The amazing spine, coupled with its array of tendons and muscles, enables humanity to defy gravity and walk tall. It is fundamental to give the body structure, support and flexibility and the lumbar spine is responsible for weight distribution, balance and shock absorption. The spinal column is essential for everyday life so when back pains strikes it can become very debilitating. It is estimated that between 70 and 80% of adults experience back pain, especially in the lumbar region, at some stage in their lives. In fact, lower back pain is the top cause of disability in people under 50 and the challenge is finding the right treatment approach.[1]

Acute vs Chronic Back Pain

Back pain is broadly considered as either acute or chronic. Acute back pain can be caused by accidents, injuries or strains of pain sensitive structures such as the disk, facet joints, spinal musculature and ligaments.[2] Fortunately, most cases of acute back pain are relatively short-lived as normal connective tissue generally heals within 6-12 weeks but if the pain persists for over 3 months it is considered chronic.

Common Types of Chronic Pain

There are many kinds of back pain and the vast majority are mechanical in nature, including conditions such as osteoarthritis, spondylosis, spinal stenosis and herniated discs. Cumulative chronic pain is often caused by bad posture, long periods of sitting hunched over a keyboard or repeated movements that produce strain, particularly in the workplace. Back pain may also be related to irritation or compression of nerves such as that found in sciatica pain which is experienced as a nagging ache down the leg. It is also important to consider that back pain may in fact be pain referred from internal organs such as the kidneys and prostate. For this reason, it is vital to have a thorough examination to gain an accurate diagnosis.

Dealing with Inflammation

Pain, on a molecular level, is a biochemical consequence of an inflammation response in the body.[3] This inflammation can be beneficial in the short term as it assists with repairing injured tissue but chronic inflammation activates protein-dissolving enzyme systems which can eventually lead to degradation of spinal components such as the cartilage, bone, intervertebral discs and ligaments.[4] If repeated or consistent inflammation is left untreated, over time degenerative spinal disease, constant pain and loss of function may result. It is evident that chronic back pain needs to carefully managed and the correct approach is needed.

Treatment Strategies

Common approaches for treating back pain include the use of medication, physical therapy, exercise, chiropractic intervention and sometimes even surgery in severe cases. Current pharmaceutical treatments rely largely on the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory medication. The problem is that these drugs are known to cause side effects and health risks, especially if taken on an ongoing basis. [5] Chronic pain and inflammation needs to be addressed with an effective strategy, with minimal side-effects, that enables sufferers to become less reliant on anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics.

What Makes Plant-based Medication Unique

It is estimated that more than 35,000 plant species are being used for medicinal purposes around the world. An increasing number of conventional medications are actually based on natural substances and 10-25% of prescribed drugs contain at least one plant-derived active ingredient. Studies of the biochemistry of the plant kingdom have revealed that plant-extracts contain unique phytochemical molecules called phytoalexins which have been shown to boost the immune system and activate biological repair processes to heal damaged tissue at the site of pain.[6]

Boswellic Acid

Boswellia bark extract from Indian Frankincense has been used medicinally for centuries but it has gained scientific attention recently because evidence shows that these phytoalexins have significant anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-arthritic properties for documented pain reduction and improved joint mobility. [7] Unlike many anti-inflammatory drugs, boswellic acid usually doesn’t cause gastro-intestinal problems, instead it can have an anti-ulcer effect.

Resveratrol

This phytoalexin is produced by several plant species as a defence mechanism against microbial and fungal infection. Low concentrations occur in several edible plants such as cranberries, mulberries, peanuts and grape skins. [8] Research has indicated that resveratrol has significant anti-inflammatory benefits for neurological tissue such as the brain, brainstem and spinal column and few side effects have been reported. [9]

RheumaLin – Your Natural Anti-inflammatory Solution

RheumaLin combines these plant-extract benefits into one solution that combats inflammatory back, neck and joint pain. With it’s low side-effect profile, this supplement is safe to use on a regular basis and can be combined with most pain and anti-inflammatory medication when needed.

Be kind to your spine with RheumaLin

References:

  1. http://reference.medscape.com/features/slideshow/backpain#page=1
  2. Frymoyer JW. Back pain and sciatica. N Engl J Med. 1988 Feb 4. 318(5):291-300
  3. Medzhitov, R. (2008) Origin and physiological roles of inflammation. Nature 454, 428–435 2
  4. Vaday GG, Lider O. Extracellular matrix moieties, cytokines, and enzymes: dynamic effects on immune cell behavior and inflammation. J Leukoc Biol. 2000 Feb;67(2):149-59.
  5. Cheng, H.F. and Harris, R.C. (2005) Renal effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors. Curr. Pharm. Des. 11, 1795–1804 12
  6. Coutaux A, Adam F, Willer JC, Le Bars D. Hyperalgesia and allodynia: peripheral mechanisms. Joint Bone Spine. 2005 Oct;72(5):359-71.
  7. Ammon HP. Modulation of the immune system by Boswellia serrata extracts and boswellic acids. Phytomedicine. 2010 Sep;17(11):862-7.