As a Garland chiropractor, I am always looking for new ways for our patients to control chronic pain. The first and most important method is by keeping your spine and joints aligned through gentle chiropractic adjustments. Our centrally located clinic makes this easy by offering most commercial insurance plans as well as affordable self payment rates. We also recommend a regular routine of stretching and exercise. But when that just isn’t enough, you might need a little help.
Although reaching for an over the counter drug might be temping, certain medications can cause stomach upset and long term use can create liver inflammation. Therefore it makes sense to consider a few natural options. First let’s explore what causes pain and then we’ll discuss those natural supplements.
Pain and Inflammation
An underlying cause of pain, whether in soft tissues or joints, is inflammation. Generally, inflammation occurs when the body reacts to protect itself from injury. It releases chemicals from white blood cells to fight off foreign substances in the affected area. The chemical release increases blood flow that induces warmth and redness in the injured tissue. Swelling comes from chemicals leaking fluids. All of this activity is to help the injured area, but when nerves are stimulated or pressured by that activity, you get pain.
Joints face a double whammy when an injury occurs. Along with the release of inflammatory substances, the presence of those additional cells crowded into the joint results in irritation, swelling in the lining, and, over time, cartilage can wear-down causing a loss in the bone’s natural end cushion. That causes more pain.
Obviously, is is important to reduce. But as always, we recommend this be done in a manner that’s as natural and healthy as possible. Here are three natural supplements considered to be top-of-the-line when it comes to inflammation reduction.
The turmeric plant, a perennial herb related to the ginger family, grows in Indonesia and India. When the dried turmeric root is ground up, it becomes the yellow spice so popular in Indian curry. It’s also used as a food coloring. Think about mustard’s nice golden color. That yellow color comes from curcuminoids, and curcumin is an important turmeric chemical. Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory, modifying immune system responses by blocking the cytokines and enzymes responsible for inflammation. This is why turmeric has been an herbal medicine in India and Asia for ages.
Because of that anti-inflammatory property, turmeric powder is often added to smoothies, teas, or sauces when people are seeking to alleviate inflammation. However, curcumin only comprises between 2% to 5% of the turmeric, and although the dried spice is great for general health, it’s not really effective when it comes to treating specific inflammatory disorders. Medical experts recommend supplements, and they usually suggest that people take 400-600 milligrams (mg) three times a day or 1,000 mg once a day for it to be effective.
Clinical trails have proven that curcumin in supplement form works to reduce inflammation. It provides long-term easing of pain and joint function in people suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee. Other studies have shown reduced joint pain and swelling for people with rheumatoid arthritis. One of our favorite turmeric supplements is Standard Process Turmeric Forte. This powerful herbal combination is stocking at our clinic and is a patient favorite.
If you’re taking blood thinners, are pregnant or about to undergo surgery, talk to your doctor before taking turmeric.
Ginger is a lovely, exotic-looking flowering plant that’s been a popular digestive and nausea folk remedy for centuries. The root is often used for cooking and some people enjoy its fragrant taste. Since anti-inflammatory turmeric is related to the ginger family, it makes sense that ginger, too, displays anti-inflammatory properties. Current studies show it to be beneficial in treating pain and function in both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, affecting some inflammatory activities at a basic cellular level. It actually decreased pain from osteoarthritis by 30% and reduced disability up to 22%. Its natural anti-inflammatory compounds function much as inhibitor drugs specifically developed to combat pain and inflammation function.
Ginger is also an antioxidant and has anticancer properties. With all these excellent properties, it’s believed to offer a good boost to a person’s overall immune system. The recommended dosage for daily supplements of ginger is 100 to 224 mg. However, just as with turmeric, its best to have a doctor’s approval before taking any supplement. Ginger shouldn’t be taken in conjunction with certain medications, such as blood-thinning warfarin (Coumadin).
Fish Oil (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
How does fish oil fight inflammation? Researchers identified G protein-coupled receptors, a family of proteins that bind to different fatty acides. One specific receptor was found on immune cells involved in inflammation. This receptor not only binds to omega-3s, but it shuts down most inflammatory pathways!
Wild fish contain higher levels of fatty acid than farm-grown fish. Those with the highest levels, ranging from 1.1% to 1.8%, are salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, herring, lake trout, and mackerel. A second group with slightly lower levels from 0.4% to 0.6% are catfish, river trout, and halibut. The first group, especially, is outstanding as an anti-inflammatory food because the fish are full of omega-3 fatty acids. How much should you eat? You’ll get the most benefit from the first group if you eat four-ounces two to three times a week. To get the same benefit from the second group requires two or three 8-12 ounce servings weekly.
Including fatty acids in your diet will help lower your potential for a number of inflammation related diseases; however, not everyone likes fish. The good news is that fish oil supplements are available. There’s no official dose recommendation for how much fish oil to take when you’re fighting arthritis inflammation. However, one study indicated 1,200 mg of omega-3s daily is just as effective for reducing pain as taking ibuprofen. Since various fish contain different amounts of omega-3s, it’s important to focus on the amount of omega-3s you consume rather than the number of fish oil capsules you take.
Because more than 3 grams of fish oil in a day could cause risks, a doctor should help determine the quantity you take.
There you have it:
Three anti-inflammation supplements that help ease your unwanted pain. There are more, to be sure, but these three are proven effective and they’re all natural. The staff at Texas Spine & Wellness can assist you in developing a regimen of diet, exercise, and the appropriate supplements to help you like moving again
Call our office at (972) 840-2520 We’re here to make your life healthier!