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Does Glucosamine Help With Back Pain

What Are Glucosamine And Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin and their effect on joint pain

Glucosamine and chondroitin are structural components of cartilage, the tissue that cushions the joints. Both are produced naturally in the body. They are also available as dietary supplements. Researchers have studied the effects of these supplements, individually or in combination, on osteoarthritis, a common type of arthritis that destroys cartilage in the joints.

More information

Cartilage is the connective tissue that cushions the ends of bones within the joints. In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage between the bones of a joint wears down. This allows the bones to rub together, which can cause pain and swelling and make it difficult to move the joint. The knees, hips, spine, and hands are the parts of the body most likely to be affected by osteoarthritis.

For more information about osteoarthritis, visit the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Web site at For more information on complementary health approaches for osteoarthritis, see the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health fact sheet .

What Else Can You Do To Keep Your Joints Healthy And Free Of Pain

To keep joint pain to a minimum, heres what Dr. Beach recommends:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Practice primarily low-impact exercises to reduce the stress on your joints
  • Work on maintaining or increasing your flexibility and range of motion
  • Keep activestay in motion to keep your muscles strong so they can support your joints
  • Know your limits and dont push through your joint pain

Glucosamine For Low Back Pain From Osteoarthritis

Glucosamine for Low Back Pain from Osteoarthritis?

Abstract & Commentary

Synopsis: A number of studies suggest that glucosamine sulfate may help relieve pain and possibly repair cartilage damage in large joints affected by osteoarthritis. By extension, many patients use glucosamine to treat their chronic nonspecific lower back pain. The results of this study, which includes long-term follow-up, suggest there is little if any therapeutic value of glucosamine for chronic low back pain.

Wilkens P, et al. Effect of glucosamine on pain-related disability in patients with chronic low back pain and degenerative lumber osteoarthritis. JAMA 2010 304:45-52.

Results of research examining the use of glucosamine for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the hip and knee, although at times conflicting, offer promise for the relief of symptoms in some patients. It makes sense that many people would extrapolate that promise to the use of glucosamine for the treatment of lower back pain secondary to degenerative arthritis , the effectiveness of which the authors of this Norwegian double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial set out to investigate.

Another reason for taking note of this study published in one of our more respectable conventional medical journals is that the lead author is a chiropractor, his co-authors being an MD and three PhDs. Further evidence that good science knows no boundaries.

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What Do We Know About The Safety Of Glucosamine And Chondroitin Supplements

  • Studies have found that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements may interact with the anticoagulant drug warfarin . Overall, studies have not shown any other serious side effects.
  • If you take glucosamine or chondroitin supplements, tell your health care providers. They can do a better job caring for you if they know what dietary supplements you use.

Three Tips On How To Keep Your Back Healthy:

Does Glucosamine Work For Back Pain
  • Practice good posture and avoid unnecessary back strain, especially while lifting. Judge the weight of an object before trying to lift it, and get assistance, if necessary. Keep your spine and head upright, and bend deeply at the knees. Make sure to keep the object as close to your body as possible since stress on the lower back increases dramatically when lifting or holding something out and away from your body.
  • Keep your core muscles strong. The muscles in your trunk are responsible for keeping your back and spine in the proper position, at rest and during movement. Abdominal exercises, Pilates classes, stretching and physical therapy are just some of the ways to maintain and improve your strength and muscle tone.
  • Take Supplements. Proper nutrition including supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, Vitamin D, and antioxidants can help give your body the building blocks it needs to stay healthy and keep doing what you love*

For more on the back, and other joints, check out the Healthy Joints section at

Remember to talk with your doctor or health care provider before starting a new exercise program.

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Glucosamine For Low Back Pain: Worth A Try

In osteoarthritis, cartilage in the joints degenerates. Glucosamine is a building block for the molecules from which cartilage is made. The theory behind glucosamine supplements is that taking them will slow or reverse cartilage degeneration.

It’s a popular theory. According to the supplement industry group Council for Responsible Nutrition , 7% of Americans take glucosamine and/or chondroitin, a component of cartilage usually derived from animal or fish cartilage.

And in an editorial accompanying the Wilkens study, Kaiser-Permanente researcher Andrew Avins, MD, MPH, notes that 25% of people with low back pain have tried glucosamine supplements.

Even so, glucosamine is usually taken for kneeosteoarthritis, says Andrew Shao, PhD, CRN senior vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs. Shao notes that low back pain can be caused by a number of things besides osteoarthritis.

“I know the researchers had to include some patients who had some degenerative joint issues in the back, but low back pain is a very broad kind of term. There can be a lot of reasons people experience it,” Shao tells WebMD. “It is a tall order for something to affect such a global condition.”

Shao says it would be premature to conclude that glucosamine has no benefit for any patients with spinal osteoarthritis. But that’s pretty much the take-home message from the study, Avins suggests.

