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The £1 Supplement That May Be Better Than Pain Killers for Back Pain

Most of our clients at HT Physio are extremely health conscious and HATE to take pain killers! They will look for alternatives to prescription medication whenever they can, knowing that natural methods are often as effective and less harmful than the drugs prescribed by their doctor. Today, we are going to talk about a “super-food” supplement that you can get from most supermarkets that may be MORE effective for back pain than prescription medication.

What’s the Problem with Pain Killers for Back Pain?

While pain killers do undoubtedly help some people get relief from back pain, they also come with a whole host of problems.

For a start, opioid pain killers (like codeine and Oramorph) can be addictive. They can also put stress on the liver during their transit through the body.

One of the most commonly prescribed families of medication for back pain are anti-inflammatories. These include drugs like ibuprofen, Naproxen and Diclofenac. These drugs are known to cause potentially serious adverse effects, including stomach ulcers, gastric bleeding, heart attacks and even death.

What’s more, the people we help at HT Physio who suffer from back pain are often sick to death of taking pills that make them feel awful! Long-term use of pain killers can have a psychological effect as well as a physical one. People get in contact with us all the time asking us to help them get off pain killers once and for all.

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So, What’s the Supplement That Might Be a Better Alternative?

There is research to suggest that Omega-3 Fish Oils containing essential fatty acids may well be as, if not more, effective than traditional anti-inflammatory medication for back pain caused by disc bulges and degeneration, according to the journal Surgical Neurology.

It has been shown that Omega-3 supplements have the potential to reduce the inflammatory response within the body. It’s important that we control inflammation for people with back pain and sciatica, to allow proper healing to occur.

 

What Did the Research Say?

The paper was published by two neurosurgeons who opted to recommend high doses of Omega-3 fish oil supplements as an alternative to traditional anti-inflammatories for their patients who complained of back or neck pain.

The researchers recommended that the participants in their study consumed 1200mg of Omega-3 fish oil per day. As most Omega-3 supplements come in 300mg capsules, this is the equivalent of around 4 capsules.

The results were measured after an average of 75 days and were astounding:

  • 59% of individuals had decided to stop taking their prescription pain medications because their symptoms had reduced so much.
  • 60% stated that their overall pain had significantly improved.
  • 80% of people in the study said that they were satisfied with the results they had seen.
  • 88% of people in the study said that they would continue to take the Omega-3 fish oil supplement.
  • Perhaps most importantly – no subjects reported any adverse effects as a result of the Omega-3 supplement.

 

When you compare the results of this study to those of the usual pain killer trials, there are usually multiple adverse effects reported and less of a positive effect observed.

In my humble opinion, I would seriously consider Omega-3 as one of the most important supplements for people with back pain or sciatica – as well as the general population. The reason for this is partly because of the positive effects Omega-3 can bring and partly because most of us fail to consume enough Omega-3 as part of our normal diets.

 

How to Get More Omega-3 Into Your Diet

You’ll probably have realised by now that everything we do to and put into our bodies can either hinder us or help us recover from an injury!

It is a good idea to be aware of foods that contain high levels of Omega-3, as most of the foods containing Omega-3 are also beneficial to the body in other ways too.

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  • Oily fish – not surprisingly, oily fish contain a high concentration of Omega-3. Fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines are full of Omega-3, but you can still get some of this nutrient in white fish too.
  • Nuts – walnuts, cashew nuts and almonds all contain high levels of Omega-3.
  • Green leafy vegetables – packed with vitamins and minerals, green leafy veg is an essential part of any diet.

 

How to Choose a Great Omega-3 Supplement

Obviously, it is possible to consume enough Omega-3 in your diet to have the desired effect of pain relief along with other benefits, such as improved energy levels and joint health.

However, for most people, an Omega-3 supplement is an easy and convenient way to include more of this powerful super-nutrient in your diet.

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The British Dietician’s Association recommends looking for supplements that explicitly state “Omega-3” rather than “Cod Liver Oil”.

They also recommend that the general population limits their Vitamin A content to below 1500ug/day. Check the label of your supplements and consult a dietician for advice on how to maintain this guideline.

The BDA also recommend that everyone consumes at least 2 portions of oily fish per week.

To get the pain-relieving benefits of Omega-3 supplements like the participants in the previously mentioned study, you might want to try capsules containing 1000mg of Omega-3, like these ones here.

 

What Else Can I Use for Back Pain Relief?

Beginning Omega-3 supplementation isn’t the only change you can make that may have a positive effect on your symptoms!

For most people with back pain, a proper assessment and treatment plan will be the key to taking them out of pain and back to the things they enjoy.

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Why not take our 100% free Back Pain Injury Severity Assessment and have your results analysed by a leading back pain expert? You can access the assessment and take the 2 minute quiz by clicking HERE. 

If you’d like to schedule a free telephone consultation with a specialist with no obligation to book and appointment, you can click HERE.

 

Summary

I hope you found this information and the reflection on the research study as interesting as I did! What are your experiences with Omega-3 supplements? Have you tried them before? Let us know in the comments section below!

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