It may smell a bit like rotten eggs, but sulphur is the eighth most common element in the human body, and is found in almost all of our tissues. Despite this fact, there is no recommended daily allowance of sulfur provided by the government or health agencies, which could be a contributing factor to chronic back pain.
About 70% of American adults have reported experiencing lower back pain, according to national health surveys. When the pain persists for 12 weeks or longer and is more than a dull ache that sticks around long after the initial incident, it’s diagnosed as chronic back pain. The symptoms can be milder one day, and more severe the next, but they are always present. This has led some in the medical community to believe that a dietary deficiency could be contributing to the problem.
Sulfur’s Role in the Body
Many of our biological processes depend upon sulfur to work correctly. It helps maintain the integrity of the cell walls and produce collagen and essential protein that makes up the support bands beneath our skin. Sulfur is also needed to produce connective tissue, keratin (the key component in hair and the outer layer of our skin) glucosamine and chondroitin, which are part of our cartilage, the crucial cushioning tissue between the bones in our joints.
Sulfur also plays a critical role in keeping our metabolism humming along efficiently. When we become sulfur deficient, our metabolism becomes defective, damaging muscle and fat cells; this can lead to becoming glucose intolerant. When that happens, there is a number of muscular and skeletal disorders that can result, such as inflammation and chronic pain.
Upping Your Sulfur Consumption
Getting more sulfur in your diet is important, whether or not you are suffering from chronic back pain. Adding the supplement MSM to your daily diet could help alleviate chronic pain.
MSM stands for methyl sulfonyl methane and is a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in human, animals and plants. It can be made manufactured into pill form or even a topical gel to help provide the correct daily dosage. To date, MSM has proven to be non-toxic.
How Sulfur Can Help Relieve Chronic Back Pain
MSM has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the pain of inflammation in joints and muscles. For this reason, it is often used to treat a variety of discomforts such as:
- Leg cramps
- Chronic fatigue
- Menstrual cramps
- Migraines and headaches
- Joint pain and stiffness
One of the ways MSM relieves chronic back pain and other disorders is by inhibiting the transmissions of pain impulses along nerve fibers. This helps to reduce inflammation that could be compressing a nerve, and reduces muscle spasms, contributing to lower back pain.
Sulfur in MSM also has the ability to dilate blood vessels for improved circulation, bringing more nutrients to speed up the healing of damaged tissue. What’s more impressive is MSM’s potential to make cell membranes more permeable, letting the body’s own natural painkillers into damaged areas.
By reducing inflammation, enhancing blood flow to more flexible cells to allow for faster healing, MSM could play a big role in not only relieving chronic back pain, but also with the loss of joint mobility from arthritis.