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Top 3 Supplements for Sciatica Pain and Why They Work

Updated on August 15, 2011

Looking for a natural source of relief for your sciatica pain? Well this post will discuss the top 3 supplements for relieving back and sciatica pain and why they work.

1) Turmeric – Turmeric is a spice that is closely related to ginger. It is a root that is usually dried and ground into a powder. You can find it in the spice isle at your local grocery store.

Turmeric is a selective COX-2 inhibitor. To make this simple COX-1 and COX-2 are enzymes that start your inflammatory process. COX-1 is “good” in that it performs a “house keeping role” around inflammation. It also maintains your stomach lining. COX-2 is the one responsible for increasing inflammation. As we know most pain especially sciatica is a result of inflammation either in or around the nerve.

Drugs called NSAIDs or Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are not selective and inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes to stop inflammation. Because they disrupt COX-1 it can lead to stomach problems over time as COX-1 is responsible for maintaining stomach lining. Turmeric has been shown to be “selective”. It only inhibits COX-2.

This is something Phizer and other drug companies have been trying to create over the last decade. But I personally don’t want to take a drug especially when a spice can do the same thing with NO SIDE EFFECTS and at a fraction of the cost! You can find turmeric in capsule form in many health food stores.

Read this article for more info.

2) Omega-3 – I’m sure most of you have heard about Omega-3 for some time now as they have become quite popular. When talking about unsaturated fat, there are 3 types: omega 3,6 and 9. Your body can make omega-9 but it cannot make omega 3 and 6 and are therefore called “essential” fats because we must get them from our food. Both omega 3 and 6 are important in reducing inflammation as well maintain many other functions in the body.

Omega-3 fat has become so popular because it is more difficult to find in our diet whereas omega-6 is readily found in our diet. Fish oil is always the popular “go-to” product for omega-3’s but despite the general idea, fish do not make omega-3’s. Omega-3 is made mainly by photosynthetic organisms, such as grass and algae. The fish eat the algae and store the omega-3’s which we then consume. Grass-fed beef and other livestock also have much higher omega-3 content than grain-fed. People with musculoskeletal problems, which are mainly caused by inflammation, may benefit from taking a supplement of omega-3’s.

I would recommend flax seed or simply increasing your intake of leafy greens as they naturally contain high amounts of omega-3’s. I do not recommend fish oil as recent studies have shown high amounts of methyl-mercury in ocean fish and some fish oils. Although many fish oils claim to be filtered I would rather get it from a safer source.

Read more about the health benefits here.

3) Vitamin D – There have been several popular studies over the last 10 years that have shown people with chronic back pain have deficient levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is responsible for 100’s of chemical functions in the human body especially when it comes to bone, joint and muscle health.

Vitamin D is made by the body but it requires exposure to ultraviolet light to do so. Only 10 minutes (without sun block) of sun exposure a day can allow your body to make enough Vitamin D for the entire day. Coming from the Northern United States, I know this is not always possible. Getting a sun lamp to sit under at home or taking Vitamin D supplements during the winter months can help keep your vitamin D levels normal.

It is difficult to give a recommended dose for Vitamin D because it depends on whom you read but the average seems to between 600-1000 IU’s for a healthy person over the age of 9. People with chronic pain may take doses as high as 2000-3000 IU's. Despite what you hear, you will not get Vitamin D or calcium from drinking milk. Your body does not convert it properly. So go outside and get in the sun!

Read more about Vitamin D here.

I hope this helps any one looking for a natural source of relief for their back and sciatica pain. Eat right and stay active.


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