Herniated discs can create back, neck, arm or leg pain in individuals who have them. Herniated discs -- may also be referred to as slipped or ruptured discs. A disc -- composed of cartilage and a gel-substance that acts to cushion your vertebrae -- becomes ruptured when the gel-portion of the disc pushes through, placing excessive pressure on your nerves. While herniated discs should be examined by a doctor, vitamins may be able to help reduce pain caused by herniation.
Vitamin K is important in allowing a herniated disc to heal. Found in leafy green vegetables, liver, cheeses and soy products as well as in supplements, vitamin K plays an important role in the healing of bones, bone formation and in the synthesis of osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is a bone protein need to crystallize calcium throughout your body. Vitamin K can help to bind calcium to your discs and vertebrae. An injury -- such as a herniated disc -- can cause vitamin K levels to fall. This is because vitamin K binds to the injured site in an effort to help you heal.
Vitamin D is found in liver, egg yolks, saltwater fish and in fortified products, such as milk or cereal. You can also obtain vitamin D through sun exposure or through supplementation. Vitamin D is essential in helping your body to properly absorb and use calcium. Calcium helps to keep your bones and spine strong. Without calcium, you are at an increased risk for injury. Without vitamin D, your body begins to use the calcium that would normally promote the health of your skeletal system elsewhere in the body.
Vitamin C is an immune system-building vitamin. Packed with antioxidants, vitamin C works as an anti-inflammatory agent that can help to reduce pain and inflammation caused by a herniated disc. Vitamin C also helps to produce collagen -- the protein necessary for developing strong, healthy bones and ligaments. Vitamin C can be found in a variety of food products you consume regularly, including citrus fruits, strawberries, berries, kiwis and red peppers. Vitamin C can also be supplemented.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin contained in a wide variety of foods. Food sources include nuts, corn, seeds, wheat germ, kale, soybean oil, olives and spinach. Vitamin E can also be supplemented. Vitamin E helps to boost the function of your immune system. It can also help to reduce muscle pain and soreness that may be associated with a herniated disc. This vitamin helps to produce red blood cells and improve circulation. Vitamin D also aids in the healing process of damaged tissues.
- "The Vitamin Book"; Harold M. Silverman, Joseph Romano and Gary Elmer; 2003
- KidsHealth.org: Vitamins; Mary L. Gavin, MD; Jan. 2011
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Herniated Disk; July 2007