Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Neck PainEven the most cursory investigation into natural remedies for neck pain will turn up mentions of glucosamine and chondroitin, but do these substances really help relieve the problems of chronic pain in the neck and back? Recent research seems to show that in those suffering from joint pain induced by aromatase inhibitors they might do, but the data on the general use of glucosamine for neck pain is somewhat limited.
What are Glucosamine and Chondroitin?
Understanding what glucosamine and chondroitin are can help us see how they may have a use for joint degeneration and the pain such breakdown and dysfunction can cause. Both glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally-occurring substances that can be found in cartilage and they act as shock absorbers or cushions in the joint tissue. These two substances are long-chain glycosaminoglycans, formed from glucose and the amino acid glutamine in order to repair and form cartilage. The metabolism of new glycosaminoglycans appears to slow down as we age, meaning that joint damage accumulates as it cannot be repaired at the necessary rate. Extra stress on the joints promotes this degradation, as does inflammation and dehydration, along with other factors such as dietary insufficiencies, and smoking, which can affect collagen synthesis.
How Glucosamine and Chondroitin Relieve Neck Pain
Glycosaminoglycans such as glucosamine and chondroitin have a restorative effect on the joints, are anti-inflammatory, and also draw moisture into the joints and synovial fluid, thus cushioning the movements of the body and limiting further damage. The positive benefits that people may experience when taking glucosamine and chondroitin may not, therefore, be due to the direct application of the substances to repairing the joints but could be due to a systemic dampening of inflammation, such as is achieved by NSAIDs or other anti-inflammatories.
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Last Updated: 12/16/2011