bowl of turmeric spice

Q. I’ve been clipping articles from your column for years. I checked them recently to find how to relieve severe lower back and hip pain. I used some turmeric on food, and thirty minutes later I noted an internal warming sensation in the affected back area and a reduction in pain. I later took turmeric capsules and completely cured all of the pain.

About a month later my wife suffered from severe pain and loss of the use of her left arm and hand. Just lightly touching certain areas caused her to cry out in pain.

Years ago she suffered from shingles in that same arm. We therefore suspected that she had postherpetic neuralgia. Since this is an inflammation of the nerves, we decided to try turmeric.

A couple of hours later, on our way to our family doctor, my wife said that her arm felt hot, and the pain was not as severe. Our doctor wanted to schedule an MRI, but it was unnecessary after continued turmeric use. She was completely free of pain after about two weeks.

Have you ever heard of this use of the spice? Maybe this information can help other sufferers.

A. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties (Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, Feb. 2009). Readers have found that this yellow spice has helped with nerve pain, osteoarthritis and psoriasis. Instead of clipping articles, you may want to consult our book, Recipes and Remedies from The People’s Pharmacy, with more details about using food as medicine.

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  1. Matt

    Turmeric has been a miracle for me, probably because I’ve had everything it’s used for. I’ve had a pinched nerve, I then had a c5c6 fusion, after that I had ocular shingles. I am now still suffering from post herpetic neuralgia in my face plus bottom and top of my mouth. I’m on gabapentin, flexerol, and nortyptaline. Turmeric seems like the only thing that I feel is helping the underlying problem. After taking it, 30 min later I can feel it working and I just want to screem with praise. I can actually feel the pain subside. It’s like having a scratch for 2-3 years and finally being able to scratch it!!!! Love turmeric. I’ll bathe in it one day.

  2. twania daniels

    I was told to try tumeric mixed with olive oil around the incision I could take clothes or anything touching my knee after surgery I would writ with gauze so it wouldn’t stain my clothes it worked I cried on and off for three weeks it worked.

  3. donna
    United States

    I was for short time to mobic but don’t like side effects. I tore my plantar fascia by arch of foot at gym. Don’t like pain but decided to use turmenic, boswellia, ginger, and omega 3. For nerve pain and inflammation without bad side effects. Beings this can take time to heal. 3rd week of this, wearing boot, and staying off of it. Hard but anyway, been able to cope most of the time. Once I b awhile aleve but not much. Staying positive always helpsn

  4. jack

    been taking metanx for neuropathy for 5 mos. no effect. hope turmeric will work.

  5. barb dodge

    I used turmeric capsules to relief pain from neuropathy. It did not completely remove the pain but did make it less painful. However I soon found that it upset my stomach and I had to stop using it.

  6. said salim saady
    mombasa, Kenya. Africa

    I am also a suffer of sciatica and wish to try tumeric today.

  7. Julia

    Hi everyone,
    I know I am late at this post but I HAD to write my story and tell EACH AND EVERY PERSON that posted their comments about Tumeric and how it has helped each of you, THANK YOU. This has given me so much HOPE to say the least.
    I am having my 5th (yes, you read it right, 5th) foot/ankle surgery. I have severe nerve pain and if I am not currently shoving pain pills down my throat then I will be in unrelenting pain. My last surgery I have the incision on my left ankle. If you put your finger right above the center of the ankle bone and go up the side of the calf 6″….that’s where my incision was for my 3rd surgery. I soon developed a ball that I felt and I kept telling my dr. (I know he was skeptical) but had the surgery and sure enough, he opened it up and had to cut further than the “original” incision and there was the nerve, the normal nerve looked like angel hair pasta, the inflamed nerve looked like a fat piece of spaghetti and at the end of that was a “ball” or “stump neuroma”.
    He cut it out and tucked the nerve into the muscle. I don’t have sensation ther eas well as other places on my foot/ankle from the other surgeries. Quickly after the 4th surgery I started developing pain that felt like pins and needles and if I BARELY tapped on the incision near the area of my incision I have shockwaves go down all the way to my foot. Now for this surgery he wanted to put me “temporarily” on Lyrica.
    I am a researcher, I research everything especially after having SEVERE reactions to LEVAQUIN for mild pneumonia. Never researched medication before until I had every severe reaction you can think of, visual & auditory hallucinations, severe tinnitus and felt as though I was going to mentally snap… couldn’t form sentences/thoughts. I stopped it immediately, most symptoms went away except for the tinnitus. (That’s a whole different story, but please research this med if you ever have to take it. It’s one of the only meds that has a BLACK BOX warning it’s that dangerous).
    Back to my current story. I don’t want to take the Lyrica and I read all of your posts. I am going buy Tumeric today b4 my surgery and will take that afterwards. I am soooo afraid that after this surgery other nerves are going to act up again. I can’t keep having surgeries on my left foot. I already look like Dr. Zorro had fun from my knee down to my foot with incision scars and with the nerves being severed, I have no sensation on multiple parts of my calf, foot, ankle and toes/top of foot…. I don’t need another numbed area. Yes, it’s better than pain, but at times it can be scary when I can’t rub my calf and foot and feel anything. It’s creepy and feels like I am touching a “dead person”. But I guess I shouldn’t complain it’s not pain, except for where I am having surgery today. THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME HOPE THAT THIS WILL HOPEFULLY BE MY LAST FOOT SURGERY AND THE TURMERIC WILL HELP WITH THAT AND WITH MY FIBROMYALGIA AND POSSIBLY THE TINNITUS….WHO KNOWS…BUT THANK YOU EVERYONE HERE.

