Pain is a common experience that can range from mild discomfort to debilitating agony. A variety of factors, such as injury, illness, or chronic conditions, can cause it.
Approximately 50.2 million adults in the United States suffer from chronic pain; that’s one in every five persons!
While various prescription and over-the-counter drugs are available for pain relief, some individuals may prefer to explore natural alternatives. As a result, dietary supplements are becoming increasingly popular as a natural remedy for pain management.
This article will discuss the different dietary supplements that may help alleviate pain and how to use them effectively. So, let’s get started.
Understanding Dietary Supplements
Dietary supplements are a popular way to help improve or maintain overall health. They come in various forms, from pills and gummies to powders and teas, and can contain a range of ingredients, including vitamins, minerals, and herbs.
For example, Red Borneo Kratom is a dietary supplement popular in the United States for managing chronic pain and depression. They’re sold as capsules, powders, and extracts. It’s derived from an evergreen tree found in Southeast Asia.
Before deciding to take any dietary supplement, it’s essential to understand the facts and potential risks associated with them.
While supplements can help provide essential nutrients that may be lacking in your diet, they are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure diseases.
Also, supplements are not regulated with the same degree of oversight as medications by the FDA.
Products vary greatly in terms of the accuracy of labeling, the presence of adulterants, and the legitimacy of claims made by the manufacturer.
Using Dietary Supplements for Pain Management
With all that said, evidence suggests that certain vitamins and minerals may be beneficial for pain relief, particularly for neuropathic and chronic pain.
If you’re interested in using dietary supplements to help manage pain, here are some supplements to consider for specific pain conditions:
Many people suffer from chronic headaches and migraines, and some dietary supplements have been studied for their potential to reduce their frequency and severity:
- riboflavin (also known as vitamin B2),
- coenzyme Q10,
- ginger, and
- lavender oil.
Riboflavin has been found to be particularly helpful. According to a review of nine studies, taking 400 mg of vitamin B2 per day for three months can significantly decrease the pain associated with migraine attacks and the duration and frequency of these episodes.
Coenzyme Q10 may also help prevent migraine attacks, as a small trial published in Neurology in 2005 showed.
Feverfew has been found to be probably effective in preventing migraines, while ginger powder is as effective as sumatriptan in treating acute migraines without aura in a 2018 clinical trial.
Magnesium may help control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and melatonin can help regulate sleep cycles that chronic headaches can disrupt.
Lavender oil has been found to reduce headache intensity when inhaled or applied topically. It’s also great for boosting your emotional well-being and mental health.
However, it’s essential to talk to your doctor before taking any dietary supplements, even those that seem harmless because the reason for headaches may differ from case to case.
Chronic Low Back Pain
If you’re experiencing chronic low back pain, some dietary supplements might be able to help:
Magnesium: This can be helpful for any painful chronic conditions, including low back pain.
Vitamin D: Being deficient in vitamin D can worsen back pain, so ensure you’re getting enough of this vital nutrient.
Devil’s claw: This supplement can reduce inflammation and swelling that cause pain according to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database reports. It is available in several different formulas.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Taking omega-3s can make other back pain treatments more effective and reduce overall discomfort levels.
Boswellia extract: Made from the bark of the Boswellia tree native to India, this extract can interfere with inflammatory pathways and improve musculoskeletal pain.
It’s worth noting that these supplements work best when combined with other lifestyle choices, such as eating a healthy diet (even when you’re busy), practicing good posture, staying active, and managing stress.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes long-lasting pain throughout the body, as well as fatigue, sleep issues, and problems with memory and mood.
People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain and experience headaches, anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating.
Several dietary supplements have been studied for their potential to help manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
If you’re deficient in vitamin D, taking supplements may help reduce your pain levels, while magnesium can help reduce fatigue and improve your sleep quality.
Some other supplements of natural origin that have been studied for fibromyalgia include –
- S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe),
- black cohosh,
- milk thistle, and
- B vitamins.
It’s important to note that more research is needed to determine the efficacy of these natural therapies, and some supplements may have side effects or interact with medications.
Therefore, it’s recommended that you speak with a healthcare professional before taking any supplement for fibromyalgia.
Neuropathic pain is a type of chronic pain that happens when damage or disease affects the system, allowing you to feel sensations in your body.
This type of pain is often described as a shooting or burning pain and can be caused by nerve diseases that worsen over time. Diabetes is responsible for about 30% of neuropathy cases, according to Cleveland Clinic.
Experts believe that taking certain dietary supplements might help relieve neuropathic pain. These supplements include
- St. John’s Wort,
- vitamin B-12,
- B-6 and other B-complex vitamins,
- alpha-lipoic acid (ALA),
- acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC),
- fish oil, and
This Healthline article shows that some of these supplements may help reduce neuropathic pain symptoms, such as pain and abnormal sensations.
For example, alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to help nerve function and reduce pain, while fish oil can slow the progression of neuropathy caused by diabetes and even repair damaged nerves.
Vitamin B-12 has also been found to be beneficial for treating neuropathy, and calcium might be helpful for nerve pain caused by chemotherapy.
Talk to your doctor before taking any of these supplements, especially if you have diabetes or kidney problems, as some supplements may interact with certain medications or increase the risk of complications.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body, causing joint pain and inflammation in the hands, feet, and wrists.
People with RA have been looking into dietary supplements to reduce their symptoms. Some supplements that have been studied include –
- omega-3 fatty acids (found in tuna, salmon, and other fishes),
- Boswellia (also called frankincense),
- green tea,
- borage oil,
- curcumin, and
- cod-liver oil.
Eating a Mediterranean diet may also help reduce RA symptoms.
Pain is a health condition that can affect people differently and has many different aspects. While many medicines can be used to treat pain, no one-size-fits-all solution works for everyone.
Vitamins and minerals could be a potential option for pain relief, especially for chronic and neuropathic pain.
Even though there is limited evidence to support these nutrients, pharmacists can help patients make informed choices about whether to use them.