How to check that you have eyestrain, not dry eyes:
a) When you experience the following symptoms
If you have any of the following symptoms, then you likely don't have the typical dry eye problem, but likely have EYESTRAIN.
- terrible eyepain EVEN WHEN YOU SHUT YOUR EYES (E.G. AT NIGHT)
- splitting soreness that doesn’t go away whether you are awake or asleep
- onset through deep and widespread sense of diffused pain
- severe, almost throbbing – but constant – pain in the temple
- chronic pain seemingly inside or behind the eyeballs
UNDESCRIBABLE NAUSEATING IRRITATION AND PRESSING
- a dragging sensation of irritation and abrasiveness
- nauseating irritation that seems to go all the way to the leg (nausea that makes standing up virtually impossible on many occasions)
- nauseas senstation that deeply exhausts.
- squeezing/ pressing/ pulling/ sensation of eyeballs
- grating of eyeballs with a grater
- eyeballs being rubbed with sand paper
- eyeballs being burning with a scalding iron
- heavy tired eyelids that feel totally exhausted when you squeeze/ blink
- clear sensation of EACH movement of eyelids when blinking
- glazed burning sensation (like a cool burning)
- photosensitivity (eyes burn when looking at a computer screen or TV or even while driving)
- scratchy sensation in the eyes
- stickiness of eyelids/ lid movement felt clearly (sticky/semi-painful) (without any discharge)
- sinking/ mucky feeling in eyeballs
- stabbing sensation in and around the eyeballs, particularly in the front
- sensation of being swollen
The point to note is that dry eyes do NOT cause the terrible chronic pain when you close your eyelids (particularly seemingly behind and around the eyeballs). The fact you are having disgusting, murky pain when you close your eyelids is almost certainly acute eyestrain. Eye specialists are particualarly gifted with the inability to detect eyestrain, so you must diagnose this yourself.
b) If you have been reading a LOT/ and watching computer screen/TV a lot
If you have undertaken excessive reading/ computer use.
c) If a large number of eye doctors either find your glands/cornea to be normal or only very slight dry eyes
The third critical clue is that most eye doctors you visit will suggest that (a) your eye glands appear to be normal, (b) there is no damage to corneal surface.
d) If you don't have sinusitis
In sum, if your eyeballs feel sore (not just the corneal surface), you have recently undetaken excessive computer use, and a number of eye doctors can't find anything seriously wrong with you, then you most likely have strained (a) eyeball muscles, (b) cheek muscles, (c) nose muscles, (d) eyelid muscles, and (e) neck muscles.
In such a case you are VERY LUCKY, for you CAN VERY RAPIDLY (in just a few months) resolve most of your pain. Just follow the following steps.
Step 1: Release cheek, nose and eyelid muscles [50 per cent of the cure]
[Updated on 5 Nov. 2013 and raised to No. 1 step, displacing the eyeball movement section to second place.] Most of the disgusting crunching/burning sensations noted above arise from non-eye muscles in the face. In particular, the muscles IN the nose and those connecting to the upper lip – these generally come together just outside the nose – are the MOST problematic of all.
These muscles are the MOST DIFFICULT to release, and in my case have taken nearly 18 months and are are not yet fully released. But relief is obtained within just a month, and the rest is mere repetition of the solution. Three key ways exist to release these muscles:
1) Crunch the face, then release. You will need to experiment. The most extreme crunches/streches are called for. Else there will be no effect.
2) Press very hard on the sore spots. If this is the cause of your pain (almost certainly in the case of computer overuse), you will find innumerable sore spots in and around your nose, upper lips, cheeks, forehead, and around the eyes. Press very hard on these muscles (if necessary, rub a bit). You might need to rub and strech at the same time. Try all possible combinations. You will hear all kinds of crunching sounds as you press/release/strecth. In my case this has taken over 18 months and still there are muscles which are not fully released.
3) Warm compress: Put a warm compress over the eyes/cheeks/nose, and pressing (quite!) hard wherever you experience any soreness. I find that at least 10 minutes is needed to achieve a positive effect.
A direct result of all this should be that your eyeball ROTATIONS should be much easier, and you should hear less CREAKING noises while rotating your eyeballs. This is a greatly neglected part of the eyestrain remedy and I discovered ENTIRELY it on my own, after many months. It is surprising how tight even NOSE muscles get during eye work.
Eye RSI builds up over many months/years of excessive computer work and won’t go away in a day. Delicate facial muscles are the most difficuilt to resolve. I'm still not 100 per cent OK. I get back many acute symptoms after focused work (including attending meetings in which I have to look at a particular person for an extended duration).
Eyestrain also behaves somewhat like heel pain - i.e. it is most troublesome in the early morning. Over the course of the day, particularly after a long walk at lunch time during which one streches/crunches the eyes, the eyes can get better as the muscles become more supple.
Step 2: Eyeball muscle release [40 per cent of the cure]
First understand how eyemuscles work (video below). Then exercise your eyemuscles, as detailed below
a) Do these eyeball movements. You must hear a creaking sound. That is the sound of eye muscles being released.
The following eye stretches are very useful (I tried recording a video to illustrate all these exercises, but that didn't work, so I may try it later)
1. Air massage with fingers [invented by me]
Bring the fingers close to the eyes (about 1 cm) and move them around slowly. Gaze gently through the fingers. You should feel a sensation (if you have tight muscles) – that is the sensation of eye muscles releasing.
2. Look inward and focus/unfocus at 20 cm in rapid random wide movements [invented by me]
Bring both eyes to look at something about 20 cm in front of you, and then unfocus.
You should feel a crunching sound (if your eye muscles are tight). Repeating this (in all kinds of angles/postures) will help.
2a. Look inward and focus/ unfocus/cross your eyes while working on the computer [invented by me]
Totally cross the eyes/ unfocus/ change focus and let the world become double/muddled up. Look close but “see” the distance. Look inward while seeing outward. A range of doubled up images is crucial. The periodic relaxation of the eyes during computer work is crucial.
