There are several important aspects to treating back pain. These include: inflammation, muscle spasms, night pain and insomnia.
One key treatment involves reducing inflammation that is partly responsible for the pain. There are several very good anti-inflammatory herbs that have been shown to reduce back pain. One of these herbs is Devil's claw. What is important is the dosage taken. You need to take at least 2 grams of dried secondary root twice a day. This can be in the form of a concentrated extract such as 500 mg of a 4:1 extract (dried herb equivalent = 2 grams). You should not take more than the equivalent of 7.5 grams of the dried secondary root per day. You can find a Devil's claw product at the on-line store at www.wyldeabouthealth.com.
SOme people with back pain also suffer from muscle cramps/spasms in the lower legs. The spasms can be treated using an antispasmodic herb called Skullcap. When you get muscle spasms it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. These are associated with a more severe condition. For example, disc hernias can can lead to this type of condition and it may also affect other lower body functions.
California poppy will be very good for the night pain and insomnia. Keep in mind that it may cause drowsiness. The degree of drowsiness will depend on the dose taken as well as your 'tolerance' to this pharmacological activity. California poppy is an analgesic and it well help relieve the night pain. Its sedative effect will also help you sleep at night. For example, the level of pain typically increases during the day in people with disc hernias and has its maximal intensity at night. People with back pain find it hard to sleep. This is where California poppy will perform very well and even better than some pain killers. What is important is taking in a single dose between 2 and 3 grams of the dried herb top. It is easier to take this amount using a tablet or capsule that is made from a concentrated extract of the herb top. You may find it challenging to take this amount using a tincture.
Keep in mind that rapidly relieving pain involves:
1. rapidly and effectively reducing inflammation
2. blocking pain receptors.
Both of these involve taking a product that has sufficient active ingredient to effectively act on the physiological targets in your body. If the dosage is too low, there will not be enough active ingredients absorbed by your body to achieve this pain relief goal. Also, it is not a quesiton of taking lower amounts over a longer period as the active ingredients tend to have a relatively short half-life in the body. In fact, this is one of the advantages of herbs over drugs.
The anti-inflammatory component to the treatment is critical and only taking an analgesic will probably not relieve your pain. The combination of anti-inflammatory with analgesic (Devil's claw + California poppy) will be a much better alternative.
I always recommend that patients with back pain consult a healthcare professional. In the majority of cases, the patients recover on their own from low back pain and there are no consequences. In other cases, it becomes a chronic condition and there the patient faces several challenges. Living with pain has many implications that impact quality of life as well as your ability to work.
You can buy California poppy from the on-line store at www.wyldeabouthealth.com . The California poppy on this website contains the dosage required for effective pain relief. The brand is EnteriPhyte. It is a concentrated extract and not a liquid. You will find the concentrated extract easier to take than taking a relatively large volume of a 70% ethanol-based tincture. The challenge is taking, in a single dose at night, 2 to 3 grams of the dried herb top. It is important to take the California poppy in a single dose to obtain a sufficient amount to block the pain. Taking smaller amounts over time will not help block the pain.
If you buy products from a naturopathic clinic, they can obtain the EnteriPhyte brand for you. You will find California poppy, Devil's claw and Skullcap in this brand.
If you buy products from a health food store, ask for the CuraPhyte brand. You can also go to www.curaphyte.com to order the products.
If you buy products from a regular pharmacy, ask for the Vitalis brand. You can find this brand at www.wampole.ca .
If you are being treated by a physician, ask the physician to prescribe Pavosic. This brand is also available through pharmacists; it is sold behind-the-counter in pharmacies.
Response by Guy Chamberland M.Sc., Ph.D.