Gary Moller: [DipPhEd PGDipRehab PGDipSportMed(Otago)FCE Certified, Kordel's and Nutra-Life Certified Natural Health Consultant]. ICL Laboratories registered Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and Medical Nutrition Consultant.

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Chronic back pain - spinal decompression and glucosamine



Hello Gary-- I recently came across your website and was pleased to see your article on glucosamine and chondroitin - plus MSM for back pain....I am 33 yrs old and in good shape, but due to my chronic back pain, I have lost enjoyment of life and am really hoping you can guide me in the right direction
I have 2 degenerated/bulging discs now for 13 years at L3 and L4.... i cannot bend forward, twist or many other things I was doing every day....just in the past 3 months it has gotten very bad and have looked into my options......A Dr. here in the states said glucosamine and chondroitin along with 20 treatments on Spinal Decompression would be a great way to relieve my pain, but he wants LOTS of money for this....but I was wondering if you thought the glucosamine and chondroitin and msm alone would be effective w/ out the decompression, and what dosage and I should take......and is there a separate pill for each?? or can i take one that has all three included in one pill
thank you
Brian
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Gary Moller comments:
For an interesting forum about spinal decompression and traction, please go here.

As is obvious from the photos, these computerised machines are pricey to purchase with the consequence that the need to charge big bucks per patient is compelling. Cost appears to be $2-6,000 for a course of about 20 sessions. If you have the money, then give it a go. If money is an issue, I would suggest that you hang onto it. Financial stress, like any form of stress, can make back pain worse. While it may give relief in many cases, I doubt these machines will ever cure a herniated disc and there is little evidence that discs ever heal. Back pain must be managed for life, so it pays to seek ways to set yourself up for ongoing management and there would be few people about who can afford the cost of ongoing courses of spinal decompression.

You might be better off with simple traction devices, like an inversion table, which you own outright for a few hundred dollars and can use for a lifetime. They are also good for general conditioning. I have rigged up a chinup bar in our kitchen. I hang from it like an Orangutan while waiting for the veges to cook. It is a good traction on the low back, straightens the spine, opens up the rib cage and gives you an iron grip! Combine this kind of simple traction with a routine of exercises such as those found in my book on back pain.

A joint nutrition supplement certainly may help. I have used such preparations with occasional dramatic success with herniated discs. It may be that it assists with settling associated problems like an irritated facet joint or two and it certainly makes sense to do anything that strengthens collagen - the substance that holds us together, including what makes up joints (the spine is a series of bone and fibrous joints - collagen). Back problems may throw a lot of stress on other joints like the knees because of all the deep bending, so the joint food may be insurance by helping keep those other joints in good nick.

As far as formulations are concerned, I think you should go for a mix that is made up for you rather than trying to take this or that glucosamine - chondroitin - MSM. I like the powders that are generally much better value than the pills or liquids. Here is the link to my product page for joint food preparations. You could add some daily vitamin C, vitamin E and fish oil to the mix. As with all nutritional support, you can never expect overnight relief. Instead, you are hunkering down for the longterm, just as you are when installing your chinup bar and inversion table.

All the best for the New Year and please let us know how you get on.

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