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Added ''Pearl'' "Turmeric and Neck/Shoulder Pain" on ''12/6/2007'':
Neck and shoulder pain is perhaps one of the most common conditions that we treat. In my own practice, it is perhaps second only to low back pain or piriformis syndrome. For my patients with neck and/or shoulder pain, I find that one simple herb can dramatically improve my patients' condition--Turmeric.

One of the ingredients in the formula Juan Bi Tang, turmeric is known as Jiang Huang. It has been proven to reduce prostaglandin formation, and is as effective as NSAIDs without the risk to the liver or kidneys. It has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, as well as antispasmodic effects. Turmeric has a number of side-benefits as well. It has been shown to interfere with viral replication, including viral hepatitis and HIV. It also appears to inhibit carcinogenesis at all stages of cancer formation. In the TCM literature, it has a particularly affinity for the neck and shoulder region.

I have had patients who have taken prescription doses of naproxen, ibuprofen, and even percocet; and they still continued to have pain. When they come in for acupuncture, I also recommend that they go to the local Wild Oats and pick up a bottle of Turmeric standardized extract. I instruct them to Take 1 tablet TID whether or not they have pain. Most of the time they will see significant results within a few days. By combining this with the acupuncture, I have had great success treating even the most difficult neck and shoulder pain syndromes.

Turmeric has been classified as a menstrual stimulant, so it is recommended that pregnant women not take it as it may induce a miscarriage. Turmeric may have an additive effect on platelets, and it decreases the immunosuppressive effect of certain drugs. Therefore, it is wise to avoid the use of turmeric in those taking anticoagulant or immunosuppresant medications.