2b. Focus at nose then into the distance
This exercise is typically found in most eyestrain websites. This is not really helpful unless you’ve done the earlier ones. However, once eye muscles have been somewhat loosened, this will help.
3. Hold a hard and strong gaze from the corner of the eyes [invented by me]
Gaze with eyes wide open from the corner of the eyes. Depending on which muscles are tight, you will feel pain/tightness. Keep gazing – hard and strong. Invent all variations possible. Do air massage while doing this. Hold to 30 seconds or even more. Don’t worry if you blink. Move the head up and down and try to find angles where you experience tightness/pain. I believe that upward motion of eye muscles is very important (i.e. gazing at the ceiling with the head straight ahead), since during computer work, eyes mostly look downwards.
4. Look ahead but see on the sides [extrapolated from information on the internet]
Go out into a large open space (e.g. scenery with trees/hills) and look ahead but don’t see ahead. See all around the centre. Think of a doughnut view with the centre not “visible”. You’ll get a “grand” view of everything. It will lead to some crunching sounds as eye muscles loosen up. The goal is to get a “whole-of-world” perspective. Everything is visible, including all extremeties of vision. That means that even though you are looking ahead, you don’t really see the details of what is ahead. Something like playing basketball, when you look in the front but know exactly where the basketball is when you bounce it below your hands.
4a. In a moving vehicle (e.g. bus) look straight ahead and watch sides of road go by [invented by me]
This is similar to No. 4. In this case the eyes must experience the sensation of BOTH sides of the road rushing behind the head, even as the head looks right ahead. This is a sensation to “see” from the corner of the eyes even while looking ahead.
5. Scrunch tightly and release [modified by me]
Scrunch with all your might. Let the entire face be strained. Hold as long as you can. Then release – suddenly. As many times as needed. Each (sudden) release should be accompanied by a deliberate command to eye muscles to “let go”. Imagine that your eyeballs are burning holes into your cheeks.
It is useful to scrunch one eye at a time, as well, to focus on one eye at a time.
6. Pull in the eyeballs, push out the eyeballs [invented by me]
This involves “sucking in” the eyes/ pushing out the eyesballs. I find this takes a lot of practice, but believe this has been pivotal in loosening up the muscles. Eyeballs must be as wide as possible while pushing them out.
6a. Pop out the eyeballs while squeezing eyeballs inwards with eye muscles.
Look out of the corner of the eye while doing this. Should hear a crunching noise as muscles release.
6b. Pull face downwards while popping eyes outward.
This will elongate the face and stretch eye muscles.
7. Be a cow [Cow mudra] Look not see [invented by me]
In this exercise you imagine you are a cow looking idly into the distance. Look but don't see. You should not be able to recognise any individual object (even person). Details here.
8. Rotate eyeballs in OPPOSITE direction [invented by me]
In this you look bring both eyes together to the centre, then take them outwards, and back again.
9. Rotate your eyeball inward, and then rotate it outward.
This is DIFFERENT to the usual yoga eye rotation. It involves shutting the eye, then rotating your eyeball towards the back, then front. Then do the other way.
10. Open eyelids very slowly and very slowly close them [from a website]
This one increases relaxation of eye muscles by very gently opening the eyelids (very, very gently), then very gently closing them.
11. The usual yoga eye exercises (rotate, etc.) [routine yoga exercises]
Rotate eyeballs/ rub hands and let heat go into eyes, etc. Note that these exercises will NOT work unless the basic ones above have been successfully completed. Close eyes and ask ONE eye, at a time to relax. When you feel total lightness in the eye, as if it were floating on a cloud, then you know the eye has been relaxed.
As the strain subsides, you will find that one eye is more painful than the other. That is because the less dominant eye undergoes greater strain than the dominant one. Details here. Almost certainly, you'll find that the eys on the bottom (behind) the eyeball are tighter in both eyes than the upper ones. That is because looking downwards contracts the bottom muscles. These therefore get much tighter.
Step 3: Release neck muscles [5 per cent of the cure]
It is possible (as happened in my case) that nerves which serve eye muscles are impacted by tight neck muscles. [See the history of this discovery.] With this release, pain levels should drop like a rock. Like any other RSI, however, the full release of extremely tight muscles can take years of exercise.
Step 4: Recover normal neck posture [3 per cent of the cure]
Now make sure that your neck posture is perfectly aligned and comfortable. In this regard, the following advice (from the Alexander technique) is very useful:
- Think of allowing the neck to be free.
- Allow the head to go forward and up.
- Allow the back to lengthen and widen.
I have found it useful to think of myself as a schoolchild in year one, wandering around the walk to school, stopping by little ponds, pausing to look at tadlpoles (like the cow mudra, described above). The goal is complete relaxation and natural walking and sitting. Good neck posture will look like the one on the right in the image below: a slight curve. Not stiff.
Step 5: Take significant quantities of Vitamin D [2 per cent of the cure]
I believe vitamin D deficiency might have something to do with this, as well. Most people with dark skin are vulnerable to Vitamin D deficiency since they work indoors. I've got Vitamin D deficiency, and just around the time I discovered that my problem was eyestrain, not dry eye, I started taking Vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is critically connected with muscle performance. I don't think supplements have helped, but I suggest if you have Vitamin D deficiency, that you take plenty of it as a supplement..
But what if you actually have dry eyes?
Given the overlap between eyestrain and dry eyes, I believe that dry eyes is probably caused by compression of nerves that feed eye-glands. This can be tested by trying out the exercises above. If they help, then your dry eyes is related to eye strain.
Note: if you DO have dry eyes you'll find a lot of resources on this blog, based on my 18 months of research/ struggle over 18 months, believing I had dry eyes. Some of this material might be useful.
YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN
Highly "qualified" ophthalmologists have simply no idea about the effects of excessive computer use on eyeball muscles. They mix up symptoms from eyestrain with symptoms of dry eyes or inflammation. The entire medical profession badly let me down on this issue. See this: http://sabhlokcity.com/2012/04/eye-problem-chapter-now-closed-despite-the-plethora-of-incompetent-doctors/.
