A Magic Pill?
To treat neck and back pain at home consider taking 1,200 milligrams of fish oil per day. A study published by Joseph Maroon and JeffreyBost in the 2006 Journal of Surgical Neurology had some pretty interesting findings. Joseph Maroon, who is the neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Jeffrey Bost from the Department Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found that in nonsurgical neck or back pain patients participating in the study, 59% of the participants discontinued their use of prescription NSAID medications for pain after 75 days on fish oil. Eighty-eight percent of the participants were satisfied with their improvement and said that they would continue with the fish oil. Basically, these were patients who had ongoing neck and back pain but it was determined surgery was not a treatment option for them.
The results of this study were very eye oepning to say the least
There were no significant side effects reported with the fish oil as with NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), which include extreme complications such as gastric ulcers, bleeding, myocardial infarctions, and even death. The authors concluded that Omega-3 fish oil supplements appeared to be a safer alternative to NSAIDs for treatment of nonsurgical neck or back pain. That’s neck or back-related issues that aren’t requiring surgery. Fish oil works by blocking enzymes in the body that are precursors and inflammatory mediators to pain. These are chemicals that drive the body to experience and feel pain and inflamation.
The US Department of Agriculture has suggested limiting fish (not fish oi) consumption to one serving per week in adults, and less in children and pregnant women, because of the concern of toxic contaminants such as mercury and dioxin. Just eating fish may not be recommended. Fish oil supplements themselves have been found to contain very low levels of these contaminants. For those who cannot take fish oil due to the taste or being on blood thinners, I recommend getting the Omega-3 fatty acids from chia and flax seeds—seeds, not the oils.
Why seeds, not the oils?
The refinery process has been shown to negatively affect the chemical makeup of the Omega-3s when oil is taken out of the seed, and you’re getting a more pure form from the seeds than you would the processed oils.
A few things to consider when taking fish oil
The study recommended at 1,200 mg. per day. Some people may have a sensitivity to the fish oil can divide it up. If it’s easier to split it up into two or three doses throughout the day, then that could be a solution. Also, putting them in the freezer has been shown to decrease some of the indigestion that can go with taking the fish oil supplement. The participants in the study also received a significant reduction in back pain also. Make sure to check with your doctor before taking fish oil or any supplement, especially if you take blood thinners.
If you would like to learn more, I talk more about the bennefits of fish oild and other supplements in my E-book Getting Realief ” A Consumers Guide To Relieving Neck and Back Pain At Home” http://carolinachirocare.com/suffering-from-neck-or-back-pain-get-help-here/
Dr. Jeffrey Gerdes, D.C.