Herbs and Back Pain Relief: Devil's Claw Root

Devil's Claw Root, (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a plant and herb that is native to South Africa which has show to help in the treatment of back pain, headaches, allergies, and rheumatism.

Many patients are trusting of their doctors when is comes to their prescribed treatments for back pain. By the time a doctor has become specialized in their respected field, they will have studied and practiced for nearly ten years in order to gain a mastery of their specific branch of science. Doctors are generally the smartest people of any profession, and they have dedicated many thousands of hours towards gaining mastery in the understanding of the human body. For this reason, we have a lot of confidence in their diagnostic abilities, and their competencies in coming up with the most appropriate treatments for our condition.

For all of the knowledge that they have, they don't necessarily have a full mastery of every possible treatment option out there, and they do have certain biases against recommending certain types of back pain treatments for us. Doctors are well trained and well researched in understanding conservative medications for pain, evaluating diagnostic tests done in hospitals, and the benefits and risks or back surgery, but often know very little about herbal therapies either way. Doctors also have some limitations against prescribing certain types of therapies, due to legal and economic restrictions. For example, doctors may be aware of alternative forms of pain treatments, but in today's healthcare climate they are not paid for by most patients' insurance companies. Herbal therapies may be readily available at local and online health stores, but are not typically available at pharmacies by prescription.

For those of you who are scared off by the risks or back surgery, or haven't received enough back pain relief from the treatments you have already tried, there are alternative treatments out there. Let's take a look at the possible benefits of Devil's Root Claw for back pain relief

Devil's Root Claw: Not all pain relievers need to be synthesized artificially and ground up into a pill to provide patient's with some relief. Devil's Root Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is an ugly looking plant that kind of looks like poison ivy, but has been revered and used to treat pain and fever. This plant, native to South Africa, is also used to aid in the healthy digestion of food. The first Europeans to colonize the region now known as South Africa discovered the plant's healing properties, and later brought this plant back to their homeland as a treatment for arthritis. The active ingredient of this plant is Harpagoside, which may act as a natural anti-inflammatory or analgesic. This treatment has been used for many hundreds of years as a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory, for both the treatment of acute and chronic pain conditions. Unlike most prescription medications, which have a relatively high risk of complications associated with long-term use, studies have demonstrated a comparatively smaller rate of complications associated with this herb.

Potential Benefits: Devil's claw has proven effective at relieving the symptoms of many types of somatic (musculoskeletal) pain. Patients with pain due to osteoarthritis, rheumatism, headaches, and allergies have reported symptom relief after using this plant or active ingredients.

Possibly Adverse Effects: People who use this herb to treat low back pain as well as other musculoskeletal pain conditions should consult with their doctor is they are on any other medications. Many doctors recommend against using Devil's Claw if they are currently taking ticlopidine (Ticlid) or warfarin (Coumadin). Patients with gastrointestinal problems may be adversely affected by use of this therapy, as Devil's claw promoted the secretion of stomach acid, among its many affects on the human body. Patients with a history of gallstones should also consult with their doctor before taking this type of herbal medicine.