I've wasted over $3000 and found the opthalmological profession to be incompetent in basic diagnostics. I was left to my own resources to find out the solution. (Worse, most doctors I saw did not even have a helpful or empathetic attitude. They were NOT interested in understanding my experienced symptoms). The profession displays TOTAL DISARRAY and TOTAL CONFUSION about dry eyes/ eyestrain. I was repeatedly prescribed medicines, when I needed an ENTIRELY NEW SET OF EYE AND OTHER EXERCISES. The medical profession doesn't have ANY useful understanding about eye strain/ dry eye. So you are on your own. Best of luck.
I have now found the solution myself through hard work, trial and error and considerable experimentation. One day, when time permits, I might write more extensively about the most miserable days of my life that are now increasingly behind me.
I don't have the time to describe the physiology or biokinetics of eyestrain here.
My experience highlights the ongoing need for critical thinking.
MOST DOCTORS ARE QUACKS! MY ONE LEARNING HAS BEEN THAT DOCTORS ARE 90 PER CENT LIKELY TO MAKE WRONG DIAGNOSIS. DO NOT TRUST DOCTORS. READ WIDELY. THINK. ANALYSE. NO ONE KNOWS YOUR BODY BETTER THAN YOU DO.
I also recommend that you consider REGULAR eye and other exercises (outlined above) if you undertaken extensive computer work. That will PREVENT the kind of eyestrain I managed to get.
Once ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So PREVENT. Exercise, stretch, rotate relevant muscles.
I chanced upon this post at EyeSmart.
The question was:
My teenager is experiencing eye pain when watching TV, using the computer monitor, and playing video games. When he is not doing these activities his eye is not in pain. What could be wrong?
The answer Richard G. Shugarman, MD gave was
Your teenager is spending too much time at these activities. It would be helpful to have him blink his eyes during these activities and focus at a distance for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes of activity. Your child may have dry eyes, convergence insufficiency, or another condition, but these are not harmful or fatal. Send him out to play ball, swim, or hike or anything that does not require lots of near work, as this is the only time these things bother him. If you can't change your child's habits, see an Eye M.D. for treatment.
This is a WRONG answer.
The correct answer is that the teenager's eyeball muscles have gotten cramped and strained, and he requires significant eye exercises.
This blog post contains my notes from the internet. The final list of exercises that I do use, has been mentioned in the main blog post, above.
This turns out to be an important field of knowledge for those who work extensively on computers and read a lot of books (e.g. a person like me). This blog post will compile all relevant information I find on the internet on this topic, with the aim of summarising key insights in due course (after testing them).
I bought exercises for $10 from here: http://www.instant-sitting-pain-relief.com/computer-eye-strain-headaches/computer-eye-strain-headaches-migraine-jaw-pain.html
and these are quite good.
This hypnosis idea is a good one, for it does relax the upper eyelid muscle, and hence, through that process, the rest of the eye muscles.
This is an important article: http://realtaiji.com/5-taiji-eye-exercises-to-help-you-see/
Probably the best I've come across so far: http://www.edurite.com/kbase/how-to-relax-eye-muscles
(need to read and understand it more carefully)
THIS IS GOOD!
Tromboning – You need to hold a small object, starting at arm's length. Then you have to breathe in and move the object slowly closer to your face, until it touches your nose. You are then required to breathe out, looking at the object as you again move it away from your face. [Source] (I find that taking the finger "sausage" from arms length to nose/ and back is very relaxing for eye muscles).
Don’t focus or stare; just gaze softly into the visual field. Whenever sight collapses down to a particular object, relax and gently let your peripheral vision widen again to include the whole visual field. [Source]
Do not stare at an object, sketch it as if your nose was an invisible pencil. [Source]
Shuttling the O [SOURCE]
The technique is called "Shuttling the O", and has been found to relieve pain, increase blood flow circulation to the eye, and clearing the eye of debris. here is how the technique is done:
Close your eyes, and visualize a big black round O.
On the left side of the curve, put a black dot; on the right curve put another black dot.
Point your nose from one dot to another, from side to side, until the "O" seems to shuttle out of the way as you go from one dot to another.
GAZE AT A FLAME
. Keep the flame on a reasonable height in the front of the eyes. It should be at a distance of about three feet. In the first, stage gaze at the flame without winking for sometimes. Then close the eyes gently. Open the eyes again and try to gaze at the fame for a longer period now. Finally close the eyes and stay at rest with closed eyes. Continue this practice for one week daily for five to seven minutes. In second stage gaze at the flame as long as the eyes are not filled with water. Then close the eyes gently. Open the eyes and gaze at the flame as before. Continue this practice for the second week for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Don't push it too far. If you need to blink your eyes a little, do so. I did it lots of time and I still have 20/20 vision. Once your body starts to present 'pleasantness' in some form, then either switch to noting or your vipassana practice, OR if jhana territory is the aim, then shift your attention to the pleasantness within the body and make it fullbodied by expanding that awareness panoramically filling up the whole mind/body with such pleasantness. Don't worry about the afterimage. I hardly ever focused on it and it always disappeared after a few minutes. I shifted all focus to 'pleasantness' manifesting in the body due to concentrating the mind. Experiment! [Source]
Generally similar eye exercise hints
http://www.visionworksusa.com/computereyestrain.htm THIS IS GOOD.
This is well done: http://www.totemdog.com/eyesite/index.html
Close your eyes and concentrate completely on the muscles around your eyes. Tell yourself that you are in full charge of your eye muscles.
Imagine that your eye muscles are so relaxed and heavy, you can't open them. As you practice increasing your focus and you enter a state of self hypnosis, you'll actually find it difficult to open your eyes.
Practice relaxing your eye muscles for a few minutes, and then allow your eyes to slowly open. Continue to breathe deeply as you continue to relax the other muscle groups of your body. [Source]
Much less useful
http://www.eyecollege.com/productpurchase.asp (this is too expensive, and not sure it works)
This (above) video is not bad. In particular it asserts (correctly) that eye muscles are controlled BY THE NECK. That is a key point.
