When a person gets injured or has chronic pain there are many traditional treatments and self-help strategies that are employed to help speed up recovery and reduce pain. Some examples of these would be RICE (Rest, ICE, Compression, Elevation), Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and other over the counter medication, topical ointments and visits to the chiropractor, physiotherapist or medical doctor.
Most of the time what gets overlooked, especially in mainstream medicine is the role that nutritional supplementation can play in helping a person both speed up recovery from an injury and help cope with chronic pain. Besides eating an anti-inflammatory, mostly plant based diet there are several nutritional supplements that you may want to consider adding if you are going through injury or pain.
Omega 3 Fish Oil – Omega 3s are considered to be very important for a number of functions of the body and frequently is recognized for its effect on brain function and development as well as cholesterol levels. It also possesses some characteristics that make it an important substance for injury management. Omega 3 fish oil targets pain receptors such as TNF, IL2 and IL6 to reduce pain and also plays a role in reducing inflammation.
Magnesium – I often recommend patients look into magnesium supplementation to help with problems such as muscle cramping, however it also plays a role in pain management. Some magnesium supplements have the problem of not being readily absorbed by the body and therefore being drastically less effective. Magnesium glycinate however is thought to have an absorption rate of over 80% and binds with NDMA which is a prominent pain relieving receptor. Magnesium can also help to improve sleep quality, which in itself is important because a rested body tends to heal much more readily than a sleep deprived one.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D has been a fashionable supplement for several years for a number of cancer prevention, cardiovascular and bone health reasons. It has become perhaps the most important vitamin on the market, especially for us in the Okanagan during our sunless winters. Its role in pain management is that it can help to replenish dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters that are important for feeling of happiness and satisfaction. Decreases in these have been linked with depression.
Tumeric & Bromelain – Both of these supplements are great for natural anti-inflammatory purposes and can be very effective in the management of acute injuries. Tumeric and Bromelain (and they often come together in a blended product) are relatively inexpensive, very safe to take and can markedly reduce inflammation levels in the body to help speed up recovery from sprains and strains. It can also be an useful supplement to take post surgery to reduce associated inflammation.
Always consult with your preferred health care provider when considering making changes to your supplementation regime.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.