Back Pain Supplements

We all suffer from aches and pains as we get older. For some of us it can be just an annoying niggle. For others it can be so debilitating that it can curtail many forms of physical activity. Many doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS. These drugs are known as COX-2 inhibitors because the inflammation that triggers arthritis pain is prompted by an enzyme protein COX-2. Although effective, their long term use may be detrimental to your health. Even over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs can have side effects for some people. So what are your options? A number of very effective natural supplements are available. Here are a few. GLUCOSAMINE AND CHONDROITIN. These two essential components of cartilage are naturally produced by the body. In supplement form they have been shown to slow and even reverse the degenerative effects of arthritis. A team of researchers led by Daniel O Clegg MD, Chief of the Division of Rheumotology at the University of Utah School of Medicine studied the effects of these 2 supplements on nearly 1600 patients with arthritis of the knee. Each had experienced significant knee pain for at least 6 months. It was found that for those with moderate to severe pains, the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate was comparable in pain reduction to celebrex, an NSAIDS drug. A four-week German study of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee reported that ibuprofen resulted in faster pain relief, but glucosamine supplements brought comparable pain relief after two weeks and were much less likely to cause side effects. If you discontinue glucosamine completely, the benefits will gradually wear off. Chondroitin acts like a magnet to attract fluid into the cartilage to aid the absorption of cartilage nutrients and provide cartilage elasticity, thus reducing pain and inflammation noticeably. A word of caution: It is suggested that you avoid chondroitin if you have prostate cancer or if your doctor feels that you may be at risk of prostate cancer. Reports have shown that chondroitin sulfate may cause cancer cells to multiply and spread to other sites. This is apparently not true of glucosamine, which can be safely used by prostate cancer sufferers. GINGER. This is a natural herbal supplement and COX-2 inhibitor that has been shown to relieve inflammation pain associated with arthritis. A university of Miami study tested ginger extract [255mg per day for 6 weeks] on more than 240 patients with mild to severe osteoarthritis of the knee. It was found that knee pain was reduced and mobility significantly increased at the completion of the study. I have found the combination of glucosamine and ginger to be very effective for knee pains. Before taking these 2 supplements, I had severe knee problems, particularly after playing sport. I now play tennis 3 times a week and rarely experience knee pain of any kind. You may prefer to use the ginger root rather than a supplement. It is inexpensive and available from most supermarkets.Finely slice 6 or 7 pieces and steep in boiling water. Allow to cool and drink. The slices can be used twice. An additional benefit of ginger is that it can be very effective for digestion and stomach problems. It is used in many travel calming supplements and may be useful if you suffer from seasickness. DEVILS CLAW. Devils Claw has long been used to relieve arthritic pain. Available in supplement form, it is considered to be an outstanding herb for back pain by Dr Ann Walker, a researcher in human nutrition at Reading University. She has found that those who took up to 700mg daily in capsule form experienced a greatly reduced incidence of muscle spasm while their ability to bend down and touch their toes, greatly increased. BROMELAIN. This supplement, extracted from stem of the pineapple plant also offers great back pain relief according to Dr Walker. Her research, published in the journal Phytomedicine, shows that the active compounds in bromelain-enzymes-have strong anti-inflammatory and pain killing properties. STAY ACTIVE. Dr David Borenstein, a rheumatologist and clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center Washington, makes the following recommendations: Stay active, even when in pain. Studies show that back pain gets worse when patients give up exercise or daily activities. Move around as much as you are able. Daily walks are ideal. Maintain good posture and try not to be captive to your computer. Change positions once an hour to stretch your muscles and improve circulation. Regular exercise helps your body to make more synovial fluid, an important substance for cartileges. Knee health is dependent on cartilege, because it serves as a cushion. Exercise moves this fluid in the joint so the cartilage gets the oxygen and other nutrients it needs. OTHER SUPPLEMENTS. The following supplements may also be beneficial: MSM, Omega 3 fish oil, celery seed extract, chlorella and alfalfa. Important: Never start a new treatment before consulting your doctor, especially if you are currently taking medication. The information published in this article is not intended as a substitute for personal medical advice from your physician or other qualified health-care practitioner. It is for information purposes only.

back pain supplements