Woman Heal Thyself…{Or How I am Treating Chronic Pain and More Naturally}


When I posted my homemade floor cleaner recipe yesterday, I told you a bit about my health. In case you missed it, I’ll give you a run down here. I warn you. This post is longer than any I’ve ever written, but it needs to be that way to tell you everything and to explain how I’m treating my diabetes and chronic pain naturally. If you need to take a break from it, be sure to bookmark it so that you can come back and easily find it.

In September of 2007, I began having issues with chronic pain and stiffness. Over the course of the next 8 years, I begged and pleaded with the many different doctors to figure out what was wrong with me. I’ve been diagnosed with everything from Fibromyalgia to Rheumatoid Arthritis and everything in between. As time went on and the numerous medical tests continued, we began to realize that the doctors that we had been trusting so much really had no idea what they were looking for. Things had gotten worse of that 8 year period and by the time we took matters into our own hands, I was unable to walk more than a few steps each day. I was plagued by migraines and headaches so bad that I would be bedridden until it let go. My legs, ankles and feet would swell so badly that it would appear as if my skin was going to burst wide open. I was pale and I was exhausted no matter how many hours I slept. Unfortunately by the time that 2015 rolled around, I also had diabetes rearing its ugly head. Simply put? I was incredibly ill and if I was being totally honest with you?

I was terrified I was going to die.

I suffered from chronic joint pain, stiff muscles and more for 8 years of my life! Not anymore though! I'm pain free! See how I did it naturally! You never know! It might just work for you too!

 

UPDATE 8/2016: Since I originally wrote this post (in March 2016), I have changed the way I manage things. While the way I describe things below does work, it is also incredibly expensive. I was spending $40.00 or more per month on the Tart Cherry juice concentrate alone. My budget and my future plans could not handle that. So I found something new that honestly is even more amazing! What, you ask? Thrive

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While I’m not going to make any medical claims at all about Thrive, what I will say is this: I feel 100% better, my aches and discomforts are gone, my headaches are out the window, and I’m sleeping so much better! Anyone who knows me knows that sleeping well is something I have struggled with for 15 years. I used to sleep at random hours and felt horrible! Not anymore! I am feeling 100% better and I have so much energy that I don’t even need a nap! My favorite part? My favorite Lifestyle mix flavor is low carb and low sugar too so it doesn’t raise my sugar!

Even better though? I am down 25 lbs since I started! Amazing, right? If you’re looking for a cheaper way than what I have given you below, head over and create your free Thrive customer account. You don’t have anything to lose (except weight and unhealthy feelings!)! If you’d rather use something else, the old way I managed things is still described below. 🙂

Before I type another word, I want to make something clear. I am not in any way, shape or form a doctor. I can’t tell you for sure what is causing your chronic pain. I can’t tell you that what worked for me will certainly work for you. I can’t tell you that the way I manage my diabetes will manage yours. Please, before you start any form of treatment whether it be natural or synthetic, talk to your doctor first. Obviously I can’t make you do that, but if you try my tips without consulting your doctor, you’re on your own.

Over the years I had picked up tiny hints as to what was actually wrong with me. Things like the fact that I could drink a nutritional shake each day which would cause my pain and stiffness to lessen a bit. By themselves they never really amounted to much, but when we sat down in 2015 to figure things out? They added up to a lot when put together. I remembered that when I was a single Mom I never cleaned my house with chemical cleaners. In fact, I only used baking soda, vinegar and other homemade cleaners. I also never ate out much. We ate home cooked meals that were usually free of processed ingredients. Life changed when we moved to Texas though. We were busier and convenience took over for a while.

How I am Treating Chronic Pain + Diabetes Naturally

In short, we realized after much testing that the biggest issues affecting my health was the amount of chemicals in my life and that my body was missing vital nutrients that it needed to function and survive. It should surprise me but it really doesn’t. It is getting harder and harder to buy things that are not covered in a chemical somehow and it can be all too easy to pull through that drive through or pick up the phone and order in. Even then, a lot of the time, that “food” we’re ordering is covered in even more chemicals. Foods that are dense and missing vital vitamins and minerals that our bodies need all because whatever company you’re ordering from needed to cut costs. Preservatives and the like fill our bodies simply because we’re doing what our bodies need to do…eat.

For a while, we felt kind of stuck. What are you supposed to do when the very things that you need in your life are the very things that are turning against you? It was then that I realized that I needed to turn back to my roots. Those very same frugal roots that I learned from my father all of those years ago. Those money saving ideas that he had taught me without even knowing that I was watching. We needed to simplify our lives and to go back to the basics.

