Neck pain and back pain are common problems in our ageing society. There are disc problems as well as issues associated with the small joints of the neck. The common prescribed medications are either not very effective (think paracetamol), or have side effects if taken long term. These side effects include gastric ulcers and heart and kidney issues, particularly with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and COX II inhibitors. Other methods of pain relief include massage and physiotherapy which generally don’t last very long. Minimally invasive pain procedures such as nucleoplasty/annuloplasty/radiofrequency treatment for discs and facet joints which can be effective but has a small risk. Spine surgery with metallic implants under general anaesthesia is a last resort. Instead of trying to treat pain once it has occurred, the focus should be on pain prevention. Everyone should exercise regularly and have a diet that includes fish oil containing omega-3 which can help prevent chronic pain.
Fish oil & Omega-3 fatty acids
There has been a lot of studies done to find alternative cures for neck and back pain. Research shows promising effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the reduction of inflammation in cases of arthritis of big and small joints. Taking fish oils and omega-3 also reduces nerve pain in cases where there is nerve damage or impingement. Some studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids to help in the reduction of degeneration of the discs. This reduces the chance of getting a slipped disc. Other studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids is useful in the treatment for headaches and migraines.
My take on all this is that fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids should be included in a healthy diet, and is likely to have minimal harm. So by all means go ahead and try! At the same time stay fit and healthy with exercise. But be sure to let the surgeon know about that you are on omega-3 fatty acids so that it can be stopped in advance if a surgery is planned, as it may increase bleeding risk during an operation.