The bark of the willow tree has been used for centuries for
pain relief and fever reduction. The principal active ingredient
in willow bark
is salicin, a compound from which aspirin is derived. However,
unlike aspirin (and many other pain-relieving medications),
natural salicin is not associated with any adverse effects
such as gastrointestinal discomfort or bleeding.
Many low back pain (LBP) sufferers take aspirin and other
pain-relieving medications to combat their pain. Herbal remedies
have been suggested as effective alternatives because of their
relatively low incidence of side effects. In a study designed
to evaluate the effectiveness of willow bark extract in managing
LBP, 210 patients received low-dose (120 milligrams of salicin)
or high-dose (240 mg) extract or placebo for four weeks. A
pain medication (“tramadol”) also was provided for all patients
if necessary during the study period.
Of 191 patients completing the study, 39% of the high-dose
group and 21% of the low-dose group reported being “pain-free”
after four weeks, defined as having no pain for at least five
days without the use of tramadol. Only 6% of the control group
achieved such success, leading the authors to conclude that
willow bark extract “may be a safe way for patients to diminish
LBP compared to other drugs, especially when considering the
low incidence of reactions.”
Talk to your doctor about the dangers of over-the-counter
and prescription medications, and find out about the many
nonpharmaceutical alternatives currently available for treating
back pain and a variety of other conditions.
If you’re suffering from back pain or would like to prevent
back pain before it strikes, schedule and appointment with
a doctor of chiropractic. You can also access information
on line at http://www.chiroweb.com/find/tellmeabout/backpain.html.
Chrubasik S, Eisenberg E, Balan E, et al. Treatment of low
back pain exacerbations with willow bark extract: a randomized
double-blind study. American Journal of Medicine 2000:
Vol. 109, pp9-14.
For additional information on nutrition, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/nutrients.html