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3 Best Herbs and Supplements to Relieve Back Pain

Relieve back pain with these all-natural herbs and supplements.

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It can come on as suddenly as a summer thunderstorm. One minute you’re reaching over to pick up a shopping bag, the next you find yourself gripped with pain and unable to straighten up.

If your back pain lasts more than three months, it’s considered chronic back pain. Chronic low back pain can stem from numerous causes, such as osteoporosis, muscle or ligament strain, disk problems like a herniated disk, a fractured or slipping vertebra, or even psychological stress. The good news is that most back pain improves within 6 weeks, no matter what you do. The bad news is that once you’ve had any type of back pain episode, you’re likely to have one or more relapses within the year.

If you want to relieve back pain naturally, here are the best three herbs and supplements for the job.

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Natural back pain reliever #1: Devil's claw

Natural back pain reliever #1: Devil’s claw

Our first pick when it comes to herbs and supplements to relieve back pain is devil’s claw (named for its appearance). This bitter-tasting African herb is often used to reduce inflammation. A review of 12 clinical trials found that a liquid formulation standardized to 100 milligrams harpagosides (the active ingredient) or a powder standardized to 60 milligrams harpagosides worked well in alleviating flares of chronic back pain. Follow the package directions that come with this herbal remedy.

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Natural back pain reliever #2: Capsaicin patch

Natural back pain reliever #2: Capsaicin patch

Capsaicin is the ingredient that gives hot peppers their heat. It works by depleting a chemical called substance P (P is for pain) from the nerves in the skin, short-circuiting the transmission of pain signals from those nerves to the brain. Use this natural remedy as directed; keeping the patch on too long could cause skin irritation.

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Natural back pain reliever #3: Vitamin B12

Natural back pain reliever #3: Vitamin B12

We’ve found good results with one vitamin B12 shot every other week for 6 weeks (a total of three shots). If that provides relief, then talk to your doctor about an oral B12 vitamin supplement you dissolve under your tongue. In one study, 60 people who had severe low back pain for 6 months to 5 years received either the B12 shot or a placebo. While both groups reported a sharp decrease in pain (the placebo effect is generally high in chronic pain studies), the group receiving the B12 shots had less pain and took far fewer pain relievers than the placebo group. We’re not entirely sure how it works, but we do know that B12 affects nerves and the transmission of signals along those nerves.