Natural health: Is there an alternative to paracetamol?

Q1. I use paracetamol to treat ongoing back pain. However, I've started to get UTIs and would like to find an alternative form of pain relief. What would you recommend?
Natural health: Is there an alternative to paracetamol?
Manuka (New Zealand Tea Tree) Flowers and Honey

Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Q1. I use paracetamol to treat ongoing back pain. However, I've started to get UTIs and would like to find an alternative form of pain relief. What would you recommend?

A. Acupuncture can be incredibly effective at treating back pain, primarily by supporting the body to heal through the rebalancing of the systems. Many acupuncturists also provide medicinal herbal pain-relief patches to support the acupuncture treatment, as well as the use and recommendation of herbal remedies and nutritional guidelines – all of which have been used for over 5,000 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine with a high rate of success.

Other physical therapies that are beneficial and non-invasive in treating back pain include Bowen, osteopathy, and chiropractic. An osteopath typically uses gentle manipulation, often alongside soft tissue massage and stretching to treat the individual.

The Bowen technique works by balancing the autonomic nervous system. It is a very delicate form of therapy and is often used to treat neck and cranial issues because it involves such light movements. A chiropractor focuses on the central nervous system by adjusting the spinal vertebrae. This allows the nervous system to function optimally and facilitate the healing process.

Q2. My elderly mother has developed painful bedsores that are proving difficult to treat. What would you recommend?

Bedsores are often difficult to treat in the elderly as tissue integrity, circulation, and the immune system become less robust with age.  This is particularly problematic when movement is limited, and any illness or underlying conditions will further limit the body’s ability to heal effectively.

Two key nutrients that can be taken internally to speed up the repair of sores and ulcers are vitamin C and zinc. Supplemental vitamin C and zinc help to stimulate the immune system, reduce healing time, and target tissue repair specifically. This combination is also effective to reduce the risk of infection and help treat any existing infection. The dosage of vitamin C should be around 2,000-3,000mg, taken in 500mg doses. Also, your mother will need 90-150mg of zinc daily until the sores heal, then reduce this dosage to 15-30mg daily as a preventative measure.

Topically, the most effective natural remedy for bed sores and skin ulcerations is raw medicinal honey. I typically recommend manuka honey since the healing factor is established using a standard laboratory test for antibacterial activity, where the strength rating of manuka honey is achieved by measuring it against the relative percentage of the standard antiseptic phenol solution (carbolic).

Manuka (New Zealand Tea Tree) Flowers and Honey
Manuka (New Zealand Tea Tree) Flowers and Honey

Medicinal honey is particularly effective in treating skin ulcerations and bed sores because it destroys bacteria, draws moisture out of the wound, and enhances the growth of new cells. The UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) honey should be applied directly to the sores and to sterile gauze, which is then used to cover the wound. Change the dressing twice daily until it begins to heal.

If you are unable to source medicinal manuka honey with a UMF rating of 25 or more, then you should be able to find a local raw and unprocessed honey - a traditional remedy used for wounds and burns around the world for centuries.

It can be difficult to promote sufficient blood flow for healing, which is crucial for repair and prevention of sores and infection. Dr Scurr’s Zinopin was developed to help prevent deep vein thrombosis, particularly during long-haul flights. Its manufacturers also produce a safe daily product utilising the beneficial properties of French maritime pine bark to reduce blood clotting and increase venous tone, Patagonian blueberry due to the powerful antioxidant activity, and ginger to promote blood flow.

Make sure that you choose Zinopin Daily (not Zinopin Long Haul which is for short term use only). If you are unable to source it locally, then you can purchase Zinopin Daily from online where 30 capsules cost €24.60.

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