Natural Chronic Pain Treatments

Since chemicals were apparently such a large problem for me, we needed to remove them. We started making our own homemade versions instead of buying them. It wasn’t just cleaners. We removed every chemical from our lives that we could. I would love to tell you that it was and has been easy but it hasn’t. It’s not easy to do. At this point in our lives though, we’ve managed to remove quite a few of them. We make our own homemade shampoo, homemade shave cream, homemade body wash and more. As we removed each bought item and replaced it with a homemade one, my pain lessened a bit more.

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We stopped eating out as often too. In its place were meals that may not have been the healthiest but they were at least made at home. We knew what ingredients were going into them and what wasn’t so while it didn’t help a ton, it did help some.

Eventually though I hit a wall.

I never expected that removing the chemicals from our life would completely “cure” my pain and stiffness and even though I would love to tell you that it did? It didn’t.

Natural Diabetes Treatments

Removing the chemicals from our lives worked but it did have its limits. I was still unable to do any strenuous activity and even daily tasks like grocery shopping would still cause my body to go into pain mode and I would be bed bound for days while I healed. Then I found out that I am diabetic which honestly just seemed like icing on a big fat “Congrats! You’re going to always be sick!” kind of cake.

It should be quite clear by now that I’m not going to run out and get on a chemical laden treatment. Because of that, Tom and I made a deal. He would leave me alone and let me try to manage it on my own…for 3 months. If, at the end of the 3 months, my glucose levels were still running high, I would agree to get on a conventional treatment. It seemed a pretty fair deal to me so I agreed.

To make a long story short, I won the deal. My glucose levels stay below normal and I’ve managed to do it without any chemical medications. Not only that?

The natural diabetes treatments I’m using also took care of any lingering chronic pain issues.

You heard me. I’m totally pain free (okay except for about 15 minutes in the mornings), my diabetes is under control, I’m sleeping better, my headaches are gone and best of all? I’m dropping pounds like crazy.

My Natural Treatments for Chronic Pain & Diabetes

Diet – Missing vital nutrients was causing me more issues that it was worth. I’m not following a diabetic diet. I suck at diets and know that I won’t stick to one. What I can stick to though is healthy eating. We eat a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits, I watch my sugar intake (but I don’t forbid it), and portion control plays a huge part. For the longest time, I ate off of a diabetic portion plate that literally lays out how much of each type of dish I should have. I don’t have to at this point, but it did make things much easier when we started.

Organic – Because we know that I am sensitive to most chemicals, I made the decision to buy organic whenever I could. Yes, this has jumped my grocery bill, but we haven’t noticed it in our budget since I am earning extra money to cover the cost.

Dandelion Root Tea – Yes, the same “weed” that grows in your front yard is in my tea cup. Dandelion Root Tea is known for it’s detoxing properties, specifically kidney and liver detox. Since I’ve had issues with my body storing chemicals that it shouldn’t, it made sense to me to add it to my routine. Aside from the detox properties, it has also been shown to regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol and stabilize high blood pressure and more.

As far as taste, it is a bitter tea that is very much like a cup of black coffee. I drank it straight once. Never again. I use the other drinks below with a little liquid Stevia to create a drink that I actually like. I drink 2 cups of this mixture twice a day at breakfast and dinner.

Tart Cherry Juice – Tart Cherry juice is fantastic for more reasons than one. First, it acts as a natural ibuprofen meaning that it fully handles any lingering pain or stiffness that I might be having. It works incredibly fast for that and actually? I prefer it to ibuprofen. In addition to the pain relieving properties, it also has been shown to help heal injured muscles and even to help rebuild them which after 8 years of inactivity? I desperately needed. On top of all of that, it also helps to reduce swelling and simulates melatonin so that you actually sleep better. Oh and did I mention it helps to fight fat and regulates metabolism?

I prefer to use a Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate. I add 2 tablespoons to each cup of tea. Since it does simulate melatonin, it did take a week or so before my body could handle it during the day. It will make you tired so if you don’t want to fight the sleepy, consider taking it at night.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar has long been touted for its health and beauty benefits and it is a must have in my routine. Not only does it help to reduce blood sugar, but it also helps to improve insulin sensitivity, helps you to feel more awake, lower cholesterol, helps you to lose weight, reduces swelling and so much more.

I only drink apple cider vinegar with the “mother.” Some studies have suggested that leaving the mother in the ACVis where the health benefits actually come from. ACV is much to acidic to drink straight so please don’t try. I add 1 tablespoon to my tea for 2 tablespoons each day.

Cranberry Juice – As I said earlier, dandelion root tea is bitter like black coffee. To combat that, I use cranberry juice or cranberry-pomegranate juice. Not only does this help it taste much better, but cranberry juice is detoxifying too helping to get rid of any toxins in my body that the tea doesn’t.

Fenugreek – Fenugreek is an herb that has shown to reduce and regulate blood sugars and more. I take two 500 mg tablets twice a day. Once with breakfast and once with lunch.

