Can you ward off back pain with vitamins? Maybe. Certain vitamins (as you’ll read about below) may have the potential to ease back pain and inflammation that can be associated with a host of spine conditions, including spinal osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Of course eating a healthy diet is an important way to support an overall healthy lifestyle—you can usually get plenty of the vitamins you need from the foods you eat. However, sometimes you need to take supplements to ensure you’re getting enough of certain vitamins.
By supplementing healthy eating with some key vitamins, you may be able to prevent back pain from getting worse.
Before taking any new vitamins, ask your doctor if it’s safe to do so. He or she will recommend how much you should take as well as how frequently to take the vitamin. You may need a higher dose of a particular vitamin, depending on how deficient you are in that vitamin and/or how efficient your body is at absorbing that vitamin.
To test for a vitamin deficiency, your doctor can order a simple blood test.
Vitamins for Back Pain Below are some vitamins that are helpful in boosting back health.
- Vitamin B3—also known as niacin and —may improve the pain-relieving effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This vitamin may also help maintain a healthy nervous system—important for many spine conditions. Some foods that contain Vitamin B3 include fish, beets, and peanuts.
- Vitamin B12 is typically known as the vitamin that can amp up your energy, but it also helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA. A 2000 study on vitamin B12 and low back pain found that taking this vitamin may help ease back pain, too. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health, foods that are rich in vitamin B12 include beef liver, clams, fortified breakfast cereals, wild trout, and salmon.
- Vitamin C—sometimes referred to as ascorbic acid—may decrease the risk of the progression of osteoarthritis and back pain by repairing tissues and reducing inflammation. It also works to keep your immune system strong and accelerate the healing process. Vitamin C helps protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals—molecules responsible for aging and tissue damage. Examples of free radicals in the environment are air pollution and cigarette smoke. Foods abundant in vitamin C include citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, etc), and other fruits and vegetables such as red peppers, broccoli, and strawberries.
- Vitamin D is an important nutrient that builds strong bones and aids with calcium absorption (essential in preventing osteoporosis). It can also help maintain a healthy immune system and alleviate back pain by decreasing inflammation in your body. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, and fortified foods such as fortified breakfast cereals, breads, and milk.
- Vitamin E may help ease back pain and soreness because it works by helping to repair damaged tissue. This vitamin also boosts immune system function, improves circulation, and aids in the healing process. Foods loaded with vitamin E include wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and almonds.
Many of the vitamins and other dietary supplements you find in your grocery store do not undergo strict standards to obtain US Food and Drug Administration approval. It’s best to check with your doctor for his or her recommendations of what brands of vitamins that support back pain health.
Source: www.spineuniverse.com; Julie M. Gentile; August 17, 2011