Avins laments that while low back pain is a huge health problem, it gets scant research attention.

Glucosamine No Help For Low Back Pain

Popular Supplement Fails to Help Low Back Pain in Clinical Trial

July 6, 2010 — The popular supplement glucosamine doesn’t help people who have low back pain, a clinical trial finds.

The study looked specifically at 250 people with evidence of osteoarthritis of the spine. All of the patients had at least some disability because of low back pain, but most were still able to work.

For six months, half the patients got 1,500-milligram daily doses of glucosamine sulfate and half got inactive placebo pills, notes study leader Philip Wilkens, MChiro, a research fellow at Norway’s Oslo University.

“There was no benefit of glucosamine compared to placebo,” Wilkens tells WebMD. “You would get the same result from taking sugar pills as taking the real deal.”

On average, patients in both the glucosamine and placebo groups had less back pain and less disability after six months of treatment, and for six months after the end of the study.

Why did both groups improve? Part of the improvement is the placebo effect. That’s the natural tendency of people to feel better when they believe they are being treated. But part of the reason is that patients come to treatment, and to clinical trials, when their condition is at its worst.

“People feel worse when they volunteer. That is a bad period, and it is usually followed by a good period. It’s sort of a natural development of the condition of low back pain,” Wilkens says.

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Glucosamine Chondroitin Msm & Treatment Of Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease isnt actually a disease at all 12. Its a condition that results from a damaged spinal disc. When a disc suffers trauma, its unable to repair itself, allowing its cartilage to begin degenerating. As the disc degenerates, you may begin to experience periodic episodes of pain, some loss in your range of motion and less flexibility in your back. Treatment for this condition often relies on pain medications, physical therapy and surgical procedures. Some people, however, turn to complementary and alternative courses of care. A combination of glucosamine, chondroitin and methylsulfonylmethane is one option. Talk to your doctor before taking these or any other supplement to treat degenerative disc disease 1.

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Natural Supplements That Might Relieve Back Joint And Muscle Pain

Does Glucosamine Chondroitin Actually Work?

Pain in your back, joints, and muscles musculoskeletal pain is caused by a range of lifestyle and genetic factors. Treatments for that pain must be personalized for every patient, based on your level of inflammation, how you experience pain, other health conditions, and current medications.

Creating personalized treatment plans can be simultaneously the most rewarding and challenging aspect of my physical medicine and rehabilitation practice. Several natural, medicinal, and procedural pain treatments are available, and patients respond differently to all of them.

In the U.S., musculoskeletal pain management is beginning to incorporate more Eastern and Ayurvedic medicine, which focus on natural mind and body treatments using exercise, foods, or herbs, as a complement to Western medicine, which treats physical symptoms with medication or surgery.

While anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen can be effective for acute pain, long-term use can cause harmful side effects, including kidney and gastrointestinal damage. Some natural supplements can be highly effective for certain conditions, and some have fewer side effects. However, not all supplements are effective or safe for everyone.

In PM& R, we recognize that you know your body, and we want to help you find a treatment plan that relieves your pain without increasing other health risks. Following are seven natural supplements that our patients have said help them manage inflammatory musculoskeletal pain.

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The Good And Bad Of Glucosamine

A recent report by uncovered that many joint supplements on the market contain lead and other contaminants. In fact, only 50% of the joint supplements tested passed ConsumerLab.coms quality criteria. In addition to harmful chemicals found in glucosamine and chondroitin joint supplements for animals, also found that the levels of glucosamine and chondroitin advertised in the ingredients list were much smaller than advertised. In fact, one joint supplement product only contained 4.5% of the amount of chondroitin advertised, another contained no chondroitin , and another contained arsenic. The scary thing is that many of the products tested are name brands ones that you can buy online from popular pet medicine dispensaries and pet stores.

Even though there is a widely held belief that natural joint supplements are generally safe, you can see why this is not always the case. In a recent report published in The Canadian Veterinary Journal, toxicity levels of the joint supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin were reported when a studying dogs who overdosed. When taking large amounts of joint supplements, many dogs exhibit symptoms of hepatotoxicity. Drs. Irma J. Nobles and Safdar Khan suggest that many of the cases of joint supplement toxicity is because the FDA is not required to regulate herbal supplements for safety.

Does Glucosamine Work

Studies are mixed, but in theory glucosamine can help to slow down cartilage breakdown in your joints, especially your knee, and can reduce pain, Dr. Beach said. There is some evidence that glucosamine can slow the progression of osteoarthritis.However, glucosamine seems to work best when you start taking it earlier, before your arthritis pain gets severe.

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How Does It Work

Glucosamine is found naturally in your body. It plays an important role in making glycosaminoglycans and glycoproteins, which are essential building blocks of many parts of your joints, including ligaments, tendons, cartilage and synovial fluid. Its been suggested that the way these parts of your joint are built and maintained contributes to the development and the progression of osteoarthritis.