    • Lisa

      Do you still get that tingling and shooting stuff when you touch your leg? I am very interested to know as I had that done and it was the worst decision I ever made.

  8. tanya

    How was cipralex with you? Any other side affects other than back pain? Was prescribed just for depression? And if not for what just highlight. Also is it helpful? In what ways?

  9. SW

    I took Mobic 7.5 (Dr. Prescribed) for years. It helped with inflammation. BUT, both my mother & maternal grandmother died of heart attacks. As Mobic has cardiac side effects, I was scared to take it. I have a Masters Degree in Health. Thus, I read a lot of health articles, from notable sources, daily. I discovered there was documented success with Turmeric usage in alleviating inflammation. I stopped the Mobic 6 months ago.
    I now take Turmeric that I purchase at Walgreens. It has a 95% standardized dose of Circummin, which aids in alleviating inflammation. I also read several articles that indicated that Turmeric is effective in alleviating “brain fog”. I take a 450mg capsule twice daily. I have been VERY pleased with both the reduction in inflammation and brain fog. I am 56 years young. I took 3 Turmeric per day for about a week. But, a few brownish red spots appeared on my arms. These spots were similar to those of a person who takes a blood thinner. So, I elected to take (2) 450 mg Turmeric capsules daily. I have suffered from Degenerative Disc Disease (advanced stage, Multi level), spinal stenosis, spinal spondylosis, some resulting scoliosis, foramenal encroachment, etc for a decade.
    Then, as a result of a wreck in 2011, my pelvic bones, left leg, left ankle, left foot, right arm & right hand were all either broken/crushed and/or severed (but successfully reattached) and/or surgically rebuilt (with titanium plates & screws). Everything functions. Related Arthritis and Inflammation, however, exacerbate the daily pain level from the aforementioned spinal conditions.
    I have experienced positive results from the daily (2) X 450 mg daily Turmeric regimen. If I forget to take it, I can tell a difference. When this happens, both my pain level and “brain fog” increase. I’m pleased that, by taking the NATURAL Turmeric, I can avoid the Mobic and it’s cardiac side effects.

  10. Karel S

    I’ve been suffering for 9 months with post herpetic neuralgia from shingles. It has been hell. I’m on morphine, fentanyl. Nothing helps the burning pain on my arms and torso. After just 3 doses of turmeric the pain has gone down from 100 to about a 7. I’m hoping they say after 2 weeks on it, one can see even better results so maybe I can finally come off the heavy narcotics.

    • Katrina

      I pray that you are over the pain from your shingles by now. I was wandering if you could share the brand of Turmeric you were taking.

      Thank you,


  11. kH

    Hi Lynnlivinglife ..Thanks for your good advice and for commenting on my post from 2010..Since then my back pain has been reduced considerably. I no longer take any pain medication or alternative meds. With the aid of the chiropractor I can manage quite well and don’t notice the sciatica that is still there but lays dormant. As long as I don’t rub the muscles too much, I can keep the pain gone..Once I touch my back I know that the pain is still there but only when I push on certain trigger points.
    Like you, I take 3,000 IU of D3 and another product called Legaven for my venous insufficiency. Legaven is an extremely good product to help with varicose veins and swelling in the legs and feet. I tried magnesium 500mg/day and had to stop almost immediately due to it’s unpleasant side effects requiring rushing to the bathroom. I sleep well at night and have discovered that the back pain is no longer a concern.
    Turmeric or even a teaspoon of regular mustard is still good as an anti-inflammatory and helps with restless leg syndrome and muscle pulls in the legs. I keep a packet of mustard in my purse for emergencies when I am away from home. Often I can get a pulled leg muscle when I am sitting in the car for long drives. I just pull out my handy packet and swallow it. The muscle pull is gone almost immediately.
    I am glad it has really helped you too ..Thanks again for your good advice on reducing back pain. It is much appreciated.

