It seems that back pain is like Justin Bieber: you can’t get away from it no matter where in the country you go, but everyone would like to live a life where it never existed in the first place. Back pain treatments number in the tens of thousands, but many of them are either snake oil in the first place, or they cost so much that you’d rather deal with the back pain in the first place.
Fortunately, while there are supplements for back pain that fall into both of those categories, there are also those that are both effective and easy on the wallet. First, let’s talk about some supplements that don’t work as well as advertised:
Most Single-Ingredient Herbal Supplements for Back Pain Don’t Work
This is unfortunate, but true. With rare exceptions (mentioned below), there are almost no single-ingredient herbal supplements for back pain that contain enough power to make a meaningful dent in a modern American’s back pain.
- Royal Jelly
— all of these things are known to have anti-inflammatory properties, and they help, but that doesn’t mean they actually get rid of your back pain.
ATP Supplements for Back Pain Don’t Work
Many experts claim that adenosine triphosphate (ATP) supplements are excellent for back pain — but scientific studies have repeatedly shown that ATP performs worse than placebos for back pain. That’s not the kind of efficacy anyone should be hunting down.
Antidepressant Supplements for Back Pain Don’t Work
On the assumption that much of American back pain is psychological — which is true according to studies — many people presume that if they attack the underlying stress, they help ditch the back pain. Unfortunately, a series of studies carried out in the UK have shown that antidepressants, whether they’re prescriptions or supplements, have no measurable effect on back pain.
So What Supplements for Back Pain DO Work?
Devil’s Claw Works
One of only two single-substance anti-inflammatory supplements that passed the placebo test — the other was White Willow Back, which is basically Aspirin — Devil’s Claw was surprisingly effective at tackling back pain when taken orally.
Muscle Relaxants Work
Whether it’s valerian, GABA, or a prescription, muscle relaxants help back pain significantly more effective than placebos in a wide variety of studies from across the US and UK.
Multi-Substance Anti-Inflammatory Pills Work
In an interesting twist, while very few single-substance supplements for back pain have been proven to tackle it effectively, a number of studies from the US and Norway have shown that a variety of supplements that combine a variety of anti-inflammatory measures into a single pill — like Inflam-95
— are among the most effective supplements for back pain.
Nerve Blockers Work
Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Lobelia, Skullcap — a variety of nerve blocker supplements were shown to be (slightly) more effective than placebos in a few tests in the USA.
All told, if your back hurts and you want a pill that doesn’t come from a doctor’s visit, your best bets are probably a multi-herbal anti-inflammatory like Inflam-95.