Pain Relief: 5 Essential Nutrients to help reduce pain

Author: Emily Seddon   Date Posted:19 August 2016 

Pain! What is it good for?

We’ve all experienced it during our lives, whether it be joint pain, back pain, headaches or period pain. While it’s not something we enjoy, it is actually good for something. The presence of pain often is an indication that something is wrong and spurs on some action to find out what is causing it, enabling us to fix it for good! That doesn’t mean you need to put up with it for long though!

Depending on its origin and how often it is occurring, there are many options to help reduce both acute and chronic pain. It’s important to investigate what is causing chronic pain if you have been suffering for long periods of time.

Last year, we reported on different herbal remedies for pain. We have now created a list to give you some info on nutrients to consider to help reduce pain or use in conjunction with those herbal remedies.


Fish Oil:

Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids, known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and have numerous and various beneficial effects for our health. One of their actions is competing for place in the COX and LOX pathways, ultimately reducing the production of inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes which cause pain and prolong recovery times.

In short, studies show fish oil supplementation may produce pain relief in:

  • Discogenic back and neck pain.
  • Mild osteoarthritis.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease and dysmenorrhea (painful periods).
  • Chronic headaches.


Don't eat fish? Don't worry! There are plant based sources of omega-3 fatty acids too. Try chia seeds, flaxseeds or flaxseed oil, mustard seed, walnuts and seaweed.



Glucosamine has been shown to reduce mild osteoarthritis pain, reduce pain associated with mild arthritis and slows mild osteoarthritis progression by enhancing the quality and function of joints. Long term supplementation of glucosamine does this by helping to slow the destruction of articular cartilage, suggesting that glucosamine has the potential to induce rebuilding of damaged cartilage.

Studies have also identified numerous anti-inflammatory activities of glucosamine sulfate. In one test group, more people with knee-related OA complaints responded to glucosamine sulfate than placebo over a 6 month trial.

Did you know - Glucosamine can be combined with chondroitin sulfate, and including exercise every day may improve symptoms even further!




MSM stands for methylsulfonylmethane, which is an organic form of sulphur. Sulphur may make you think of rotten eggs, but it’s actually very important for human health and found in every cell in the body. Among other actions, it is used by the body to maintain and repair connective tissue.

Studies are showing that MSM can help to produce the same beneficial effects as glucosamine for mild osteoarthritis. Results were shown when used on its own or when used in combination with other anti-inflammatory agents. MSM may also help with muscle soreness and recovery.



Magnesium has an anti-inflammatory action in the body by modulating cellular events involved in inflammation – one of the key factors in producing pain. Studies have shown oral magnesium can help to prevent the frequency and severity of migraines.

Magnesium is also used for relief of cramping pain. Muscles require magnesium (with calcium and ATP) to contract and relax. Not enough magnesium can affect the normal contraction-relaxation cycles, causing tense muscles. It can be used for various cramping pains, including menstrual cramps, exercise-induced cramps, tension headaches, growing pains and nocturnal leg cramps.



Antioxidants are often used to help fight and protect against damage within cells in the body, however emerging science is showing that they may be used to help treat different kinds of pain. Studies have shown that a combined antioxidant therapy (using more than one at a time) is associated with pain relief. This included combining vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, beta-carotene and methionine.

As you can see, there are many options to try to help relieve your pain. Remember to always keep your health provider informed and up-to-date on what you’re trying, and to investigate sources of pain.


Written by Emily Seddon
Emily Seddon

Emily (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified naturopath with a love of science. Growing up with a hippy mum and dad, Emily grew used to thinking outside the box for her own health. She has since completed a degree in Health Science, majoring in Naturopathy, combining that passion for healthy living with scientific and traditional evidence to help others to live happy and healthy lives.

She loves using herbal and nutritional medicine to treat ailments and lives by the philosophy of "there is no such thing as too much tea."

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