Let your mind think about pleasant things such as people, places, or things that bring you joy. Thinking pleasant thoughts helps relax the eyes which make them softer. The softer the eyes are the more easily they fit into their sockets. When the eyes are relaxed, they don’t stare or strain. [Source]
The above are not exercises but acupressure things and I DON'T THINK THEY WORK. THEY HAVE NO DIRECT EFFECT ON EYE MUSCLES.
General relaxation (not related much to the eyes)
Not particularly useful:
In DED, the eye can be white and quiet despite an inflamed tear film. Elevated levels of MMP-9, especially in the setting of artificial tears’ not being effective, confirms the diagnosis of DED and should trigger the use of antiinflammatory therapies such as cyclosporine. [Source]
A negative InflammaDry test suggests a noninflammatory cause of DED.
From an email I received
20 Painkillers in Your Kitchen
Make muscle pain a memory with ginger
When Danish researchers asked achy people to jazz up their diets with ginger, it eased muscle and joint pain, swelling and stiffness for up to 63 percent of them within two months. Experts credit ginger’s potent compounds called gingerols, which prevent the production of pain-triggering hormones. The study-recommended dose: Add at least 1 teaspoon of dried ginger or 2 teaspoons of chopped ginger to meals daily.
Cure a toothache with cloves
Got a toothache and can’t get to the dentist? Gently chewing on a clove can ease tooth pain and gum inflammation for two hours straight, say UCLA researchers. Experts point to a natural compound in cloves called eugenol, a powerful, natural anesthetic. Bonus: Sprinkling a ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves on meals daily may also protect your ticker. Scientists say this simple action helps stabilize blood sugar, plus dampen production of artery-clogging cholesterol in as little as three weeks.
Heal heartburn with cider vinegar
Sip 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 ounces of water before every meal, and experts say you could shut down painful bouts of heartburn in as little as 24 hours. “Cider vinegar is rich in malic and tartaric acids, powerful digestive aids that speed the breakdown of fats and proteins so your stomach can empty quickly, before food washes up into the esophagus, triggering heartburn pain,” explains Joseph Brasco, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Center for Colon and Digestive Diseases in Huntsville, AL.
Erase earaches with garlic
Painful ear infections drive millions of Americans to doctors’ offices every year. To cure one fast, just place two drops of warm garlic oil into your aching ear twice daily for five days. This simple treatment can clear up ear infections faster than prescription meds, say experts at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Scientists say garlic’s active ingredients (germanium, selenium, and sulfur compounds) are naturally toxic to dozens of different pain-causing bacteria. To whip up your own garlic oil gently simmer three cloves of crushed garlic in a half a cup of extra virgin olive oil for two minutes, strain, then refrigerate for up to two weeks, suggests Teresa Graedon, Ph.D., co-author of the book, Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy. For an optimal experience, warm this mix slightly before using so the liquid will feel soothing in your ear canal.
Chase away joint and headache pain with cherries
Latest studies show that at least one in four women is struggling with arthritis, gout or chronic headaches. If you’re one of them, a daily bowl of cherries could ease your ache, without the stomach upset so often triggered by today’s painkillers, say researchers at East Lansing ’s Michigan State University . Their research reveals that anthocyanins, the compounds that give cherries their brilliant red color, are anti-inflammatories 10 times stronger than ibuprofen and aspirin. “Anthocyanins help shut down the powerful enzymes that kick-start tissue inflammation, so they can prevent, as well as treat, many different kinds of pain,” explains Muraleedharan Nair, Ph.D., professor of food science at Michigan State University . His advice: Enjoy 20 cherries (fresh, frozen or dried) daily, then continue until your pain disappears.
Fight tummy troubles with fish
Indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases…if your belly always seems to be in an uproar, try munching 18 ounces of fish weekly to ease your misery. Repeated studies show that the fatty acids in fish, called EPA and DHA, can significantly reduce intestinal inflammation, cramping and belly pain and, in some cases, provide as much relief as corticosteroids and other prescription meds. “EPA and DHA are powerful, natural, side effect-free anti-inflammatories, that can dramatically improve the function of the entire gastrointestinal tract,” explains biological chemist Barry Sears, Ph.D., president of the Inflammation Research Foundation in Marblehead , MA . For best results, look for oily fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, trout and herring.
Prevent PMS with yogurt
Up to 80 percent of women will struggle with premenstrual syndrome and its uncomfortable symptoms, report Yale researchers. The reason: Their nervous systems are sensitive to the ups and downs in estrogen and progesterone that occur naturally every month. But snacking on 2 cups of yogurt a day can slash these symptoms by 48 percent, say researchers at New York ’s Columbia University. “Yogurt is rich in calcium, a mineral that naturally calms the nervous system, preventing painful symptoms even when hormones are in flux,” explains Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a professor of gynecology at Yale University.
Tame chronic pain with turmeric
Studies show turmeric, a popular East Indian spice, is actually three times more effective at easing pain than aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen, plus it can help relieve chronic pain for 50 percent of people struggling with arthritis and even fibromyalgia, according to Cornell researchers. That’s because turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, naturally shuts down cyclooxygenase 2, an enzyme that churns out a stream of pain-producing hormones, explains nutrition researcher Julian Whitaker, M.D. and author of the book,Reversing Diabetes. The study-recommended dose: Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of this spice daily onto any rice, poultry, meat or vegetable dish.
End endometrial pain with oats
The ticket to soothing endometriosis pain could be a daily bowl of oatmeal. Endometriosis occurs when little bits of the uterine lining detach and grow outside of the uterus. Experts say these migrating cells can turn menstruation into a misery, causing so much inflammation that they trigger severe cramping during your period, plus a heavy ache that drags on all month long. Fortunately, scientists say opting for a diet rich in oats can help reduce endometrial pain for up to 60 percent of women within six months. That’s because oats don’t contain gluten, a trouble-making protein that triggers inflammation in many women, making endometriosis difficult to bear, explains Peter Green, M.D., professor of medicine at Colombia University .
