How Does MSM Relieve Pain?

How Does MSM Relieve Pain

MSM is a popular dietary supplement for joint problems such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other degenerative joint diseases. It occurs naturally in plants, animals, and some of the foods we consume.

It's also created in the lab that contains the identical molecule as the ones found in nature. Commercially available MSM can be found in the form of capsule, powder, liquid, and crystal to be taken orally. It's also available in the form of gel, cream, and lotion for topical uses.  

Although MSM is widely used by people looking for a natural way to relieve pain, it's also a popular supplement for people that wanting to reduce inflammation, boost immunity, reduce wrinkles, and improve the appearance of their skin. 

In this article, I am going to share with you how MSM helps relieve pain, scientific research to back up its pain relieving abilities, and answers to some of the frequently asked questions about MSM and pain relief. 

So without further ado, lets dive right in.

How Does MSM Kill Pain?

MSM is believe to relieved pain in several different ways.

MSM inhibits pain impulses along a major nervous system network called c fibers. According to Wikipedia, "C fibers are one of three classes of nerve fiber in the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS)." C fibers are responsible for carrying messages of pain from a site of damaged tissues in the body to your brain. 

MSM also reduces inflammation. When your body is inflamed, it puts a lot pressure on the nerves and other tissues and therefore you may experience pain. MSM has been shown to inhibit the development of abnormal antibodies to collagen and to prevent the production of rheumatoid factor and antinuclear antibodies.

MSM also has healing properties due to its ability to promote blood flow. Additionally, MSM helps reduce muscle spasm. A contraction of muscle tissues that occur when a muscle involuntarily and forcibly contracts and cannot relax. The spasm occurs abruptly. It's painful, and is usually short-lived. While usually not serious, can seriously impact your quality of life. 

What painful conditions can MSM help?

According to DMSO Clinic at Oregon Helath Sciences University, patients have greatly benefited from MSM in a variety of painful conditions. MSM has proven to give substantial pain relief many cases, close to 70%. The remainder percentage showed that MSM has had a small effect or no effect in relieving pain. 

Remember, there is no such thing as perfect drug or natural remedy that's going to work for everyone and in every case. MSM is no exception. According to this book, the following list is some of the conditions that MSM has shown to provide pain improvement.

  • Severe accident-related pain
  • Degenerative arthritis 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Muscle soreness
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Back pain from herniated disc, arthritis, and other causes
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Scleroderma
  • Athletic strains and sprains
  • Cold sores
  • Shingles
  • TMJ
  • Bell's Palsy
  • Buerger's disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disorders

  • science-backed health benefits of MSM

    1. Reduces Join Pain

    One of the most popular uses of MSM is for joint and muscle pain. MSM has been shown to benefit people with with joint problems by inhibiting the breakdown of cartilage, a flexible tissue that protects the ends of your bones in your joints.

    A study of 100 people over the age 50 received 1,200 mg of MSM per day over the period of 12 weeks was found to have decreased pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints when compared to the placebo group. The group received the MSM supplement was also reported to have improved range of motion and overall quality of life. 

    According to this study, 49 people with knee osteoarthritis supplementing with 3.4 grams of MSM per day for 12 weeks found to have reduced pain and stiffness and improved physical function than the placebo group.

    MSM can help enhance the effectiveness of other common supplements used to treat arthritis such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. In fact, in this study, 32 people with lower back pain that was taking a glucosamine supplement containing MSM was found to have a significant reduction of the lumbar stiffness and pain. Additionally, their quality of life has also been greatly improved.

    Another study found that combining MSM with glucosamine and chondroitin was more beneficial and effective at reducing pain and stiffness in those with knee osteoarthritis than taking glucosamine and chondroitin alone.

    What's more, this study showed that people with knee osteoarthritis taking 5 grams of MSM and 7 grams of boswellic acid daily was more effective than taking glucosamine alone.

    2. Has anti-inflammatory properties 

    It's believed that MSM most likely inhibits inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are hormone-like substances that create inflammatory cascades in the body associated with pain production. 

    MSM also reduces the production of cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 6. These are signaling proteins linked to systemic inflammation.

    It’s also believed that MSM inhibits NF-kB (Nuclear factor kappa light chain enhancer of activated B cells), which is a protein complex involved in inflammatory responses in your body.

    Additionally, MSM can increase levels of glutathione, which is a potent antioxidant produced by your body. It's one of your body's most powerful detoxifier. It can support healthy immune function and can neutralize a broad spectrum of free radicals.

    A study showed that mice with stomach ulcers supplemented with MSM experienced a significant reduction in inflammation by reducing the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 6, as well as the increased levels of glutathione.

    Another study of 40 physically active men supplementing with 3 grams of MSM before exhaustive exercise showed a decreased release of inflammatory cytokines and prevented the over-stress of immune cells when compared to the placebo group.

    3. Speeds Up Recovery After Exercise 

    MSM can help speed up muscle damage after an intense workout by reducing stress and inflammation.

    How Does MSM Relieve Pain

    According to this study, 18 men taking 50 mg of MSM powder per kg of body weight for 10 days showed to have significantly reduced exercise-induced muscle damage and increased antioxidant activity following a 14 km run. It seems that 10-day supplementation with MSM has allowed to decrease muscle damage through effect on antioxidant capacity.

