Supplements for Pain Management

Sooner or later, we all suffer from aches and pains, perhaps due to injury, stress, pinched nerves or disease. Beyond a host of pharmaceutical agents, there are some natural pain killers that can provide some relief.

White willow bark (sometimes referred to as nature's aspirin) and ginger are herbs that act on prostaglandins, the natural hormone-like compounds that cause inflammation and pain. Bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapple, seems to reduce swelling, promote blood circulation, speed recovery and relieve pain. Peppermint oil may dull nerve endings that send pain signals throughout the body. Thiamin plays a role in building the sheaths that cover nerves, which can help relieve pain. Here are some other suggestions for more specific sources of pain.

Arthritis is caused by the erosion of the protective cartilage around the joints. This wear and tear can lead to the stiffness and pain associated with osteoarthritis and the debilitating inflammation of surrounding tissues associated with rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disorder). Glucosamine helps build cartilage and has had some success at treating arthritic pain. Niacinamide, a form of niacin, may also help this condition - particulary with knee pain.

Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc are important nutrients to combat cell damage, and essential fatty acids like fish oils and evening primrose oil can decrease inflammation. A topical application of cayenne cream can also help with arthritis pain.

Back pain is an all-too-common complaint brought on by poor posture, sedentary lifestyles, injury and the like. Vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and manganese are vitamins and minerals that strengthen bones and cartilage and can help with this pain. Glucosamine builds the tissue that supports spinal disks, and flaxseed oil, an omega 3 fatty acid, has anti-inflammatory properties that may lesson back pain.

Be they tension, vascular or migraine headaches, pain north of the neck can interfere with your ability to function and enjoy life. Eye strain, jaw alignment, weather changes, sinusitis, stress, hormonal fluctuations, head injury, sleeplessness and food sensitivities can all trigger this mild to debilitating form of pain. Maintaining adequate levels of calcium and magnesium along with vitamin C and the B vitamins can help with some headaches.

The frequency and severity of migraines, in particular, may be remedied by regular doses of the herb feverfew, which has anti-inflammatory properties. 5-HTP is a building block of the neurotransmitter serotonin, low levels of which seems to play a role in migraine headaches. The B vitamins riboflavin and pantothenic acid may also help this condition.

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