A study released Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests glucosamine pills do not provide relief for lower back pain. The study, conducted at Oslo University Hospital in Norway, looked at 250 people over the age of 25, with chronic low back pain who also had degenerative discs in their lower backs. Researchers gave half of the patients daily doses of 1,500 miligrams of glucosamine. The other half received a placebo.
Here’s what they found: there was little difference with patients who took glucosamine compared with those patients who took the placebo. Lead study author, Philip Wilkens, who’s also a research fellow at Oslo University Hospital, says “glucosamine is not going to help the patient better than the placebo…in terms of chronic low back pain.”
Every year Americans spend at least $50 billion on treating their low back pain and it’s one of the leading reasons why people miss work. Glucosamine is a natural compound that is found in healthy cartilage and is commonly used to help with low back and knee pain.
So if you take glucosamine for back pain, what should you do?