    In another study,  24 moderately exercise-trained men received 3 grams of MSM per day for 14 days has shown to help alleviate the discomfort or pain after an intense exercise session. So MSM helps you recover more quickly after a stressful exercise.

    FAQ about MSM and Pain relief

    1. How Will MSM Help With Both Acute And Chronic Pain?

    MSM usually helps in both circumstances. Almost always that the acute pain responses more rapidly than chronic pain.

    For example, if you fracture a bone, MSM will probably help reduce inflammation and as a result you will experience some pain relief.

    On the other hand, if you've suffered from chronic pain for many years, you need to be patient for MSM to get into your body to do the work. Immediate relief is unlikely with chronic pain.

    2. Is It Possible For Chronic Pain Suffers To Experience Overnight Relief?

    This does happen. I have personally seen people experiencing great pain relief within a few days of taking MSM. This kind of result is not unusual, it does occur. However, I don't want to give you the expectation that you will also experience overnight relief with MSM.

    I advise that if you have been suffering from chronic pain for many years not to have such expectation. Although it's very possible to experience pain relief immediately, the first signs of relief could also take one month, two months, or even many months to become noticeable. 

    If you have been taking MSM for a few days or weeks and have not yet notice any significant pain relief, don't get discouraged.

    Be sure to continue taking it and be patient. You may not notice pain relief immediately, however, you may feel more energetic and notice a difference in your skin complexion. 

    3. How long does it usually take to Experience relief in severe cases?

    This varies from person to person. Some severe cases can take months. The longer the problem existed, the longer it may take for you to experience substantial pain relief.

    More often than not, MSM helps with pain relief when other treatment such as prescription medications have failed to work.

    The use of MSM may provide major pain relief. This helps to reduce to the amount of prescription pain medications. As a result, the risk of side effects is also reduced.

    4. Is pain relief from MSM temporary or lasting?

    This also varies from person to person. Some people experience pain relief for as long as they continue taking MSM. When they stop, symptoms often return. Sometimes the symptoms will return almost immediately after you stop taking MSM.

    There are also people that stop taking MSM, and the symptoms may take weeks, months, or even years to return. Sometime they may never return.

    If you have suffered from chronic illness and obtained pain relief from MSM, you'll generally continue to experience pain relief for as long as you continue to take the MSM supplement. 

    5. Should I stop The Prescription Medication If I Take MSM For Pain Relief?

    Although MSM can provide great pain relief in many case, I advise that you speak to your doctor about your prescription pain medicine.

    6. Beside taking MSM by mouth, are there other ways to use MSM to help with my pain?

    Yes, there are other ways to use MSM to help reduce pain. MSM also comes in the form of lotion, cream, and gel. You can apply them topically to obtain additional pain relief.

    MSM has the ability to pass through your skin and enter into your body to reduce inflammation. Using MSM orally and topically can greatly increase pain reduction and healing effect.

    7. Should I take MSM if I Develop pain?

    As mentioned earlier that MSM can be helpful reducing pain in many cases. Remember that when you experience pain, it's a messenger from the body telling you there is something wrong and needs your attention.

    Generally speaking, a minor pain that comes and goes quickly in not a cause for concern. However, when the pain worsens or persists, then that's a strong signal that needs your attention.

    Be alert to minor pain whenever it occurs. This could be due to any repetitive activities such as lifting or intense exercise session that you do as a possible cause of pain. If you take immediate action you can prevent minor aches from developing into chronic pain later. 

    If you experience persistent or severe pain, I advise you not to run to a health food store and buy a bottle of MSM and expect it to have an instant pain relief like a painkilling drug.

    MSM is not a pharmaceutical pain pill and won't work to kill the pain in a few minutes. It's best that you seek medical attention and get a diagnose and follow your doctor's advice. 

    • If you suddenly develop a chest pain, don't rely on MSM to provide you an immediate chest pain relief. Seek medical attention right away.
    • If you have a stabbing toothache, MSM may provide some pain relief but you need to address the underlying cause the tooth pain. See a dentist immediately. 
    • If you have a severe migraine, don't start taking MSM and expect it to work like a Tylenol. 

    Although MSM can provide pain relief in many case, However, it will not work like pharmaceutical pain killers. MSM is not a drug, it's rather a nutritional supplement.

    MSM is most appropriate for chronic pain. MSM can also be used in conjunction with other treatments to reduce chronic pain. Additionally, it will not interfere with other drug being prescribed by your doctor. Currently, MSM is not known to have interaction with other drugs.

    8. How much MSM to take for pain relief?

    For severe pain, you need to take at least 2 teaspoons of organic sulfur crystals per day. Each level teaspoon is 5 grams. The general rule is to take as little as possible but as much as you need to achieve the desired level of pain relief.  

    The general rule is to take 1 teaspoon of crystals per 100 pounds of body weight twice a day. Since each individual has different needs, the dosage will be different for everyone. Remember, a dosage works for one person may not be too little or too much for a another person with the very same condition.  

    To get an idea of how to find your individually effective dose, I advise that you start with a smaller amount of sulfur crystals and then work your way up slowly to the dosage that provides maximum pain relief. Check out this article for more information.

    If you take to much MSM at once, you may experience some gastrointestinal discomfort, insomnia headache, and flu-like symptoms. Since MSM helps detoxify the body, be sure to reduce the dose and drink plenty of water throughout the day to help flush out the toxin out of your body. 

    Check out the articles below to help decrees these symptoms.

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