There’s no question that untreated pain is the single most important reason that people turn to chiropractic care.
A 2015 Gallup poll found that more than two-thirds of Americans (61 percent) believed that chiropractic care could help treat neck and back pain.1 Furthermore, roughly half of all American adults had seen a chiropractor at least once for some type of pain issue.
The poll also showed that more than 33 million American adults had made one of those chiropractic visits at some point within the previous year.1
You have no doubt seen the exact same pattern within your own practice.
By the time these patients find themselves in your waiting room, they have already gone through countless physicians, medications, treatments and possibly even surgery within the standard medical system, to no avail.
It’s no wonder that they are desperate for relief from pain. Regular chiropractic adjustments certainly can get these patients back on track in terms of getting their joints back into proper alignment, but what else can they do to keep pain free between adjustments?
Below are some supplements that you might consider recommending to your patients for reducing pain.
Curcumin (turmeric) for osteoarthritis
Curcumin is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, which is highly prized in Indian cuisine as the ingredient that gives curry its unique bright yellow color. Curcumin is equally famous as one of the major Ayurvedic medicinal treatments that have been used for centuries to treat pain. It is often recommended for joint pain from osteoarthritis.
An article in the Journal of Orthopaedic Science compared the effect of curcumin supplements to placebo for older patients with knee osteoarthritis.2 The patients were divided into two groups and received either 10 mg/day of curcumin or placebo for a total of eight weeks. Outcome measurements were taken every two weeks.
At the end of the study period, those patients taking curcumin reported significantly less pain and less dependence on more traditional pain medicines, such as the NSAID celecoxib.2
Capsaicin for diabetic peripheral neuropathy
Capsaicin is the active ingredient in peppers that actually provides the heat sensation. Surprisingly, research has also found that it may serve as an excellent treatment for pain, particularly as a topical cream or patch applied directly to the affected area. A study published in BMC Neurology looked at the long-term effect of a capsaicin patch for treating diabetic peripheral neuropathy of the feet.3
A group of 468 patients were randomized to receive 8 percent capsaicin patch treatment (either 30 or 60 minutes per application, as needed) plus standard treatment, or just standard treatment, for diabetic peripheral neuropathy.3
At the end of the 52 weeks of the study, the researchers found that the patch was well tolerated and that those patients who used it did not have any adverse effects compared to the standard treatment alone group. The researchers concluded that capsaicin patches may be a safe, effective long-term treatment for peripheral neuropathic pain associated with diabetes.3
Boswellia for chronic cluster headaches
Boswellia resin extract comes from the boswellia tree. The extract has been used for thousands of years within both African and Asian healing traditions to treat a variety of conditions. A poster presentation of a case series published in the Journal of Headache and Pain looked at the long-term effects of boswellia extract for chronic cluster headaches.4
Four patients who suffered from chronic cluster headaches took a boswellia extract to determine its long-term efficacy in treating pain and improving sleep. Three of the four patients experienced reduced pain at night and improved sleep for a mean of 15 months.4 Although this study was small, the researchers felt it was promising enough to encourage further study with more patients.
While it is certainly true that chiropractic adjustments can help with acute pain, that alone may not be enough to keep your patients free from pain. Adding in supplements can help keep them pain-free between regular adjustments, as well as reduce their pain levels.
- English C, Keating E. Majority in U.S. say chiropractic works for neck, back pain. Gallup Polls, September 2015. Accessed 12/23/2018.
- Nakagawa Y, Mukai S, Yamada S, et al. (2014). Short-term effects of highly-bioavailable curcumin for treating knee osteoarthritis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled prospective study. Journal of Orthopaedic Science, 19(6), 933–939.
- Vinik, AI, Perrot S, Vinik EJ, et al. (2016). Capsaicin 8% patch repeat treatment plus standard of care (SOC) versus SOC alone in painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy: A randomised, 52-week, open-label, safety study. BMC Neurology, 16, 251.
- Lampl C, Haider B, Schweiger C. (2013). Long-term efficacy of Boswellia serrata in 4 patients with chronic cluster headache. Journal of Headache and Pain, 14(Suppl .1), 37.