Topics about Supplements to Treat Arthritis and Back Pain

Topics about Supplements to Treat Arthritis and Back Pain People who are new to the sciences of back care - and associated back pain - will quickly become familiar with one or more of these three topics if the pain doesn't go away on its own, in days to weeks.
  • Diagnostic medicine: Various medical tests that are designed to find the cause, or source, of the symptoms.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications: Medications that are designed to block or suppress the inflammatory or immune response of the body to disease or tissue damage.
  • Physical therapy: This treatment protocol includes a system of exercises and stretches that are designed to strengthen the back and improve its flexibility.
Patients who use one or more of these treatments may turn to nutritional supplements to treat arthritis and back pain - also for one or more of these reasons:
  • Patients may try dietary supplements because they want to experience the clinical benefits of pharmaceutical medications without the side effects. Are there supplements out there that work the same as pharmaceutical medications but without the side effects, such as the GI problems that are associated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and the bone loss associated with steroidal anti-inflammatories? Many patients today try supplements because they hope or think that this option provides the same benefits without the harmful side effects. Is this really the case? Are the clinical benefits comparable to those medications prescribed from your doctor? Also, another topic that must be considered is the question of whether or not these substances are actually harmful to the body. Even most skeptics of dietary supplements who believe them to be modern era snake oil pills don't go so far as to believe that they might actually harm us. But in fact, it has been shown that some of these supplements might actually cause side effects and health complications. For example, it has been demonstrated that green tea, when taken in high amounts, may cause adverse health effects such as liver toxicity and oxidative stress.

  • Patients may also end up trying nutritional supplements when medications and other back pain treatments, such as physical therapy and surgery, haven't worked. Many people are more than willing to put up with the risks and side effects such as anti-inflammatory medications, steroidal injections, narcotics, and even back surgery, as long as they work. But in some vexing cases, the pain may continue even after several western types of treatments have been tried. Enter the world of supplements for patients, which come as advertised to heal the body without damaging it. Here are some things to think about with regards to these supplements. These supplements often reach the consumer markets without having been thoroughly analyzed by national agencies. There are no regional or national agencies, labs, or doctors who can thoroughly attest to the fact of whether or not these complementary products work or not, and whether or not they are even safe to consume. One often has the internet to go by, as well as advertisements, word of mouth, and the recommendations of their friends. Indeed, one has to go on faith to decide, to some degree.
Some of the most common dietary supplements that are used to treat back pain include willow bark, devil's claw, cat's claw, rosemary, green tea, turmeric, shark cartilage, MSM, glucosamine and chondroitin. Let's take a look at each of these supplements, where they are found in nature, and what clinical evidence is available that they actually work.

Willow Bark: Willow bark is a substance that may be consumed directly from eating it, or by being ground down and used as a component of drinks. The active ingredient used for medicinal purposes is salicin. The leaves and bark of this tree, deciduous to lands in the northern hemisphere, has been thought to treat aches and fever, as well as various types of body pain. Side effects of this supplement are similar to those of NSAIDs, including GI upset and GI bleeding.

Devil's Claw: Cat's claw, also known as Uncaria tomentosa, is a tropical plant that is native to Central and South America. Uncaria guianensis is one of the species of this plant that has been known to treat orthopedic pain conditions such as back pain and osteoarthritis. Complications related to this plant include inflammation allergic inflammation of the kidneys, rash, and itching of the skin. The active ingredient of the species of Cat's Claw though to provide anti-inflammatory benefits is U. tomentosa, which is advertised to treat pain conditions as well as the symptoms of rheumatism, diverticulitis, parasites, and tumors.