Soothe foot pain with salt
Experts say at least six million Americans develop painful ingrown toenails each year. But regularly soaking ingrown nails in warm salt water baths can cure these painful infections within four days, say scientists at California ’s Stanford University . The salt in the mix naturally nixes inflammation, plus it’s anti-bacterial, so it quickly destroys the germs that cause swelling and pain. Just mix 1 teaspoon of salt into each cup of water, heat to the warmest temperature that you can comfortably stand, and then soak the affected foot area for 20 minutes twice daily, until your infection subsides.
Prevent digestive upsets with pineapple
Got gas? One cup of fresh pineapple daily can cut painful bloating within 72 hours, say researchers at California ’s Stanford University . That's because pineapple is natually packed with proteolytic enzymes, digestive aids that help speed the breakdown of pain-causing proteins in the stomach and small intestine, say USDA researchers.
Relax painful muscles with peppermint
Suffering from tight, sore muscles? Stubborn knots can hang around for months if they aren’t properly treated, says naturopath Mark Stengler, N.D., author of the book, The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies. His advice: Three times each week, soak in a warm tub scented with 10 drops of peppermint oil. The warm water will relax your muscles, while the peppermint oil will naturally soothe your nerves — a combo that can ease muscle cramping 25 percent more effectively than over-the-counter painkillers, and cut the frequency of future flare-ups in half, says Stengler.
Give your back some TLC with grapes
Got an achy back? Grapes could be the ticket to a speedy recovery. Recent studies at Ohio State University suggest eating a heaping cup of grapes daily can relax tight blood vessels, significantly improving blood flow to damaged back tissues (and often within three hours of enjoying the first bowl). That’s great news because your back’s vertebrae and shock-absorbing discs are completely dependent on nearby blood vessels to bring them healing nutrients and oxygen, so improving blood flow is essential for healing damaged back tissue, says Stengler.
Wash away pain injuries with water
Whether it’s your feet, your knees or your shoulders that are throbbing, experts at New York ’s Manhattan College , say you could kick-start your recovery in one week just by drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Why? Experts say water dilutes, and then helps flush out, histamine, a pain-triggering compound produced by injured tissues. “Plus water is a key building block of the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones, your joints’ lubricating fluid, and the soft discs in your spine,” adds Susan M. Kleiner, Ph.D., author of the book, The Good Mood Diet. “And when these tissues are well-hydrated, they can move and glide over each other without causing pain.” One caveat: Be sure to measure your drinking glasses to find out how large they really are before you start sipping, she says. Today’s juice glasses often hold more than 12 ounces, which means five servings could be enough to meet your daily goal.
Heal sinus problems with horseradish
Latest studies show sinusitis is the nation’s number one chronic health problem. And this condition doesn’t just spur congestion and facial pain, it also makes sufferers six times more likely to feel achy all-over. Horseradish to the rescue! According to German researchers, this eye-watering condiment naturally revs up blood flow to the sinus cavities, helping to open and drain clogged sinuses and heal sinus infections more quickly than decongestant sprays do. The study-recommended dose: One teaspoon twice daily (either on its own, or used as a sandwich or meat topping) until symptoms clear.
Beat bladder infections with blueberries
Eating 1 cup of blueberries daily, whether you opt for them fresh, frozen or in juice form, can cut your risk of a urinary tract infection (UTIs) by 60 percent, according to researchers at New Jersey’s Rutgers University. That's because blueberries are loaded with tannins, plant compounds that wrap around problem-causing bacteria in the bladder, so they can’t get a toehold and create an infection, explains Amy Howell, Ph.D. a scientist at Rutgers University .
Heal mouth sores with honey
Dab painful canker and cold sores with unpasteurized honey four times daily until these skin woes disappear, and they’ll heal 43 percent faster than if you use a prescription cream, say researchers at the Dubai Specialized Medical Center in the United Arab Emirates . Raw honey’s natural enzymes zap inflammation, destroy invading viruses and speed the healing of damaged tissues, say the study authors.
Fight breast pain with flax
In one recent study, adding 3 tablespoons of ground flax to their daily diet eased breast soreness for one in three women within 12 weeks. Scientists credit flax’s phytoestrogens, natural plant compounds that prevent the estrogen spikes that can trigger breast pain. More good news: You don’t have to be a master baker to sneak this healthy seed into your diet. Just sprinkle ground flax on oatmeal, yogurt, applesauce or add it to smoothies and veggie dips.
Cure migraines with coffee
Prone to migraines? Try muscling-up your painkiller with a coffee chaser. Whatever over-the-counter pain med you prefer, researchers at the National Headache Foundation say washing it down with a strong 12- ounce cup of coffee will boost the effectiveness of your medication by 40 percent or more. Experts say caffeine stimulates the stomach lining to absorb painkillers more quickly and more effectively.
Tame leg cramps with tomato juice
At least one in five people regularly struggle with leg cramps. The culprit? Potassium deficiencies, which occur when this mineral is flushed out by diuretics, caffeinated beverages or heavy perspiration during exercise. But sip 10 ounces of potassium-rich tomato juice daily and you'll not only speed your recovery, you'll reduce your risk of painful cramp flare-ups in as little as 10 days, say UCLA researchers.
This will improve blood circulation in and around the eyes.
Pressure points are located in areas such as the web between the thumb and forefinger, the temples, the back corners of the eyes and the middle of the eyebrows. Let's get into the habit of pressure point massages about twice a day, once during the day and once at night. [Source]
Many hundreds of plants contain well known anti-inflammatory agents. Many herbs also possess anti-inflammatory (also known as antiphlogistic) characteristics. Herbs can be used as the sole therapy in autoimmune disease or as complementary corticosteroid-sparing therapies allowing patients to take smaller doses or shorter courses of corticosteroids. [Source]
There are many other herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties. I suspect that many plant based foods have anti-inflammatory effects whether we know it or not, which is one reason why a diet rich in fruits & vegetables is generally beneficial for health. [Source]
Nonstarchy and low-starch vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and salad greens, contain several anti-inflammatory nutrients. First, their antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, which promote inflammation. Second, greens are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, the basic building block of omega-3 fatty acids. Thirds, greens also contain small amounts of GLA, which enhances the anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 fatty acids.
