Back Pain Treatment: Nutritional Supplements

If your back is in constant pain, it's only natural that you will try just about anything to make the pain go away. Since most people in the country have health insurance, the initial course of treatment for back pain is rest, icing of the inflamed area, and a couple days of taking NSAIDs to reduce inflammation. If that doesn't work, you will probably go to your primary care physician, where he will order X-Rays to see if you have a serious problem with your back. Next, your doctor will probably schedule you for physical therapy to try to strengthen the muscles of the lower back and abdominal muscles, which move the spine and hold it in place. If physical therapy doesn't work, the doctor may schedule you for treatment at a pain clinic, which usually involves steroid injections numb the nerves of the spine involved with causing you so much back pain. If none of these treatments work, you may find yourself running out of options, as far as standard western treatments go.



If we can walk on the moon, surely there has to be something out there to cure back pain right. Indeed, for most people there is. One of the popular types of treatment out there is nutritional supplements. Nutritional supplements are usually available in pill form, or as powders to be added to drinks, that are designed to either reduce inflammation, promote the healing process, or grow new tissue for joints or soft tissues that have become damaged. Nutritional supplements and "natural medicine" are two terms that are often used interchangeably, though I have never seen pills growing on trees or sprouting out of the ground. That being said, many people have reported significant benefits from taking nutritional supplements, and there is even a good amount of clinical research to back up the health benefits of supplements such as fish oil (Omaga-3 fatty acids) and glucosamine with chondroitin. The benefits to appear to be there with many supplements, and most of them are similar or identical to the chemicals in our body responsible for healthy digestion, reduction of inflammation in the body, bone growth, and the building blocks of the body responsible making and repairing cartilage. Do most of these supplements work? New data is coming out every day providing a larger window into the understanding of musculoskeletal pain and pain relief. It remains a work in progress, but many patients and published findings suggest that some supplements can in fact decrease back pain and improve a patient's health.

Before analyzing any of the supplements out there that claim to help patients treat back pain, let's take a closer look at the difference between pharmaceutical medications and nutritional supplements. First off, pharmaceutical medications are not natural, and they don't claim to be. Pharma meds are synthesized in a lab, and many have other effects on the body other than the original purpose that they were intended for. For example, NSAIDs have the dual purpose of reducing inflammation in inflamed, painful joints, and pain relief as well. In the other hand, NSAIDs, if taken regularly or at higher doses than recommended may eventually damage a person's kidneys or cause bleeding in the digestive tract.

Next, read on about the differences between medications and supplements.