Question on Back Pain
I have lower back pain and have been on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories for at least eight years. I would like to know if there is an alternative that I can take instead of medication.
It is good to look for alternatives to long term daily use of anti-inflammatory medications. They can damage the gastrointestinal tract and actually increase the rate of cartilage degeneration when taken for long periods. I find that anti-inflammatory medications are best used short term to control acute inflammation. There are a number of herbal and nutritional alternatives to anti-inflammatory medications. The herbs ginger, curcumin, bromelain (an enzyme in pineapple) and boswellia ( an Ayurvedic herb) have all been shown to be effective at reducing inflammation without side effects. Daily doses are 2000 mg of dry ginger, 1200 mg of curcumin, 1000 mg of bromelain or 1200 mg of boswellic acids. There are a number of products on the market that combine two or more of these.
Diet and nutritional supplements can help with inflammation. Avoidance of food allergies, sugar and excess intake of animal fats will help. In addition to plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, increasing fish and flavonoid rich berries are helpful for decreasing inflammation. Supplements of essential fatty acids, flavonoids like grape seed extract or green tea and antioxidants including vitamins C and E are all good for decreasing inflammation. If your condition includes cartilage degeneration in the spine, a supplement of glucosamine sulfate can help to promote cartilage repair and thus decrease pain and inflammation.
Heat packs for chronic pain and cold packs for acute inflammation are simple and effective treatments you can use at home. Massage, hydrotherapy and gentle manipulative techniques can help with pain. TENS (electrical muscle s
timulation) units are helpful for many people with chronic back pain, along with gentle physical therapy and exercise. Other therapies for chronic pain include acupuncture and biofeedback. Talk with your health care provider about these options.
Keywords:back pain,anti-inflammatory,essential fatty acids,flavonoids,antioxidants,grape seed extract,green tea