Cruciferous vegetables. These veggies, which include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale, are also loaded with antioxidants. But they provide one other ingredient — sulfur — that the body needs to make its own high-powered antioxidants. [Source]
Greens are chock full of magnesium a nutrient that most of us are typically deficient in anyways, eating as many servings of green vegetables daily as possible will serve you well. A diet of brown rice, vegetables, lean meats, non-citrus fruits, water and green tea is the ultimate goal to work towards. [Source]
Eating such things is good, more generally: it can reduce heart disease risk, keep existing cardiac problems in check, reduce blood triglyceridesand blood pressure, and soothe tender and stiff arthritic joints. [Source]
My favorite anti-inflammatory food is BLUEBERRIES
I prescribe one cup of frozen blueberries daily to all my patients with inflammation, heart disease, or diabetes. Most people are happy to add such a delicious food in to their diet, but occasionally I will have a patient balk at the cost of eating so many blueberries each month.If you are already taking medications or other supplements, you are clearly paying quite a bit for your health already so adding a superfood in like blueberries is well worth the $30 a month. You could buy a bottle of some herbal product for that same price, or you could just enjoy eating blueberries.
Blueberries are highly anti-inflammatory and their proanthocyanin behavior is fundamentally protective to our cardiovascular system.
In my opinion there is not a more delicious, advantageous way to improve your health than by eating a cup of frozen blueberries a day.
I like to enjoy them as an evening snack, and let them sit out and thaw about 20 minutes before eating.
You can also add them to smoothies or your morning cereal.
Cooking them does not destroy their important pigments, and the freezing process actually makes these proanthocyanins more bioavailable for absorption. A rare exception to the rule that fresh is best! [Source]
A study in the April 2006 Journal of Nutrition showed that eating cherries daily can significantly reduce inflammation. Cherries are also packed with antioxidants and relatively low
on the glycemic index. Tip: Frozen cherries are available all year long and make a tasty dessert with a little yogurt or cheese. [Source]
Ginger root, another common spice, also contains a number of scientifically proven pain relieving agents. Ginger contains a protein-digesting enzyme called zingibain, which appears to relieve arthritis pain by reducing inflammation. In fact, the anti-inflammatory activity of ginger compares favorably with aspirin. Ginger root is also rich in two groups of compounds known as the shaogals and gingerols. These compounds are powerfully antioxidant, thus helping to prevent cells from premature destruction due to exposure to environmental toxins and by-products of metabolism. Even more, these compounds are potent anti-inflammatory agents, and are proven to relieve inflammation throughout the body. Given that oxidation and inflammation are part and parcel of all chronic degenerative diseases, ginger can play a key role in disease risk reduction. [Source]
Take one to two capsules (500 to 1,000 mg) twice a day with food. You can also use ginger liberally in foods or make fresh ginger tea. Here too, you will need to be patient for the benefits to show. [Source]
One of the very most effective and potent natural anti-inflammatory agents is curcumin, derived from turmeric root. Turmeric is a yellow spice native to Asia, widely enjoyed as both a food and a dye. Turmeric is the yellow in curry powder, and curcumin is a resinous compound found in turmeric root. Extensively well studied for its anti-inflammatory powers, curcumin is scientifically proven to be highly effective at relieving pain, and very safe. Like the NSAID’s, curcumin inhibits COX2. But unlike the NSAID’s, it does not do so selectively. Instead, curcumin also affects the activity of other key factors in inflammation, including NF-kappaB, PPAR Gamma transcription factors, and 5-LOX. By inhibiting the activity of all these aspects of inflammation, curcumin delivers far superior anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving activity than most drugs.[Source]
Turmeric is a great herbal remedy for inflammation, including arthritis, tendonitis & auto-immune disorders. Take 400 to 600 milligrams of turmeric extracts (available in tablets or capsules) three times per day. Whole turmeric is best. It may take two months for good effect so be patient. Oh, curry mixtures usually contain a good amount of turmeric so feel free to have lots of curried dishes if you prefer. [Source]
Curcuma longa (Turmeric): This Indian spice comes from the roots of Curcuma longa and contains diferuloyl methane (curcumin), demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin–all of which are known as curcuminoids.15 Curcumin (the lipid-soluble component in turmeric)16 has been shown to exert an anti-inflammatory activity in several clinical studies, due in part to the inhibition of COX-2 enzyme15,17-20 and iNOS.20 In particular, the inhibition of COX-2 was significant in colon cancer cells, which makes curcumin important as a colon cancer preventive agent,17,19 since the COX-2 enzyme plays a key function in the progression of this disease.21,22 The inhibition of the COX-2 enzyme is achieved by suppressing the activation of NF-kB, a eukaryotic transcription factor.18 Curcumin has also been shown to have an effect on the release of inflammatory mediators (eg, eicosanoids), which may further explain its role as an anti -inflammatory agent.23 However, the water-soluble portion of turmeric that contains turmerin does not have an anti-inflammatory effect,16 although it has been shown to have antidepressant effects that may be due to monoamine oxidase inhibition in the brain.24 According to Commission E in Germany (the German authority on evaluating herbal preparations), the recommended dose is 1.5 to 3 g of cut root daily; preparations of Curcuma longa are infusion powders, tinctures (1:5), and fluid extracts.13 The use of curcumin is contraindicated in bile duct obstruction because it enhances the secretion of bile.14
the common spice rosemary, also demonstrate powerful anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving properties. [Source]
Amazon bark cats’ claw
Devils claw is dual use: one of the better pain-relieving & anti inflammatory herbs. Devil’s claw is especially useful for arthritis. [Source]
Hops, for example, an herb used in beer brewing, contains a group of compounds called the humulones, which are being studied for their significant pain-relieving properties.
