4 Natural Alternatives to Paracetamol for Back Pain
Back pain is a common health problem, affecting most people at some point in their lives. It most often involves an aching, burning, tingling, dull or sharp pain in the back that sometimes radiates down the legs. It can be the result of an injury or degenerative disease such as osteoarthritis. For some, back pain is a rare occurrence, but for others, recurring chronic back pain can have major negative effects on all aspects of life. It often means taking time off work or school and can contribute to sleep problems and depression.
A recent review has found that taking the popular painkiller paracetamol is no more effective than a placebo against back pain, and taking it for long periods of time could even lead to liver damage. There are several natural supplements for joints that have shown great promise in treating back pain, with fewer side effects than widely used painkillers.
Glucosamine is a natural compound mussels for glucosamine occurring in connective tissues in the body which assists in lubricating the joints, building cartilage & ligaments, improving flexibility, and helping to maintain the connective tissues. As we get older, the delicate tissues in the joints deteriorate and there is less natural glucosamine present, which can lead to joint pain and limited movement.
There is no dietary source of glucosamine, so supplements are made using animal tissues. There is also a vegetarian version available which is extracted from plant-based sources. Taking glucosamine supplements can help to delay the breakdown of joint cartilage, and may even help to rebuild it. Several studies have found that taking glucosamine can be an effective and safe treatment for osteoarthritis related back pain.
Chondroitin is found naturally in cartilage, where it adds natural elasticity and helps support the smooth working of joints. It is thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect, which could help with pain relief. Chondroitin may also slow the breakdown of cartilage and help to cushion and support the spine & joints. Many people find that using glucosamine and chondroitin together is most effective for pain relief.
Omega 3 Fish Oils
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for human health, and they have a natural anti-inflammatory effect, which can ease the inflammation and pain associated with chronic conditions such as back pain. They are found in oily fish, and some plant-based foods including walnuts and flaxseed. A recent study found that omega-3 fish oil supplements were as effective as prescription anti-inflammatory drugs at reducing pain, and can be safer to take for long periods of time.
Bromelain is a group of protein-digesting enzymes pineapple for bromelainfound in pineapples, which have a long tradition as a medicinal plant among the natives of South and Central America. Bromelain has natural blood thinning and anti-inflammatory properties, and can block the production of compounds in the body which cause swelling and pain. It can also break down fibrin, a protein which can stop fluid from draining from the site of an injury. These properties make bromelain an ideal natural remedy for back and joint pain, particularly in cases where the pain is arthritis-related.