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According to the National Ambulatory Medical Care survey, dating from 1980 to 1990, back pain is the 5th most frequent cause for visits to healthcare providers. Chronic back pain and accompanying leg pain are the most expensive healthcare problems and cause of disability for people under the age of 45. The cost of disability compensation for back pain is reaching $50 billion in the U.S. annually.
Some of the causes of back pain include: Arthritic changes in the spine due to normal wear and tear, calcium deposits or bone spurs. These can be caused by, trauma, spinal stress, nutritional deficiencies, genetic factors, disc herniation, rupture, slipped discs, sprains of the ligaments that connect the muscles to the back bone, misalignment of the spinal joints, and repetitive stress such as repeated lifting, twisting, and pulling.
Msm can aid in relieving chronic back pain by reducing the inflammation that surrounds the disc. According to Dr. Stanley Jacob of OHSU : " MSM has an important role to play in the nonsurgical treatment of chronic back pain and should be considered as a partner in any conservative approach, such as chiropractic and acupuncture. Msm won't diminish the size of a protruding disk or eliminate the basic problem; however, it relieves the inflammation around the disc. It is this inflammation that compresses and irritates the root nerve coming out of the spinal cord." Dr. Ronald Lawrence M.D. also states " In my experience, I haven't found it as helpful in cases of advanced disc disease, but I believe it is worthwhile to take anyway as a supportive supplement. Keep in mind that MSM inhibits the transmission of pain impulses along nerve fibers, produces a reduction of inflammation, and reduces muscle spasms. Since inflammation, pain, and muscle spasms are all often involved in these situations, I believe MSM can provide some extra benefits and relief even for severe cases. For these reasons I have made MSM a part of my therapeutic program for patients with herniated discs. My recommendations include gentle exercise, ultrasound, acupuncture, hot baths, massage, Tylenol, and, if needed, mild muscle relaxants."
Msm has a number of pain relieving qualities such as: an anti-inflammatory action, an ability to dilate blood vessels and enhance blood supply (which is believed to speed the arrival of nutrients involved in the repair of damaged tissue), an ability to reduce muscle spasms, and the potential to render the cell membranes more permeable, (which may give greater effectiveness to the body's own pain killers).
Patients that have begun taking msm are reporting back to their physicians, a drop in their pain levels of 50% or more. Patients show accelerated signs of healing, reduced pain and increased range of motion. MSM does not produce any side effects; unlike prescription medications and over the counter pain killers, there are no known drug interactions.