Omega-3 fatty acids
In canola, flax seed, pumpkin seed
, the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish (particularly cold water species, such as salmon), flaxseed, and leafy green vegetables. The body converts the fatty acids in these foods into more potent pro- and anti inflammatory prostaglandins. [Source]
The resin secreted by the guggul tree are found to have anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering effects comparable to commercial drugs such as ibuprofen, a type of NSAID, and clofibrate, a drug used for reducing serum cholesterol, in some studies. It may also be useful in relieving pains due to fibromyalgia and rheumatism.
Guggul can be found in their raw forms as gums and resins, and in powder, capsules and tablets. As with any other medicinal herb, consult a knowledgeable herbalist or physician before self-medicating. [Source]
Holy basil oil
Holy basil oil is found to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and other medicinal properties that are effective against arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol, peptic ulcers as well as chemotherapy and radiation poisoning.[Source]
neem oil is used in Ayurvedic medicine to calm inflammatory skin conditions, joint pains and muscle aches. Extracts of neem leaves and seeds have also demonstrated anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-diabetic and anti-viral properties in various studies.
All parts of this amazing tree can be used. Neem shoots and flowers are eaten as vegetables in India, while the leaves are added to foods as a spice to impart a unique bitter flavor. Neem oil can also be applied topically to treat skin irritations, and sprayed on plants to control pests.[Source]
the sweet root of this plant is commonly used to make candies. Healing-wise, the strong anti-inflammatory compounds found in licorice root have been found to be effective against coughs, colds, mouth ulcers, peptic ulcers and even chronic hepatitis infection.
Licorice is available as chopped roots, which can be brewed as tea, and also in powder and capsule forms.[Source]
Licorice root is an effective, natural anti-inflammatory herb root. Note that long-term use can raise blood pressure and lead to potassium loss. Dose is one-eighth to one-quarter teaspoon of extract up to three times daily. [Source]
Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice): The roots of Glycyrrhiza glabra contain glycyrrhizin, a compound with anti-inflammatory activity.29 The aglycone, b-glycyrrhetinic acid, may cause this action of glycyrrhizin.29 Glycyrrhizic acid, another major constituent in licorice, also has anti-inflammatory activity.30 Glycyrrhizin, in addition to having anti-inflammatory actions, may act also as a chemoprotective agent against tumors.31 The dose of licorice is 5 to 15 g daily of cut or powdered roots and should contain 200 to 600 mg of glycyrrhizin.13 Licorice use is contraindicated in patients with high blood pressure, cardiac diseases, or liver cirrhosis.14
having powerful anti-inflammatory properties, is specific for treating arthritic and rheumatic conditions
Eye problems: A combination of root powder of Ashwagandha, fruit powder of amalaki and cardamom with sugar or honey taken daily ensures visual acuity. It can be taken to preserve or promote eyesight. [Source]
Arnica is one of those herbs that are only used externally. Its also one of the few herbs to have gained official recognition from the medical establishment. The UK authorities recently granted a license to the manufacturers of Arnica Gel, which is used on bruises and sprains. [Source]
Arnica is a widely used herbal remedy for inflammation in addition to a salve for bruises & sprains. Use as directed. [Source]
Arnica montana (Arnica): This herb is commonly used for treating bruises and swelling, although several clinical trials cast doubt on its efficacy.34-36 The presence of sesquiterpene lactones, such as helenalin and dihydrohelenalin, in arnica provides this herb with anti-inflammatory properties.37 This is attributed to inhibition of the activation of transcription factors NF-kB and NF-AT.38 Helenalin, the most active lactone, exerts its anti-inflammatory effect by inhibiting the activation of transcription factor NF-kB, which is responsible for the transcription of genes involved in encoding mediators for the inflammatory process.37,39 Helenalin was also found to possess some cytotoxic effects against small cell carcinoma of the lung and colorectal cancer cells in cell culture studies.40 The recommended doses are 2 g of herb/100 mL for the aqueous infusion, one part herb and five parts fatty oil for the oil, and for the ointment, not more than 15% of oil.13 Sesquiterpene lactones may cause contact or allergic dermatitis when applied externally.14 The internal use of arnica is not recommended due to its toxicity on major organs such as the kidneys and the liver.14
Some people think of it as a weed, whereas it reminds others of a childhood spent outside playing in the grass. For herbologists though, Dandelion is a powerful remedy that has been registered as a drug in Canada. [Source]
Dong Quai is another star of Chinese traditional medicine. True to the principles of Oriental herbology, it has a balancing effect on the entire body and is more of a holistic remedy for the female body than a specific cure. [Source]
Goldenseal was originally used by Native Americans for skin disorders, digestive complaints and even as a cancer remedy. In more modern times, Goldenseal has gained in popularity and has been used for wound healing and many types of infection, as well as a powerful anti-fungal agent. [Source]
Gotu Kola is a staple of Indian Ayurvedic medicine, where it taken as a tea during meditation practices to increase psychic sensitivity and achieve a higher state of spiritual being. It is also a tremendous natural source of vitamins and minerals, and a useful anti-inflammatory. [Source]
Although raspberries are consumed throughout the world, raspberry leaf is one of those herbal remedies that not many people have heard of. That's probably because it has a very narrow focus – 90% of the time it is used by pregnant women. [Source]
It does have other benefits though – as an anti-inflammatory and for ailments including stomach upsets and throat infections.
