Nutritional supplements for herniated discs have been used by many patients for decades as part of conservative care plans. Nutritional products are often targeted directly towards disc pain sufferers, since disc diagnoses represent the most common suspected causes of back pain and are also poorly understood by the general population. Some companies that manufacture and market nutritional supplements prey on this ignorance and have used it to make billions of dollars selling basically scam products.
Individual nutritional supplements may or may not provide any general health benefits. This is not the point of this discussion. Instead, we will focus on why herniated disc patients are singled out to purchase specific types of supplements, as well as the reasons why these recommendations amount to little more than opportunistic health marketing.
This dialog examines the most common types of nutritional supplements for herniated discs. We will explore the potential benefits offered, as well as providing facts to show support or criticism. Our objective in this dialog is to assist patients in separating truth from fiction when it comes to nutritional supplements.
Commonly Used Nutritional Supplements for Disc Pain
Unlike many back pain diagnoses, disc pain is actually targeted by product manufacturers as a condition that should be treated using specific nutritional supplements. This is both due to the relative universality of disc degeneration and herniation in the general public, as well as the generally poor understanding most patients have of their own spinal conditions. To put it bluntly, most people really do not understand herniated discs. Sure, they might know what they are in layman’s terms, but based on the ridiculous ways many patients try to treat them, they have no clue about how herniated discs should be managed. Manufacturers of these supplements are literally banking on this ignorance to the tune of billions of dollars yearly.
Below are listed the most commonly recommended and utilized forms of nutritional supplements for herniated disc patients:
Glucosamine and chondroitin are the first supplements which come to mind. These products have been actively marketed to people with herniated discs since I was a child, more than 40 years ago. These substances are often claimed to have curative properties for disc injuries and are even said to directly help heal herniations when slack laws allow for such nonsense. Meanwhile, there is no objective and scientifically-verified evidence that either substance provides any benefit for herniated discs. None at all…
Vitamins and minerals are commonly claimed to be important to the recovery efforts of herniated disc patients. Once again, there has never been any evidence that an average herniated disc is caused by a vitamin deficiency or that taking additional vitamins or minerals will help to heal what amounts to be one of the universal effects of age and activity: a herniated disc.
Various proteins and amino acids are often used in nutritional supplements and are claimed to be building blocks of new disc tissue. There is no evidence that the body will build or repair new disc tissue, regardless of how much protein is ingested.
Finally, stem cells are all the rage in health supplements and some products contain stem cells that somehow will work magic… They will survive the manufacturing process, packaging, shelf life and the brutal digestive process in order to somehow work their way through the body to the spine and create a new perfect disc structure… Really, do you believe this? Really? I know that desperate people will believe anything, but come on. Learn the facts and defend yourself against the lies.
Nutritional Supplements for Herniated Discs Benefits
We are not here to prove or disprove general health benefits for nutritional supplements. Although most doctors agree that a balanced diet will provide 100% of nutrients that a person will require at any age, some products might provide rewards to some people in certain respects of health. However, they might not. They might also be harmful in just as many cases…
When it comes to disc pain, no nutritional supplement will help to resolve a herniation or decrease symptoms of a pathological herniation. No supplement will undo the effects of time and activity, reversing the degenerative processes in the spinal discs.
Since nutritional supplements are less harmful than drugs, injections and surgery, and since they might still be capable of providing a placebo effect, our only recommendation for potential benefit is that some patients may feel better by conditioned belief using these products. Having this type of placebo cure is best attempted using supplements, compared to more risky interventions like poisonous drugs or barbaric and unnecessary surgery.
Nutritional Supplements for Herniated Discs Downsides
When it comes to downsides of using nutritional supplements specifically for disc pain relief, the major one that comes to mind is the unnecessary financial expense. These supplements can be very costly and this burden can stress patients economically without need. This is especially true when patients purchase directly from opportunistic care providers at high markups. We have known many chiropractors over the years who made 30% of their net income selling supplements. You better believe that they convinced every patient to use these products in order to get better and be healthy… It is borderline criminal behavior!
Some supplements might be dangerous to your health or might interact with other substances, such as herbs, alcohol, OTC, prescription or illicit drugs and even food items. While this is rare, the consequences can be devastating or even fatal, so always speak to your doctor before adding any nutritional supplement into your herniated disc treatment program.
If you are like me, then you will simply be insulted that scam companies really think you are so stupid. Tell them that they are wrong by voting with your wallet. Do not support their predatory lies and hopefully they will eventually crawl back under the rock from which they slithered out from…