When Your Pain Is Chronic
Chronic pain affects approximately 1 out of every 5 adults in the United States and can cause decreased quality of life for many. Appropriate pain management is essential for people affected by this type of ongoing pain. This is especially true as more information becomes available about the adverse effects of opioid use in the population. Supplements are increasingly being used as an alternative way to manage this type of pain and have shown promise for helping improve quality of life.
People who experience chronic pain have various treatment options, but some are riskier than others. For years, opioids have been commonly used for pain, but doctors are reluctant to prescribe this class since learning about side effects and abuse potential. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are another excellent option for mild to moderate pain, as these medications can help with inflammation. However, NSAIDs can cause side effects such as nausea, stomach pain, and ulcers and can only control pain up to a certain threshold. Non-pharmacological options, including acupuncture, chiropractic care, physical therapy, and regular exercise, may offer relief to some people with chronic pain.
Vitamin C, D and magnesium, oh my!
For people unable to get relief from medications or those who prefer a natural route, using supplements for pain can be appealing. Vitamin C, vitamin D, and magnesium are three vitamins that have shown promise for treating various chronic pain conditions. Vitamin C is thought to work best for treating complex regional pain syndrome, pain from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and orthopedic pain. Adequate levels of vitamin D are essential to maintain since deficiency is associated with causes of chronic pain, including broken bones and depression. Adequate magnesium levels have shown promise in several studies for treating migraines and fibromyalgia.
Getting the right amount
Should all chronic pain patients start taking these three vitamins right away? Information on the effectiveness of supplements in treating certain conditions, like chronic pain, is limited. Taking too much of a certain vitamin also has the potential to cause undesirable side effects. That said, many people can benefit by ensuring adequate amounts of each vitamin are obtained, avoiding deficiency. Individuals interested in taking higher amounts of a vitamin should always discuss the pros and cons with a healthcare provider.
No one size fits all solution
Chronic pain is a complex issue, and there is no one size fits all solution. Although various options are available to help manage pain, not everyone will respond the same to each treatment regimen. Evidence in limited but preliminary data suggests that adequate vitamin C, D, and magnesium levels may help treat chronic pain and improve quality of life.