body. You can buy TENS devices to use for home pain relief.

White willow bark

Willow bark contains a chemical called salicin – which is similar to aspirin. Consequently, willow bark has long been used as a herbal painkiller for things like joint pain and back pain. Because it doesn’t taste very nice, willow bark is most commonly consumed in tincture or capsule form, although you can make it into a tea. 

Wormwood patches

You can buy pain relieving patches to place on areas of the body that cause pain such as the lower back or knee. One common ingredient found in these patches is wormwood – a plant with strong anti-inflammatory properties that is effectively absorbed by our skin. If you have pain in a focused area, why not try one of these patches?


Clearly, there are many forms of pain relief to explore. While all of the above are generally viewed as safe options, you may want to consult your doctor about trying certain alternative forms of pain relief in case they have side effects when mixed with prescription or OTC  painkillers (which are still the most effective way to relieve pain). It’s also important that any procedures or herbal medicines are supplied by trusted professionals.

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