  12. LynnLivingLife!

    Hey Kathleen – I’m sorry to hear about your pain. I too went through a lot of pain in the same area. I ended up omitting gluten from my diet to lower inflammation and I take a multivitamin, 8000 IU of D3 and 400mg of magnesium glycinate. I’ve also added a turmeric supplement – but haven’t decided on a final one to use yet. My pain is greatly reduced – I would say by 80% and I sleep at night most nights without fibromyalgia pain or restless legs waking me. I wish you the best in finding what will work for you.

    • maurice

      Tonic water is the absolute best for spasms or leg cramps….helps back also. 6 oz a day at bedtime…stops them the first night. you can get diet tonic water also….My dr recommends it…no side effects..

  13. John R.

    How much fish oil and turmeric should I start off taking per day to reduce my arthritis and joint pain?

  14. vvvv

    how do you use the turmeric?

  15. Sophie, UK

    I was diagnosed with cervical spondylosis in 2012 after an MRI, and was in agony with it, especially at night. No analgesics helped much. In my constant surfing looking for answers, I came across a large study which suggested a clear link between turmeric and reduction of inflammation and pain in cervical spondylosis.
    After 4 months of being awake half the night in pain, I started taking Life Extension Super Bio Curcumin 400mg, and within a week the pain was almost gone. Apparently curcumin (the active chemical in turmeric) is not easily absorbed and needs to be taken with black pepper to increase absorption.
    I ran out for 2 weeks and the pain returned after 8 days without it. I won’t stop taking it, partly because it’s good pain relief but also to protect my health generally. My mum has Alzheimer’s and I’d really prefer not to get it myself…………One caveat to this post-I was also taking omega 3s and ginger too but my gums started bleeding badly (no gum disease) and I realised that they and turmeric are ALL anticoagulants!Oops!

    • Sharon
      United States

      You must be careful to buy turmeric from a reliable source and how to take it.

  16. Mr H Karir

    Hi, Me and my family are into outdoor sports and get injured all the time. I have had slip disc, nerve pain down my leg and foot, facial paralysis and bad nerve pain in my face and head.
    My parents are from India and all my life when ever we get injured we got 1 glass of hot milk and added 1 table spoon of turmeric (huldi in punjabi) and drank it before bed time. You can not overdoes your self on a natural herb.
    Indian food has alot of turmeric in it for colour and taste. Also another huge help better then turmeric for nerve repair is pigeon soup. Yes boil a pigeon in water with what ever you want and drink the soup once a day for a week. I was on all sorts and steroid for my facial paralysis but nothing worked after months until i had pigeon soup after 1 week i was normal.
    I hope this info will help someone
    People’s Pharmacy response: Pigeon soup may be difficult for people in the US to find or want to use. But turmeric certainly has many enthusiasts.

  17. Maha

    I am 28 and was diagnosed with disc protrusions 2 years ago… I live in Sudan and here we haven’t got turmeric in capsules..I read about it’s wonders and brought the roots and changed it into powder at home and I started taking it half a spoon as tea twice a eased my pain and now I am taking it only for pain..

  18. Monaque2

    Hi I am a 38 year old female who is 7 months out of surgery. I had a SL Ligament Reconstruction in Oct 2012 and since that day I have been in pain. I have sensitivity to touch and elements that cause pain. Therapist thinks I have a trapped nerve in wrist where the pins were once at. I was recently diagnosed with neuropathy and was put on Gabapentin 100mg 3x a day, neuropathy gel apply 2x a day and just give lidoderm patch. I am on amlodipin as well for high blood pressure. Do you think that it is safe for me to take Turmeric?

  19. Rose

    I have neuropathy now going on 7 years and only getting worse. I take 800 mg 3 X a day of Gabapentin, 100 mg 3 X a day of Tramadol and 15 mg of Oxycodone. The pain gets so unbearable and the evenings are worse. If I start the Turmeric will I have a reaction between what I am currently taking and Turmeric? Any suggestion would greatly be appreciated. Thank you in advance.
    People’s Pharmacy response: We have seen no evidence that turmeric will interact with your medications. The issue is not well studied, however.

  20. jim


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