Natural Supplement Treatments for Back Pain
There are a number of different ways you can
treat your back pain naturally: vitamins, minerals, herbs, nutrition, and
homeopathy medicine. Some will help heal your back pain and others are dangerous,
so it's best to consult with a physician or nurse practitioner before taking
anything and never, ever exceed recommended dosages. The FDA has no control over
natural supplements, so it does not recommend them. Since supplements are not
FDA approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product
label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is
not intended to "diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."
That doesn't mean, though, that all supplements
are bad. Some medications turn out to be unsafe, too, despite rigorous trials
and testing. The bottom line is to research every product you consider taking
and make sure you get supplements from a reputable source, like a health food
store. Everybody's chemistry is different and reacts differently, so if you are
considering taking a supplement equivalent to a pharmaceutical, you may still
have some side effects.
There are many natural supplements that can be
found in supermarkets and drug stores. You may have to check health food stores
for more obscure supplements. Like any kind of medication that you buy over the
counter, you'll have a choice between the store brand and name brands. Store
brands are perfectly safe to use and are less expensive because you don't have
to pay for advertising. You can also buy supplements over the internet, but you
should be sure you buy from a reputable source so you know exactly what you are
getting. Do some research and ask around to find out which online suppliers are
the best and most reputable.
Listed below are some natural supplement treatments that have been publicized to
help alleviate back pain. When dosages are listed, you should know that if you
are particularly thin or heavy, you should consult an expert before taking the
supplement. And remember, natural supplements will not relieve pain immediately,
but have to be taken for weeks or sometimes even months before you see results.
Vitamins and Minerals
VITAMIN E-400 IU daily; anti-inflammatory
VITAMIN C-250-500mg twice daily
ZINC-30 mg twice daily; anti-inflammatory
CALCIUM-600mg daily; strengthens bones
BORON: 1-3 mg daily with food; helps the body absorb calcium and magnesium
MAGNESIUM- 250 mg daily; strengthens bones and relaxes muscles
COPPER: 2 mg daily
GLUCOSAMINE SULFATE: 750 mg. twice daily. Can rebuild cartilage in joints and
has been studied by the American College of Rheumatology as an effective
treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
NIACINAMIDE: 500 mg three times daily; anti-inflammatory and heals damaged
cartilage. Can cause liver damage and aggravate diabetes, low blood pressure,
ulcers, and glaucoma, so have a doctor monitor you if you take this supplement.
Herbal supplements can be found in capsule or powder form, or as teas. If you
are making your own herbal tea, use 1 tsp. of herb per cup of hot water. Cover
mixture and steep for 5-10 minutes, or 10-20 if you are using roots. You can
safely drink 3-6 cups of tea daily.
KAVA KAVA: Recognized by some doctors as a safe alternative to Xanax and Valium.
BLACK HAW: relieves muscle spasms and is similar to aspirin
VALERIAN ROOT: Widely researched and documented as a sleep aid, valerian has
been given a number 1 rating for safety by The American Herbal Products
WILD YAM: Long used to treat menstrual cramps; generally taken as a tea.
JAMAICA DOGWOOD: Used to treat muscle inflammation and spasms; little research
has been done on it and excessive amounts can be toxic. Do not use with
BROMELAIN: 500 mg three times daily
BOSWELLIN: 150 mg three times daily. Has been proven in clinical trials to help
alleviate low back pain
CURCUMIN: 400-600 mg three times daily; sometimes mixed with ginger, curcumin
has not been studied in clinical trials, but herbalists use it as an
MSM: Studies have shown anti-inflammatory properties (See
All about MSM and Glucosamine
for more information.)
ST. JOHN'S WORT: 300-500 mg capsule three times daily; interacts with a wide
variety of medications and should only be taken under the advisement of an
Montmorency Tart Cherry: Know for years as the choice nutritional
supplementation for arthritis sufferers, Studies have shown that tart cherries
can act as an anti-inflammatory with a similar effect as Ibuprofen and offer
pain relief when 20 or more tart cherries are consumed a day. Whole
Montmorency tart cherries are offered in capsule form, but dosages are not
always regulated to determine the amount of anthocyanins supplied with each
WHITE WILLOW BARK: effects are similar to taking aspirin
DEVIL'S CLAW: 400 mg three times daily. Used to treat arthritis, research shows
devil's claw may boost the effectiveness of conventional drugs.
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Homeopathy is a practice of medicine that has been around for about 200 years.
It is based upon what is called the Law of Similars and works on the same
principle as do immunizations: give someone a small dose of what would make them
sick to cure their sickness. Treatments have been proven in clinical trials, and
are prepared by a homeopathic pharmacy under FDA guidelines. Researchers don't
completely understand how homeopathic medicines work, but the evidence is clear
that they do. Homeopathy has been popular in Europe and India for a long time,
and is gaining popularity in the United States. Many practitioners are doctors
or have some other kind of medical degree, perhaps in nursing or psychology. The
legal issues surrounding homeopathic practitioners that do not have medical
degrees is unclear, but most homeopathic remedies are sold over the counter and
do not need a prescription. Here are some natural homeopathic remedies that are
helpful in alleviating back pain:
AESCULUS: used for dull, nagging pain
ARNICA MONTANA: used in cases of trauma to the back
COLOCYNTHIS: used for weakness and muscle cramps in the lower back
GNAPHALIUM: used to treat sciatica, which is often associated with back pain
LYCOPODIUM: used to treat burning pain
RHUS TOXICODENDRON: used for lower back stiffness and pain
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