Similar in its effects to Maitake, the Reishi mushroom is a powerful immune system booster that has been used to treat cancer and relieve the symptoms of chemotherapy. Its Chinese name, ‘lingzhi’, literally translates to ‘herb of immortality’. Unlike Maitake however, it also has beneficial effects on blood pressure, cholesterol and respiratory conditions. The best thing about Reishi though, is that it has no known side effects! [Source]
See my blog post.
is a good natural anti inflammatory remedy especially for conditions like fibromyalgia. The dosage is two capsules twice a day or follow the product label.[Source]
is an anti-inflammatory enzyme. Bromelain is found in pineapple so eat lots of fresh pineapple. You can also buy pleasant tasting, chewable bromelain tablets. [Source]
contains an enzyme that has anti inflammatory effects. Here too you can simply chew on good tasting tablets several times daily. [Source]
St. John's wort
is better known for its antidepressant effect but also an herbal remedy for inflammation. Follow label directions. [Source]
White willow bark
is also anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving. Use supplement as directed. [Source]
Salix alba (White Willow): The role of salicylates in inflammation and pain management is well documented in medicine.2 The bark of this plant contains salicin.32 Following oral administration of salicin, it was found in serum mainly in the form of salicylic acid.33 After an oral dose (240 mg) was given to healthy volunteers, the Tmax was less than two hours and Cmax was 1.2 mg/L, respectively.33 Salicylic acid is eliminated in urine as salicyluric acid.33 A daily dose equivalent to 60 to 120 mg of salicin is recommended by the German Commission E.13 Willow use can trigger an allergic response in individuals sensitive to willow or to aspirin.14
Matricaria recutita (German Chamomile): The dried flowers of this plant are commonly used for their sedative and spasmolytic properties.7 In addition, chamomile possesses anti-inflammatory activities.8 Matricaria contains several flavones (ie, polyphenolic pigments of some plants),9 namely, apigenin,7,10 luteolin, and matricine.8 When applied topically, the flavonoids were found to penetrate intact skin deeply to exert an anti-inflammatory effect.10 Evidence suggests that apigenin may generally inhibit cytokine-induced gene expression.11 Matricine does not have anti-inflammatory activity. However, chamazulene, a transformation product of matricine, was found to possess anti-inflammatory properties.8 Compared to a hydrocortisone 1% cream, the anti-inflammatory effect of a chamomile cream was weaker.12 The recommended dose of Matricaria recutita flowers is 3 g three times daily; Matricaria is available as an infusion, a fluid extract, and a tincture (1:5).13 Allergic hypersensitivity to this herb may occur in rare cases, and the herb can irritate the eyes if applied near them.14
distillate of Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Echinacoside in Echinacea species (echinacea), a caffeoyl derivative, is thought to be responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity in these species.
Ananas comosus (pineapple) contains bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory effects.
More natural anti inflammatory herbs & spices
* Black Pepper
This is NOT yet an experiment. Just prelim research.
Kewra flowers have medicinal properties:
However, this says that the oil should be kept out of the eyes.
If warm compress helps a bi (because of its effect on mebomian glands) and if vicks vaporub helps ezcema (an allergic issue), how about combining the two through a steam inhalation of vicks vaporub?
I tried this idea today (a towel over a hot water bowl containing a tiny bit of vicks), with rapidly blinking eyes, to allow steam to enter the eyes (but not to boil them). Seemed to feel a little better at the end of the experiment. Might do more of it in due course.
Some research from the internet on this issue
Facial sauna http://www.binglee.com.au/sanitas-sfs40-facial-sauna
See this for a dry eyes patient who uses such a thing: http://www.dryeyezone.com/talk/archive/index.php/t-7881.html?s=b81955275c59b6e0ebcb9697fa3bab68
I'm lucky to have a massage table with a face-hole at one end that makes it possible to breath through it while lying on the bed face down. Today I boiled a big pot of water and put it on the floor right under the massage table, exactly beneath the area where the hole is located, and I lied on the table with my face inside the hole looking down straight into the pot.
Stand near a kettle
I usually stand near the kettle when making my morning coffee to get the benefit of the steam [ibid]
Vicks brand steamer
I know someone who uses a Vicks brand steamer. You can get them as a facial-type steamer or the type that is used for the lungs if you have a cold, sinus troubles, or allergies, for example. [ibid]
Air-O-Swiss® Ultrasonic Humidifier
other humidifiers: http://www.buyhumidifiers.co.uk/steam-humidifiers.
Chronic inflammation is strongly linked to retinal degeneration, dry eye syndrome, cardiovascular disease, many cancers, and Alzheimer's. The chemical properties in Turmeric act as powerful anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, anti-angiogenics, and surgical wound healing accelerators. [Source]
Turmeric has long been used for its digestive, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. The primary compounds to which turmeric's benefits are attributed are curcuminoids and volatile oils,
Anti-inflammatory agents in turmeric may be useful in relieving symptoms associated with rheumatic conditions, according to NIH. Turmeric is sometimes used as part of the course of treatment for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It may help with the pain and loss of mobility from these conditions. Turmeric may also be useful for treating uveitis, a form of eye inflammation, states UMMC.
Turmeric is an herb that contains curcumin, the active ingredient that may have medicinal properties. The herb or turmeric extract cannot treat dry eye, but the curcumin component of turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that could help reduce inflammation associated with dry eye. If you have inflammation, you may wish to talk with your doctor about the potential benefits of using turmeric to reduce the severity of your symptoms.
studies seem to indicate turmeric is a safe COX-2 inhibitor. Turmeric also inhibits a number of other molecules that cause inflammation such as leukotrienes. Studies have shown not only anti-inflammatory but also possible antiviral and anti-fungal properties of curcuminoids, the active compound in turmeric. [Source]
Curcumin, just like other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), has been shown to inhibit the pro-inflammatory enzymes, cyclooxygenase (COX-2), and lipoxygenase (LOX-4). However, Curcumin does not interfere with the cyclooxygenase (COX-1) enzymes that protect the mucosal lining of the stomach, as do the NSAIDs like Motrin and Advil, therefore it is a far safer anti-inflammatory choice. [Source]
Curcumin induces appropriate cellular apoptosis (normal cell death) which prevents the inflammation associated with cellular necrosis.
About 3 weeks ago, I started taking Turmeric (450 mg – twice a day) and I have not had a bad dry eye day since! [Source]
tumeric juice a super yummy ayurvedic drink to help your liver, support immune system.
5 pieces of fresh tumeric root, washed
2 tablespoons honey or sweetner of your choice
put the tumeric root, and the the lemon through your juicer, you can put the pulp back a second and maybe even a third time to get all the goodness out
leave the juicer running and pour about 1/2 cup warm water through.
mix the honey or sweetner in. if you dont want to use a concentrated sweetner, swap the lemon for an orange (it wont be as medicinal, but it will be sweeter…)
top up with 1-2 cups cold water and store in fridge