Mayo Health Care
Back Pain - Natural Supplement Treatments
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: 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. Herbs 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. Muscle Relaxants 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 Association. 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 sedatives. Anti-inflammatories 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 anti-inflammatory. MSM: Has not been researched, but herbalists use it as an anti-inflammatory. 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 herbal specialist. Pain Relief 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. Homeopathy 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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