Back pain • Natural home remedies

Back pain can occur in any part of your back and may be due to overuse, improper posture, injury or congenital issues. Your pain might be caused by functional problems with the discs, muscles, ligaments, spinal cord, and even internal organs.

Back pain - Image of Wooden figure clutching back

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

There are a number of diagnostic tests your doctor might order from bone scans to X-rays. Treatment would depend on the cause of the pain but most acute back pain improves with the use of heat or ice, and time. In some cases, your doctor might recommend physical therapy, which could include ultrasound or electrical stimulation, with the ultimate goal of improving your strength and flexibility.

FIRST AID

Remember RICE for injuries (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).  If you experience back pain from having lifted something that is too heavy, or from having lifted it in the wrong way, the first thing to do is get some rest.  Apply an ice pack to reduce swelling.  Ask someone to gently massage the area while icing for several minutes.  Leave the ice pack on for about 15-30 minutes at a time. After swelling subsides, you can use some heat to relax the muscles.  You can also use alternating heat and cold.  Do what eases your pain and discomfort.

Do some gentle stretching, even while in bed, bringing your knees to your chest.  Be careful in your movements and don’t twist or jerk.  Take care getting in and out of bed.

SELF TREATMENT

Others have made claims of efficacy for the following suggestions and treatments, but this information is provided as anecdotal information for your further research.

DIET

Diet may seem unrelated to an injury but diet is related to the healing process, our state of mind, our quality of sleep, and so on. To achieve a state of health, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point.

For optimum back health, nourishing your bones is important.

FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING

  • Bone Broth
  • Anti-inflammatory foods
  • Beets
  • Blackstrap molasses in warm water
  • Blueberries
  • Bok choy
  • Calcium-rich foods
  • Celery
  • Chia seeds
  • Coconut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil, internally and topically
  • Fermented foods
  • Flax seeds
  • Garlic
  • Leafy greens
  • Pineapple
  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Walnuts

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID

  • Dairy and wheat will cause inflammation in some people
  • Foods high in saturated fat
  • Foods that cause inflammation
  • Processed foods
  • Smoking restricts blood flow and causes disc degeneration)
  • Sugars

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Dandelion leaf
  • Ginger tea
  • Green tea
  • Matcha tea
  • White Willow tea

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Capsaicin (add to massage oils)
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Devil’s Claw
  • Feverfew
  • Ginger
  • Jamaican allspice
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Pukpkin pie spices
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric

ESSENTIAL OILS

  • Eucalyptus applied to the painful area (use with a carrier oil)
  • Peppermint applied to the painful area (use with a carrier oil)

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

  • Bromelain
  • Magnesium
  • MSM cream, topically
  • Omega-3’s
  • Valerian
  • Vitamin D3 aids in the absorption of calcium

HYDRATION

Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

If your back pain isn’t getting better after a few days, see a doctor.  If you’re up to it after a couple days, get up and move around, taking care not to aggravate the problem by lifting or twisting. That exercise is beneficial is undisputed. There is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can do without making yourself feel worse or causing pain. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible. On a regular basis, keep your muscles healthy (and not continually contracted).

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health and increases tension. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Have good lumbar support for your chairs and car seat.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Perfect your posture to reduce stress on your back.
  • Sleep on your side.
  • Soak in a bath with Epsom salts.
  • Stand more, sit less.
  • Stretch and strengthen abdominal and back muscles.
  • Stretch your hamstrings a couple of times a day.
  • Support your back when you bend over.
  • Wear shoes with good arch support.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

  • Acupressure (http://acupressurepointsguide.com/most-important-acupressure-points-for-back-pain/)
  • Acupuncture
  • Aquatic therapy (https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/water-therapy-exercise-program)
  • Chinese Medicine
  • Chiropractic
  • Homeopathy (http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2198002)
  • Hydrotherapy (http://maximizehealthgroup.com.au/hydrotherapy-for-back-pain/)
  • Massage
  • Meditation for a calm mind
  • Osteopathy
  • Pilates
  • Postural therapy (i.e. Alexander technique)
  • SCIO
  • Tai Chi
  • TENS
  • Virtual Reality (https://www.painpathways.org/virtual-reality-for-pain-management/)
  • Yoga

CAUTIONS

The NCBI reports that most people who have activity-limiting back pain have recurring episodes. Take extra precautions to strengthen your musculature and to learn to lift and move properly and safely.

PREVENTION

  • Exercise regularly to strengthen muscles.
  • Weight-bearing exercise helps to build strong bones.
  • Learn to lift and carry properly.
  • Practice good posture.
  • Know your weight limits.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
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