It's possible to take a natural approach to back pain by using supplements that can reduce inflammation and provide some pain relief.
Supplements work best when used in combination with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management.
But the word "natural" on a supplement doesn't automatically mean safe, so it's important to talk with your chiropractor before you begin a new regimen.
Some supplements can interact with other medications and cause complications, and some just plain don't work.
While there's no magic bullet to instantly make your back better, the following supplements and nutrients can ease your pain, relieve inflammation, and relax your back muscles.
They are especially beneficial for chronic back problems since they can also induce healing.
Table of Contents
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin
- Devil's Claw
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- White Willow Bark
- Chiropractic Care
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are compounds that occur naturally in the body.
Glucosamine is found in the fluid around joints, and chondroitin is found in cartilage surrounding joints.
While there aren't studies on the effectiveness of glucosamine chondroitin supplements for back pain sufferers, there have been studies that show a meaningful impact on chronic knee pain.
Many use it for other chronic pain conditions such as low back pain, and it has been found to help some but not all patients.
Devils claw is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic root that has been used for centuries throughout South Africa to relieve pain and stiffness.
Its efficacy comes from unique compounds called iridoid glycosides, which have been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects.
This means that devil's claw works in much the same way as over the counter painkillers, but without the adverse side effects.
In one study involving 197 people with moderate to severe back pain, those taking a standardized daily dose of either 50 mg or 100 mg of devil's claw for four weeks experienced significantly higher relief than those taking a placebo.
Another randomized clinical trial compared devil's claw to Vioxx, an NSAID that was recalled in 2004 because of safety concerns in 88 patients with low back pain.
After six weeks, the researchers concluded that a daily dose of devil's claw was just as effective as the pharmaceutical.
If you have back pain, a vitamin D deficiency could be making your pain worse.
A study published in Pain Physician in 2013 found that severe pain was associated with a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency.
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 15 micrograms for most people, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.
Your doctor will determine your recommended dosage based on your unique needs.
Sunlight exposure and vitamin D-fortified foods, such as milk, also supply the nutrient.
From helping to maintain bone health to easing anxiety, magnesium plays a role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body.
This multi-tasking mineral has also been found to soothe chronic low back pain thanks to its analgesic effects.
Among 80 patients who were treated with a drug cocktail for their back pain, those who also received a magnesium IV for two weeks, as well as a daily magnesium supplement for another four weeks, reported a marked decrease in pain.
Compared to the participants who only took the drugs, the magnesium group also experienced significant improvement in their spinal range of motion.
This is good news for anyone who lives an active lifestyle but also suffers from chronic stiffness and back pain.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids is something that can help with the inflammation that can cause back pain.
Omega-3 fatty acids are available in liquid or capsule form.
You should speak with your chiropractor about your proper dosage because higher doses of omega-3's can increase the risk of bleeding.
They may also interfere with any blood-thinning medications you may be taking.
An easy way to increase your intake of omega-3's is by eating more oily fish, such as salmon, sardines, and tuna, as well as dark leafy greens.
White Willow Bark
White Willow Bark contains salicin, which is the herbal forerunner of aspirin.
We all know aspirin relieves pain and eases inflammation.
While several studies are demonstrating white willow's ability to reduce pain, one Israeli study explicitly confirmed the herb's use for back pain.
Subjects in the study were given an extract containing either 120 mg or 240 mg of salicin per day. The participants reported significant relief after just a week.
And the benefit appeared to be dose-dependent. The higher the dose, the more effective the outcome.
Unlike aspirin, willow bark won't cause bleeding problems. However, you should still talk to your doctor if you are taking a prescription blood thinner like coumadin.
If you're looking for healthy, all-natural ways to prevent or cure your back pain, chiropractic care is the way to go.
Chiropractors use a holistic approach to health care with the ultimate goal of allowing your body to heal itself on its own.
Your chiropractor will perform a physical exam as well as review your medical records to design a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
They can also recommend specific supplements as well as exercises and other lifestyle adjustments to help keep your back pain at bay.
To speak with a chiropractor about your back pain, contact the team at Florida Spine and Injury by clicking the button below.