Animal studies have found that giving glucosamine can delay the breakdown of cartilage as well as rebuild it.

Do Glucosamine Supplements Work For Arthritis

Glucosamine Chondroitin Turmeric MSM Boswellia  Joint ...

Glucosamine is a popular dietary supplement used to treat osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease caused by insufficient regeneration of cartilage in joints, most often in the knees and hips.

It gets worse over time and causes joint pain, difficulties walking and disability.

There is no known cure, but there are a few ways to potentially slow the process. Many people try to stave off osteoarthritis by taking glucosamine supplements.

But do they really work? This article takes a look at the evidence.

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Glucosamine For Facet Pain

In 2013, a review of published literature was published on the use of glucosamine supplements for chronic low back pain thought to be caused by facet osteoarthritis.ii Aside from one study that reported significant clinical improvement , the authors wrote that based on insufficient data and the low quality of existing studies, its not possible to say if glucosamine has any impact one way or the other.

That said, there is no evidence that glucosamine has harmful effects. If you have back pain and are considering adding glucosamine , we recommend:

  • Discuss this with your doctor or specialist before starting so they can note it in your records.
  • Consult your doctor on diet and exercise, both of which can have a big impact on reducing discomfort naturally.
  • Purchase your desired product from a reputable source, and only buy a well-respected brand. Many products state clinically tested on their labels, but this does often means the manufacturer referred to studies done by others, and not using identical ingredients.
  • Dont expect immediate results. Neither glucosamine nor chondroitin is formulated as an anti-inflammatory. If it works, it may be due to slowing further deterioration rather than actual rebuilding of cartilage, which has not been clinically demonstrated by x-rays or other imaging.

    Chiropractic For Degenerative Disc Disease

    Chiropractic is a complementary treatment to combine with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for degenerative disc disease. Chiropractic alone is very effective for many spine and neck disorders, including degenerative disc disease. It is a natural, non-invasive treatment that does not use medications but instead incorporates lifestyle changes, diet, and exercise recommendations to provide whole body wellness. While chiropractic works very well to treat pain, improve mobility, and increase flexibility, it has actually been proven to stop the progression of degenerative disc disease and even reverse its effects.

    Using chiropractic for degenerative disc disease and combining it with supplements that include glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate is a very effective system for relieving the pain and other symptoms. In several studies, many patients saw improvement and decrease in symptoms faster than patients who used the supplements alone. Combining these treatments is usually the best course of action to help patients suffering from this devastating disease.

    When treating any condition, it is always best to go the most natural route possible. The fewer synthetic substances and manufactured toxins that are introduced into the body, the better chance the patient has of a more thorough and faster healing or at the very least a dramatic decrease in symptoms.

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    Glucosamine & Chondroitin For Back Pain Pros:

    > Many people report joint pain relief with consistent use. Does appear to work for a fair amount of people.> Easy to use> There are many reputable supplement companies to purchase from> Many studies claim overall effectiveness for reducing joint pain & increasing joint range of motion, while many studies show its ineffective for the same> Deemed fairly safe

    If Your Joints Ache Can Glucosamine Help Ease The Pain

    How Does Glucosamine Sulphate help Osteoarthritis

    Joint pain makes almost everything you do more difficult. The stiffness, swelling and aching can start when you get out of bed, worsen as you walk or climb stairs, and even flare up with changes in the weather.

    Youve probably heard people recommend glucosamine as a supplement that can help ease your joint pain. But does it work? Or is it just a waste of your money?

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    Vitamins To Prevent Back Pain

  • News
  • Vitamins to Prevent Back Pain
  • Can you ward off back pain with vitamins? Maybe. Certain vitamins 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 lifestyleyou can usually get plenty of the vitamins you need from the foods you eat. However, sometimes you need to take supplements to ensure youre getting enough of certain vitamins.

    Before taking any new vitamins, ask your doctor if its 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.

    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. Its best to check with your doctor for his or her recommendations of what brands of vitamins that support back pain health.

    A Personal Review Of Glucosamine & Chondroiton For Back Pain Sufferers From Body

    I remember my late grandfather using glucosamine & chondroiton for about 6 months and proudly showing me how he could bend his middle finger all the way down to his palm something he wasnt able to do before. So I have witnessed the effectiveness of this supplement first hand. However, I have never met anyone who claimed it cured their chronic back pain. My guess is that if you could somehow be guaranteed that ALL the nutrients of glucosamine & chondroiton were being fully absorbed into all your connective tissue , including your vertebrae, the benefit to structural integrity would still NOT be enough to overcome the constant throbbing of low & upper back muscles from poor posture. Glucosamine & chondroiton readily absorbs into collagen but has little direct effect on muscle tissue.

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