A herniated disc can wreak havoc on your body. It’s a pain in the butt, the hip, the back and the neck. While natural remedies won't cure a herniated disc, an article in the December 2017 issue of Journal of Osteoporosis noted that dietary and vitamin supplements can improve bone health, and like every other tissue, healthy bones heal better.Don't ignore your aching back because you think it's a symptom of getting older. Leaving a herniated disc untreated increases the pain, eventually damaging the nerve and in rare cases causing permanent damage, says the Mayo Clinic. Plenty of natural remedies for herniated disc are available, so take action and help your body heal.
Try Alternative Treatments
According to an article in the Biores Open Access November 2015 issue, most people's response to developing a herniated disc is to seek surgery or symptom mitigation. However, neither of these options offers a solution to the problem. The good news is that the body has the ability to heal itself, and that's where supplements for your herniated disc come in. They won't cure you, but they can help support the body's self-healing processes.
Vitamin D for Herniated Discs
A September 2015 article in Journal of Bone and Mineral Research noted that vitamin D is one of the best supplements for a herniated disc. Vitamin D is effective because, as an article in Trials Journal April 2014 issue reports, your spine has actual vitamin D receptors, which means it's what your spine craves. In fact, studies on the impacts of vitamin D supplements and spine health have shown a decrease in pain and sensory deficits.
Vitamin D is already essential for your health. An easy way to increase vitamin D in your diet is to eat more fatty fish, dairy products and egg yolks. For vegans, mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D. They're also packed with other nutrients, such as fiber, protein and potassium, all of which are essential to your health.
Read more: Foods with High Vitamin D
Add Glucosamine to Your Diet
Glucosamine is an important component of the glycosaminoglycans (GAC) that make up your spine's discs and cartilage, according to an article in the August 2014 Orthopedic Research Society. GACs improve elasticity and flexibility of the spine when hydrated. While hydration won't necessarily heal a herniated disc, it may prevent further damage.
As the body ages, it falls victim to dehydration, and the spine is no exception. In the Orthopedic Research Society glucosamine study, it was found that dehydration increases the spine's brittleness and the probability for damage. Glucosamine's ability to enhance hydration is what makes it beneficial to a herniated disc.
There are lots of foods full of glucosamine that you can add to your diet. One of the most common sources is shellfish, but if you're looking for a more savory way to get your glucosamine, bone marrow is a great source.
Reduce Inflammation in Your Spine
Not only does glucosamine help hydrate your herniated disc, but it's also been found to inhibit inflammation production, according to the 2014 Orthopedic Research Society study. Unlike other anti-inflammatories, glucosamine doesn't have harmful side effects, making it better than NSAIDs.
Stay Hydrated for Spine Health
The lesson of glucosamine is that hydration goes a long way toward spine health. It stops the bones from becoming brittle and increases elasticity. There's evidence that if hydration reaches a herniated disc, it can be beneficial in healing.
You might think that staying hydrated is all about drinking water, and, in fact, women need about 2.7 liters and men need 3.7 liters of water daily to stay hydrated. But that's not the only factor in the equation.
Kidney Stone Disease, edited by David A. Schulsinger, explains that fruits and vegetables are an integral part of staying hydrated. Electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium, also help maintain hydration, according to a May 2014 article in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.
Read more: How to Hydrate When Dehydrated
Vitamin C for Herniated Disc
Vitamin C is imperative for bone health, and inadequate levels of vitamin C may lead to scurvy, which causes bone pain. This tells you that vitamin C helps to keep bones healthy and can mitigate pain. But that's not all that it does.
Vitamin C's role in spine development and maintenance was explored in a September 2015 Journal of Bone and Mineral Research article. The researchers found that vitamin C deficiency increases the risk of injury, and in severe cases, causes osteoporosis. While vitamin C won't heal a herniated disc, it strengthens bones and assists the spine in healing. At the very least, it will help protect you from further injury.
Before you start picking out a vitamin C source, make sure you know the right vitamin C dosages for adults.
Vitamin A Improves Calcium Absorption
It turns out that balancing vitamin A can be more complicated than it seems. A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to impaired calcium absorption, according to Harvard Health Publishing. It's also an essential vitamin for the building blocks of your bones, which means you need vitamin A for healthy bones. Healthy bones heal better, making vitamin A an essential vitamin for encouraging your body's healing.
While vitamin A toxicity is rare, be sure to review proper dosages and symptoms of too much vitamin A. As always, it's essential to discuss any new supplements with your doctor before adding them to your regimen.
Is This an Emergency?
- Journal of Bone and Mineral Research: The Roles and Mechanisms of Actions of Vitamin C in Bone: New Developments
- Mayo Clinic: Herniated Disk
- Journal of Osteoporosis: Nutritional Aspects of Bone Health and Fracture Healing
- Biores Open Access: Tissue Engineering a Biological Repair Strategy for Lumbar Disc Herniation
- Trials: Role of Vitamin D3 in Treatment of Lumbar Disc Herniation—Pain and Sensory Aspects: Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial
- Journal of Orthopaedic Research: Glucosamine Protects Nucleus Pulposus Cells and Induces Autophagy via the mTOR‐Dependent Pathway
- Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism: Maintaining Hydration With a Carbohydrate–Electrolyte Solution Improves Performance, Thermoregulation, and Fatigue During an Ice Hockey Scrimmage
- Harvard Health Publishing: Vitamin A and Your Bones
- Google Books: Kidney Stone Disease