Natural Remedies for Neck Pain
Numerous herbal remedies and nutritional supplements are available as neck pain treatments and to calm inflammation, including some with specific activity in the joints and connective tissues. Some patients may think that as these remedies are ‘just herbal’ or all ‘natural’ there are no problems taking them alongside conventional medicines or in the presence of
Herbal Remedies for Neck Pain
For neck pain patients are likely to find some relief in using gels applied to the specific problem area. Gels generally absorb better than creams and penetrate deeper into tissue to reduce pain and inflammation. Capsaicin from chili peppers is a common ingredient used in pain relief gels and can stimulate circulation to the affected area to promote healing. Another ingredient in these kinds of gels is devil’s claw, which can also be taken internally.
Devil’s claw is an anti-inflammatory herbal remedy made from the secondary roots of the ‘grapple plant’ or harpagophytum procumbens. It has this name due to the claw-like hooks surrounding the plant’s fruits. The active constituents in devil’s claw are thought to be the harpagosides and so a standardized extract is likely to be more effective than a simple whole herb extract. Standardized extracts are usually more expensive but will have a significantly stronger impact in terms of reducing inflammation and pain. Devil’s claw can also help to alleviate fever and gastrointestinal problems and may be useful post-surgically to assist recovery.
Another traditional pain-relieving remedy is white willow bark, which is the original source of salicylic acid (aspirin). Herbs such as meadowsweet also contain this chemical and, unlike the synthetic version which can irritate the stomach and cause internal bleeding, these plants are much more easily tolerated by sensitive patients requiring relief from pain and inflammation.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are highly popular supplements used to alleviate pain and inflammation, aid recovery of joint and connective tissue, and stave off degeneration of bones and joints. These substances occur naturally in the joints but rely on the body keeping up with consumption demands in order to maintain healthy tissues. In the face of extra stress, from acute injuries or chronic problems like poor posture, heavy lifting and twisting, the demand for these substances may outstrip supply leading to degeneration of bone and joint tissues.
More information can be found on these substs here Glucosamine for back and neck pain. including details of what they are, and are not, suitable for and the available research to support their use for neck pain and back pain patients. MSM (Methylsulphonylmethane) is often found in combination with glucosamine and chondroitin and has both a pain-relieving and anti-infammatory action. It is also particularly useful in acute injuries as the sulphur component provides a substantial building block for the protein synthesis that occurs in any successful recovery of the soft tissues.
The supplement 5-HTP may also provide some relief from pain related to fibromyalgia or fibrositis, but can interact with other medications, particularly any antidepressant medications often used in low doses for nerve pain relief. Applying caution in using this and all the other supplements mentioned is, of course, paramount. Please always remember to consult your physician before trying any treatment options.
Last Updated: 9/10/2010