Many supplements have been found to help reduce pain levels in chronic conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, headaches, and more. Depending on the cause of the pain, combining supplements with herbs can work synergistically, multiplying the effects rather than simply adding to each other.
The Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil capsules can ease the inflammation and pain associated with many chronic conditions. They are now recommended by many doctors to help in the treatment of things like cardiac problems, rheumatiod arthritis, headaches, back pain, nerve pain, depression and asthma. The effect can take several months of regular use to build up to helpful levels, but combining it with ginger and/or turmeric can increase the effects and speed up results.
Many patients with chronic pain have low levels of this vitamin, and studies have shown that chronic pain patients who have a deficiency need increased dosages of opiates to control their pain. Supplementation can reduce the need for opiod pain medications, thus reducing the unpleasant side effects that accompany them and improving quality of life. Vitamin D deficiencies can also result in depression, which can increase pain levels. It seems to be especially helpful in patients with fibromyalgia. Vitamin D supplementation must, however, be monitored; since this is a fat-soluble vitamin that is stored in the body and can build up to toxic levels if too much is taken.
I personally recommend Now Foods Vitamin D3 Soft Gels to increase your vitamin D intake.
Magnesium deficiency is fairly common, since the foods highest in magnesium; like sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds; aren’t eaten very often, and drinking alcohol depletes magnesium. This mineral is necessary for the proper use of calcium in the body, and inadequate levels can lead to muscle weakness and twitching, as well as pain. It has been found particularly helpful in the treatment of fibromyalgia and chronic headaches.
To increase your magnesium intake pick up a bottle of Magnesium Citrate from Now Foods.
Acetyl-L-carnitine and Alpha-lipoic-acid
Studies have shown that both of these nutrients can reduce the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. Acetyl-L-carnitine appears to regenerate damaged nerves and restore sensitivity; while alpha-lipoic-acid appears to slow the progression of nerve injury, and may protect the nerves from further damage. Although there aren’t any studies of their use in other types of neuropathic pain, it seems logical that they might also be useful in the treatment of other kinds of neuropathy.
Studies have shown that SAM-e can be almost as effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis as prescription medications, however, the cost can be an issue. SAM-e can cost as much as $80-$120 a month, none of which is covered by insurance.