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Experts: For Pain Relief Skip The Medicine Cabinet, Head To The Kitchen

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- A lot of people live with pain, from chronic conditions like arthritis or joint pain, or maybe from starting a new exercise.

Instead of heading for the medicine cabinet to grab some aspirin you could try looking in your kitchen cabinet.

As CBS2's Emily Smith explained, there are things in your kitchen that can help you feel better.

Teri Rogacki is 34, but her Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus had her in excruciating pain.

"It was awful. I felt like I was 90-years-old waking up every morning. It took me at least 45 minutes to get out of bed," she said.

When traditional medicine didn't work, Rogacki tried tart cherry juice every day on the recommendation of dietician Leslie Bonci, and it worked.

"Thirty days later, my pain was gone. Completely gone," she said.

The key is, it has to be tart, and you have to drink it every day; 8 oz. of juice or one tablespoon of the concentrate.

Bonci said it's just one of many food products that can reduce pain.

Saffron has been used for centuries.

"This is like gold. Very, very costly, because it's very, very rare," she said.

Saffron adds unique flavor to foods, but it can also be taken as a supplement.

A new study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, found that daily saffron supplements were more effective at preventing muscle weakness and pain after strenuous exercise than anti-inflammatory drugs.

Turmeric is another Asian spice that is useful for pain relief.

It's proven to be a potent anti-inflammatory. Going back thousands of years, it has helped, not only with pain from arthritis, but also protection against cognitive decline, cancer, and heart disease. To get all of those effects use the spice instead of the pill.

"This is what they used to do. What they do in many other countries in the world," Bonci explained.

Ginger has been proven to help with muscle soreness that comes on hours after you exercise.

You need 500 mg a day, that's about 1 inch of ginger root, one quarter teaspoon of the spice, or you can get it in a supplement.

If you like it hot, there's cayenne. It can be used as a cream that you rub on the affected area or eaten as a powder, in cracked pepper, or as a liquid in Tabasco sauce.

"The most important thing is when you are doing something that isn't straight cayenne, look to make sure in the list of ingredients. There is cayenne. Not all peppers are created equal," Bonci said.

Caffeine is something that many people already have.

"Others have noticed, when they do this, they rely a little bit less on other anti-inflammatory. Caffeine may mean less aspirin, less acetaminophen, and there's nothing wrong with that," Bonci explained.

Rogacki's been pain free for three years now, and is still taking her tart cherry juice every day. She said you have to be consisted, something she learned the hard way when her pain returned after she forgot her juice on vacation.

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