Be sure to talk with your provider before taking or combining dietary and herbal supplements with prescription meds or over the counter medications. Individuals with chronic back/neck pain but want to get away from medication/s, and pain relievers, dietary and herbal supplements could be an option. There are dietary supplements as well as, herbal supplements that although used in nutrition, also have added benefits for pain and inflammation relief.
Individuals have found herbs and supplements to be helpful in reducing and alleviating their pain. It is important to understand that these are not a cure-all that will take the pain away or the depression that accompanies chronic spine-related conditions. These are made to help to manage back pain symptoms.
Table of Contents
Nutrition and Dietary
A healthy diet includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains which keeps the body in top form. Antioxidant foods like green leafy vegetables and berries help in fighting inflammation. Dietary and herbal supplements that research has found helpful in reducing inflammation and pain are listed. However, we must point out that several of these supplements can increase the risk of bleeding. Therefore have a discussion with your health care provider before taking any type of supplement.
Omega-3 fatty acids
- Flaxseed and Fish Oils
- Omega-3 fatty acids can increase the risk of bleeding and conflict with blood-thinning medications like warfarin coumadin and aspirin.
- Studies show these supplements can help relieve arthritis pain but have not been studied as a treatment for back pain.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin can interfere with blood-thinning medications like warfarin coumadin and aspirin.
- MSM can help relieve arthritis pain.
- This is an enzyme that can reduce inflammation
- It can increase the risk of bleeding, so do not take this without consulting a health care provider
- It can interact/interfere with antibiotic meds
- Do not take if have a peptic ulcer
Herbal supplements have been used by many cultures for health and dietary benefits for a very long time. These supplements are literally made from herbs/plants valued for their flavor, scent, and medicinal qualities. Examples of herbal supplements for pain include:
- Cayenne reduces pain signal intensity
- Devil’s claw relieves inflammation
- Eucalyptus clears chest congestion
Benefits of Herbs
People prefer dietary and herbal supplements instead of standard/traditional drugs and medications for a variety of reasons.
- Some because they provide pain relief without the side effects associated with medications. An example is white willow bark, that has been used for years for its anti-inflammatory benefits. And it doesn’t upset the stomach the way medications the way aspirin does.
- Some prefer herbal supplements because they are natural.
Herbs come in pill, capsule, tablets, teas, and liquid extracts.
- Reduces inflammation and pain
- Turmeric can increase the risk of bleeding, especially for those taking blood-thinning medication
- Reduces pain
- Can increase the risk of bleeding and interact with diabetes meds
- Can affect the heart and can cause issues for those with gallstones
- Relieves pain
- Do not take if taking aspirin or blood-thinning meds
- Do not take if are allergic to aspirin or salicylates
- Do not give to children under eighteen
- Reduces pain and inflammation
- It is one of the main components in chili peppers
Things to Remember
- Dietary and herbal supplements do not have to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before they are sold.
- Herbs can have medication-like effects on the body
- Products sold as dietary supplements and promoted as a treatment, prevention, and/or cure for a disease or condition is considered an unapproved and illegal drug
While dietary supplements and herbal supplements are primarily used to help nutritional needs, these supplements can serve medicinal purposes. Explore alternatives from conventional medications with herbal supplements, as this could be an option. Check with your health care provider before taking supplements if you are pregnant, nursing a baby, or have a chronic medical condition like diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease.
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The information herein on "Dietary and Herbal Supplements for Back Pain" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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