Evening Primrose Oil – One of the most devestating issues that has arisen from my body holding onto toxic chemicals is that I have fertility issues. To help combat that, I take Evening Primrose oil twice a day. Imagine my surprise though when I found out that it is also very likely helping me to keep the pain and stiffness away and is often looked at as a natural cure for rheumatoid arthritis. It can take 2-3 months to build up in your system enough to work on those symptoms though so just keep that in mind. I take 1500 mg per day in the form of three 500 mg tablets at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If you are pregnant, do not take evening primrose. It softens the cervix which means it could throw you into early labor.

Vitamin D – I work from home. I’m behind a desk each day. Needless to say? I don’t get enough Vitamin D and being deficient in Vitamin D can cause muscle and joint pain like you wouldn’t believe. To combat that, I take 5,000 i/u every day. Yes, I was told to take that much by my nutritionist.

Omega 3 – Omega 3 is found in fish oil and krill oil. Because I’m not a huge seafood fan and the majority of fish oils I’ve tried have a fishy taste or leave me burping it up, I chose to skip it. Instead, I take an Omega 3 supplement so that I don’t have to deal with the other issues from fish oil. It has been shown to help with rheumatoid arthritis so it was definitely going on my list.

Elderberry Syrup – “And your father smelt of elderberries!” As Monty Python taught us, you can indeed get drunk on elderberry syrup if you drink too much. Fortunately for me, its also fantastic for boosting your immune system. I take 1 tsp once a day to help keep things like colds and the flu away. If you’re not sure of the taste? It is faintly reminiscent of grape flavored Dimeatpp without the sickeningly sweet issue that has going for it.

Vitamin B Complex – As I said earlier, tart cherry can make you tired. To combat that, I take liquid Vitamin B-12 each day. It isn’t the greatest tasting, but it does the job.

Stinging Nettle Tea – Finally, before bed, I drink a cup of stinging nettle tea. Nettles have been shown to reduce stress, reduce and regulate blood sugars, help with arthritis, detox intestines and more. I like the flavor so I drink mine straight but my family thinks I’m crazy. It tastes like fresh cut grass smells. I know that’s a crazy way to describe it but that’s all I’ve got. If you’re pregnant, stinging nettle tea is safe to drink and actually good for you. It helps strengthen a fetus during pregnancy and it will help stimulate lactation for breastfeeding moms.

 

To make the tea that I drink:

  • Brew 1 roasted dandelion root tea bag in 6oz of water
  • Add 2 tablespoons Tart Cheerry Concentrate
  • Add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with the mother
  • Top off with cranberry or cranberry-pomegranate juice
  • Sweeten with liquid stevia to your tastes if needed.

 

Like I said in the beginning of this post, I know it was long. It needed to be though to explain everything. I can’t guarantee that this will work for you. I wish I could. All I can tell you is that once I hurt and I no longer do. Once my blood sugars ran rampant and now they no longer do. If nothing else, it’s worth discussing with your doctor.

 

I suffered from chronic joint pain, stiff muscles and more for 8 years of my life! Not anymore though! I'm pain free! See how I did it naturally! You never know! It might just work for you too!

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Stacy Barr
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Stacy Barr

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family. A true gypsy soul, her newest blog, Unsettled Hearts, chronicles the journey of her family to become full-time travelers. By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Her book, also called Six Dollar Family, has sold more than 7,000 copies since its release.

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Comments

  1. This all sounds great. Although I do have one question, that is what is “mother” when you’re adding 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar?

    • Yvonne, the Mother is a natural occurrence that happens when ACV is made. It has a spidery web sort of appearance. If it included in the bottle you get, it just means it isn’t filtered out. There’s some research that shows that including it boosts the benefits of ACV and/or that the majority of the health benefits come from the mother. Because of that, I figured it couldn’t hurt to make sure it gets included. 🙂

  2. I am a type 1 Diabetic so I don’t think this will cure my diabetes. I do know that watching your diet will make a huge difference with Type 2. But I do have a lot of the body pain you described, the past 5 -7 years it seems to travel to each of my joints. And I always seem to get it on both sides. I have thought about the chemicals and other things you have done. I will try the natural ingredients that you have listed and see how that helps. Thanks for the run down and keep up with your diet I know that will keep your Type 2 from flaring up.

    • Angela, the diabetes control was an “accidental” by product of the supplements that help with the pain and removing the chemicals. Yes I’ve done things to help control it (like adding flax to my diet) but that majority of the supplements were for pain control. They just also happen to have diabetic benefits too 🙂

  3. Hi I read that fenugreek causes body and urine odor. Have you experienced this side effect? I would love to get off of the chemicals that I am taking for my Type 2 Diabetes.

    • Hi Donna, I haven’t found any odor issues. My husband takes it as well and neither of us have noticed much.

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