While supplements are not generally needed for controlling most back pain, they can be helpful by reducing inflammation and excitotoxicity.
Here are the ones I recommend most:
DHA from fish oil. Increasing omega-3 oil intake reduces inflammation everywhere in the body and can significantly reduce all forms of pain. Fish oil contains two key components, EPA and DHA, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and excitotoxicity, and is available as a separate supplement. Take 500 to 1,000 mg twice a day.
Curcumin and quercetin. These compounds reduce inflammation in different ways that are complementary, so they work well together. With both, it’s important to take products that are formulated to be well-absorbed, such as Curcumin 500, made by Pure Encapsulations, and Quercenase, made by Thorne Research. Take two capsules of each, three times a day with meals.
Chondroitin sulfate. This naturally occurring compound is essential for the maintenance of cartilage in joints. Studies have shown that it can improve inflammatory conditions that damage cartilage, such as a lumbar disc. Relief usually begins within a few weeks and continued use may prevent a relapse of disc degeneration. Chondroitin sulfate does not interfere with medications. Take 600 mg three times a day with meals.
Buffered vitamin C. An interesting study reported in the “Journal of Neurosurgery” demonstrated a complete reversal of a ruptured lumbar disc in a patient taking high doses of vitamin C. The vitamin is essential for maintenance of disc cartilage, strengthens lumbar tendons and ligaments, and reduces inflammation. Smoking, which is associated with a high incidence of ruptured lumbar disc and low back pain, causes a severe loss of vitamin C. Take a buffered form of vitamin C in a dose of 500 to 1,000 mg three times a day between meals. Never take high doses of vitamin C with food because it dramatically increases iron absorption, potentially to excessive levels.
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