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Suffering from Chronic Pain? These supplements may give you the relief you are looking for

A large portion of the population experiences chronic pain, with worldwide prevalence varying between 10-25% of the adult population(1). With 1 in 10 people get diagnosed with chronic pain each year and on average people are suffering with chronic pain fo

2021-07-11 21:47:32

white willow barkcurcuminChronic Painomega3


A large portion of the population experiences chronic pain, with worldwide prevalence varying between 10-25% of the adult population(1). With 1 in 10 people get diagnosed with chronic pain each year and on average people are suffering with chronic pain for an average of 7 years(1). This is a huge burden on the quality of life of these people and on the health care systems around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that by 2030 the main contributors to the global burden of disease will be depression, heart and vascular diseases and traffic accidents, all of which are associated with chronic pain(1). It is estimated that chronic pain results in healthcare costs that are higher then both cancer and cardiovascular diseases combined. Both over the counter medications such as NSAIDs and stronger opioid medications come with so many serious side effects that using safer natural options to help manage pain is becoming significantly more popular and important. 

Here are some of the best options for natural supplements that can help with chronic pain management. 

Curcumin

Curcumin is a plant-derived substance obtained from turmeric root (Curcuma longa) that is rich in antioxidants and has been well known for its use in pain and inflammatory conditions. Doses of curcumin vary from 2-5g in studies and have shown to reduce markers of inflammation, improve joint pain and reduce exercise-induced muscle damage(2). Consuming curcumin with a source of fat and black pepper is important as this dramatically increases the body’s ability to absorb it. Curcumin alone is vary poorly absorbed and will likely not be in sufficient amounts to gain the pain reducing effects. 

 

White Willow Bark

Bark from the white willow tree is one of the oldest herbal remedies for pain and inflammation, dating back to ancient Egyptian, Roman, Greek, and Indian civilizations. White willow bark has a similar action to aspirin, which blocks the two dominant chemical pathways that produce pain and inflammation in the body(3). It is the compound known as salicin in the white willow that is converted to salicylic acid by the liver to have its pain reducing effects. It has been reported to have fewer side effects that aspirin but should still be avoided by children, those that have peptic ulcer disease, diabetes, and liver and kidney disorders. The usual dose of white willow bark is 240 mg/day (3).

 

Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their anti-inflammatory effects and through this action can be an effective way of managing pain associated with a variety of health conditions. However aside from its clear role in inhibiting the inflammatory pathway, omega-3’s have shown to relieve pain through other mechanisms outside of their anti-inflammatory effects. Omega-3’s have shown to increase the release of endorphins which help decrease sensations of pain. They also demonstrate the ability to lower omega-6 fatty acids, which have been associated with increased pain. A study randomized patients with chronic headaches to increased omega-3 and lower omega-6 fatty acids in the diet or only to lower omega-6 fatty acids in the diet. The participants on high omega-3 and low omega-6 fatty acid diets had greatest improvements in their rating of headache(4). 

 

1.         Takkouche B. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Chronic Pain:A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Pain Physician. 2016 Nov 14;8;19(8;11):521–35.

2.         Perna S, Alalwan TA, Al-Thawadi S, Negro M, Parimbelli M, Cerullo G, et al. Evidence-Based Role of Nutrients and Antioxidants for Chronic Pain Management in Musculoskeletal Frailty and Sarcopenia in Aging. Geriatr Basel Switz. 2020 Mar 6;5(1). 

3.         Maroon JC, Bost JW, Maroon A. Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief. Surg Neurol Int. 2010 Dec 13;1:80. 

4.         Nahin RL, Boineau R, Khalsa PS, Stussman BJ, Weber WJ. Evidence-Based Evaluation of Complementary Health Approaches for Pain Management in the United States. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016 Sep;91(9):1292–306. 

 


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