DIY Fixes for Common Ailments


Fix what ails you


You need a new mattress, dude. 

People aren't lying about their sick days after all: The average British person comes down with 124 ailments a year and 9,672 in a lifetime, according to a new study by the Benenden Healthcare Society.

But instead of letting your inner hypochondriac take over, we gathered the best DIY remedies for the top 10 most common ailments. Here's your guide to fix just about all of your aches and pains.

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1. Bumps and Bruises

Ice the site of injury for 15 minutes, but make sure to cover the cold in a thin cloth to protect your skin. After 24 hours of the injury, now use heat--a warm washcloth will work. It'll dilate the blood vessels, improving circulation to clean up the injured tissue. (For 1,001 ways to fix any health problem, pick up The Athlete's Book of Home Remedies .)

2. Headaches

Just add coffee: A recent research review found that about 10 percent of people with acute headache or dental pain saw more relief when they added 100 milligrams of caffeine to a dose of pain meds. And sit up straight: It could increase your pain tolerance, according to a recent study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

3. Back Pain

Most backaches are caused by muscle sprains, strains, or ligament inflammation, says Alan Hedge, Ph.D., professor of ergonomics at Cornell. Your solution: Ice the affected area, then warm it with heat packs, says Hedge. Another solution: "A good mattress, like a Technogel." Another alternative? Fix It with Massage.

4. Stomach Pain

A study in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics found that people who ate 1 gram of ginger root significantly reduced their stomach discomfort after drinking a glucose solution. Chop or grind it and add it to a chicken dish to send nausea packing. To get the most delicious recipes and cooking tips from top chefs delivered to your inbox for free, sign up for the all-new Men's Health Guy Gourmet Newsletter.

5. Cramps

If you cramp up, stretch the muscle involved, and hold the stretch for as long as necessary. Gently massaging the muscles can also help relieve your pain by promoting blood flow in the area.

6. Cuts

Wash the cut out, put a cream like Lubriderm directly onto it, Band-Aid it, and don't touch, says Hayes Gladstone, M.D., a dermatologist at Stanford University. It'll lock the moisture in, and may even help new skin cells form.

7. Heartburn

Stand up! Gravity keeps food down, says Gary W. Falk, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Your saliva also acts as a natural antacid when you swallow. When you're asleep, you don't have gravity on your side, and you're no longer making saliva, Falk adds. Your move: Eat early. A recent study found that people who ate dinner 2 hours before bed had considerably less reflux throughout the night than those who ate 6 hours before.

8. Cricked Necks

When adults with neck pain were treated with either anti-inflammatory meds, basic home exercises, or professional spinal manipulation, the people receiving spinal manipulation saw the most pain decrease, according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Joints need to move to stay healthy, says Gert Bronfort, M.D., professor at the Wolfe Harris Center for Clinical Studies at Northwestern Health Sciences University. Your move: Look straight up and rotate your neck, stretching it side-to-side. Protect your neck during your workout: Avoid these 5 Exercises That Make Trainers Cringe.

9. Blocked Sinuses

Your best bet for a DIY remedy? A long, warm, shower, says William Schaffner, M.D., infectious disease specialist and chair of the department of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University. Humid, moist air will reach your sinuses and clear your nose, offering the fastest relief.

10. Shaving Cuts

Clean the nick and apply pressure to it first. Wipe the top of your antiperspirant with a tissue, and swipe a Q-tip over the top. Dab it onto the nick, advises Hayes Gladstone, M.D., a dermatologist at Stanford University. "The aluminum chloride in deodorant can help close a nick."

For more ways to keep your body healthy and strong, discover The Secret to Staying Pain-free For Life.