Melatonin is best known as a sleep aid to help restore the normal sleep cycle. We focus on other benefits of this supplement to include joint protection from arthritis and pain relief.

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Melatonin Is A Supplement With Many Benefits Including Chronic Pain And Disc Degeneration

Melatonin is a neurohormone that is most known for normalizing sleep and regulating circadian rhythms, a 24 hour cycle that involves the sleep – wake cycle, but also body temperature regulation, secretion of hormones, gastro-intestinal function and other biological processes.

It also has antioxidant properties which led to the use in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Studies have also shown benefit for improving mood and decreasing anxiety. Research has also focused on its analgesic or pain relieving properties and use in chronic pain syndromes


  • A 2004 study in the journal Pain indicate that activation of the endogenous melatonin system in the spinal cord can reduce central sensitization of pain often seen in chronic pain syndromes, that is difficult to treat.

It has also shown to be effective in treating headaches, chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. The arthritis effects are interesting in that melatonin is found in the joint fluid of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, which inhibits the activity joint destruction.

  • A 2016 review in the Journal of Pineal Research indicated its antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties to regulate inflammation and cell destruction. The authors evaluated the likely protection effects involved in osteoarthritis.

The endplate is the cartilage on the discs and breaks in this can cause the disc to degenerate of be susceptible to painful, inflammatory Modic changes due to disc herniation or other forms of damage to the disc. The authors indicate it may alleviate factors involved in joint degeneration and inflammation.

melatonin and joint health

Some studies indicate lack of response and it has been postulated by some authors of the dose being too low. I would recommend instead of the traditional 3mg dose, to take the 10 mg instead for the best therapeutic effects regarding joint function. You can start at 5mg and work up to 10. I also find this works synergistically with Vitamin D.

Great commercial, but lets focus on the other benefits for pain relief and arthritis

It is a popular supplement for sleep disorders, but here we focus on joint problems like disc disease and arthritis. It is a safe supplement and has many other benefits as well. If you suffer from arthritis or joint problems, this is a supplement that should not be overlooked. However, with proper knowledge, you must overlook the simple advertised effects of sleep regulation to incorporate this into your joint health and pain relief regimen.

  • A 2020 study in Bone Research found melatonin alleviates disc degeneration by disrupting inflammatory chemicals that produce an inflammasome positive feedback loop. The authors indicate it may be a potential therapeutic agent for disc degeneration.
  • A 2021 study in Clinical Interventions in Aging found plasma melatonin level was significantly decreased in disc degeneration and could be used as a diagnostic biomarker for the condition. Lower plasma levels was associated with longer duration of disease, higher disease severity and increased inflammatory cytokines levels in patients with intervertebral disc degeneration.
  • A 2021 report in Ageing Research Reviews indicates Disc degeneration is a common degenerative disease and regarded as the main cause of chronic low back pain in the elderly. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland plays an important role in resisting various degenerative diseases. As serum levels decline with age, symptomatic degenerative symptoms increase.

The authors state administration could maintain the structural integrity of the intervertebral disc and inhibit the development of degeneration. “Therefore, melatonin supplementation may be a promising therapeutic strategy for IDD [intervertebral disc degeneration].”

  • A 2021 study in BioMed Research International indicates melatonin suppresses disc annulus fibrosis cell death through regulating an inflammatory environment. The authors state, “This study sheds a new light that melatonin may be promising to retard inflammation-caused disc degeneration.”

Always check with your doctor to make sure this or any supplement will not interfere with any current medications.

Author Bio

Stephen Ornstein, D.C. has treated thousands of neck, shoulder and back conditions since graduating Sherman Chiropractic College in 1987 and during his involvement in Martial Arts. He holds certifications as a Peer Review Consultant from New York Chiropractic College, Physiological Therapeutics from National Chiropractic College, Modic Antibiotic Spinal Therapy from Dr. Hanne Albert, PT., MPH., Ph.D., Myofascial Release Techniques from Logan Chiropractic College, and learned Active Release Technique from the founder, P. Michael Leahy, DC, ART, CCSP.