FROM THE ARCHIVE | 5 household items that can help with pain relief

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You don’t have to get something from the pharmacy every time you have an ache or niggle – try these common household items. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
You don’t have to get something from the pharmacy every time you have an ache or niggle – try these common household items. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

These nifty hacks can help you treat minor aches, pains and niggles when your family is miles away from the nearest doctor or dentist.

Soothe toothache by rubbing ice on your hand

You may be familiar with applying ice to sore muscles or joints – but rubbing ice on your hand to relieve a toothache? It may seem outlandish, but an ice massage on the skin between the thumb and index finger can help alleviate pain on the same side of your face.

A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found patients suffering from a toothache were able to relieve more than 50% of their dental pain in this way. The reason? Cold temperatures from the ice help block pain impulses travelling from the mouth to the brain. 

(Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
It may seem outlandish, but an ice massage on the skin between the thumb and index finger can help alleviate pain. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

Or grab a few cloves Cloves

have also been found to relieve toothache as they are effective at numbing the surface of the mouth. Cloves contain eugenol, a natural anaesthetic and antibacterial agent which reduces inflammation in the mouth. Put one to three whole cloves next to the aching tooth. Wait for the cloves to soften, then gently grind it with your teeth to release the clove oil into your mouth and allow it to run over the affected area. 


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Black pepper helps to stop bleeding

Obviously, if it’s a serious gash you’ll need to seek medical attention, but for relatively minor nicks and cuts, a dash of ground black pepper can help stop the bleeding. Black pepper is naturally antibacterial and also makes blood coagulate quickly. Simply sprinkle some on the wound and cover with a bandage.

Please pass the mustard

Next time you accidentally touch a hot stove or suffer a minor burn, reach for the yellow mustard. First apply cool – not cold – running water to the burn then spread a thick layer of mustard over the area. The pain should go away. Mustard contains the compound allyl isothiocyanate, a powerful ant-irritant.

(Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Next time you accidentally touch a hot stove or suffer a minor burn, reach for the yellow mustard. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

Good old bicarb on splinters

When tweezers fail to coax that sliver of wood from a foot or finger, whip up a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water. Apply to the affected area, cover with a plaster and leave it on overnight. By morning the shard should’ve emerged from the skin without prodding. Bicarbonate of soda makes the skin swell so the splinter comes to the surface naturally.

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