Herbs and supplements for back inflammation
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
Almost half of all adults suffer from back pain in any given year.
The good news is that most backaches aren't serious and heal up in the course of a week or two. Chronic back pain, though, can be difficult to treat. A recent survey found that 40 percent of people who consulted a medical doctor for low back pain also tried supplements and other alternative remedies.
For acute back pain, supplements generally don't provide relief. Short term bed rest- about 3 days, but no more- is often a better solution.
Chronic back pain, though, may respond to supplments. Examples of supplements with some data to support their use in arthritic conditions that can cause inflammation and back pain are: glucosamine, calcium/magnesium, boron, and niacinamide.
Glucosamine helps build cartilage. This supplement is good for long-term use; it may take two months or so to see benefits.
Calcium and magnesium
Both calcium and magnesium are bone-strengthening minerals.
A trace mineral, boron is often included in extra-strength multivitamins. Boron helps the body absorb calcium and magnesium.
Niacinamide, a form of the B vitamin niacin, has mild anti-inflammatory properties. Remember, this supplement has potential deleterious effects on the liver and needes to be monitored. The supplement may also aggravate diabetes, low blood pressure, bleeding problems, glaucoma, gout, liver disease, or ulcers.
White Willow Bark has pain-relieving properties similar to those of aspirin (in fact, aspirin is derived from white willow bark). However, white willow bark appears to have fewer side effects.
Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple, may reduce inflammation and back pain.
Boswellia is an Ayurvedic herbal remedy long used in India, boswellia has anti-inflammatory properties.
Devil's claw, an herb native to Africa, has been used to relieve arthritis pain. Research suggests it may boost the effectiveness of conventional drugs.
Curcumin, a staple of South Asian cooking has anti-inflammatory protperties.
The FDA has no control over natural supplements so be wary while shopping for these materials.
Vitamins and Minerals with possible anti-inflammatory effects.
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: 500 mg. three times 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.
Black Haw: relieves muscle spasms and is similar to aspirin
Jamaican 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 sedatives.
Herbal alternatives to synthetic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include: green tea, ginger, turmeric, holy basil, chamomile, Chinese goldthread, barberry, Baikal skullcap, hu zhang (Japanese knotweed), rosemary, hops, feverfew and oregano.
Brian Barrow and Susan Percival, College of Agriculture and Life Science, November 2001, Anti-inflammatory effects of Echinacea on Cyclooxygenaxe-2 induced raw 264.7 cells
Journal of Undergraduate Research
Thomas M. Newmark and Paul Schulick Beyond Aspirin (Hohm Press, 2000; retailers: 800-381-2700).
Get more information about herbs and supplements for back inflammation and related issues as well as...
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• And much more...
Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
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