A Journal of the American Medical Association study shows that glucosamine was no different from a placebo in treating lower back pain. The study was a small, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial that included 250 adults with chronic lower back pain. Some studies have shown the supplement to be effective in treating some joint pain, but others show no benefit. Among the participants in this study, half were randomly assigned to take 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine for six months, while the other half took a placebo for the same amount of time. They were allowed to continue with their usual pain medication and therapies. At the beginning of the study, the glucosamine group's pain score was 9.2 on average, and the placebo group's was 9.7. After six months, pain decreased -- but by the same amount in both groups. The glucosamine and placebo groups’ pain scores were both 5.0. At one year, the glucosamine group's score was 4.8, while the placebo group's was 5.5. In both groups, about the same number of people continued to use analgesics and therapies during the trial.
Bonnie - I do not recommend that clients take glucosamine to treat lower back pain. I recommend it only to stem erosion of joints due to inflammation (especially if it exists in your family history). In turn, it may help alleviate pain, but only in those with MILD osteoarthritis. There are many other dietary and supplemental strategies I would recommend before glucosamine for chronic low back pain. There causes of chronic lower back pain are vast and one should not turn to glucosamine for a cure.
That said, this study did not use chondroitin in combination with glucosamine, like every other positive study has done.