Back pain can be both mentally and physically debilitating. It can affect everything that you do from work and exercise to simple everyday tasks. Back pain can be short term, or quickly become a lifelong struggle due to injury or illness.
Thankfully, there are natural ways you can alleviate back pain without having to resort to medication. relief,
To start, back pain can come in many forms. Some deal with persistent lower back pain and regular occurring spasms while some people suffer from sciatic nerve pain that travels down your legs and into your arms.
These chronic conditions have a prominent possibility of sidelining your life.
And it’s not uncommon.
Eight out of every ten people suffer from some sort of back pain during their lifetime.
In fact, over two million emergency room visits each year are due to lower back pain, which also happens to be the leading cause of disability in the world. Unfortunately, treatment for back pain is still not as efficient as it should be.
Many back-pain sufferers find themselves the center of a myriad of tests, are given instructions to stay sedentary despite research showing the effectiveness of continuing everyday activities, and are often prescribed powerful painkillers.
While painkillers can help the pain short term, they also can cause multiple health issues and even addiction problems. Sedentary lifestyles tend to stiffen the muscles, making the body prone to future injury.
Luckily, there is a multitude of alternative treatments for back pain, and most of them are easily accessible and low cost or even free.
These treatments don’t require a physician’s prescription, though it is best to discuss all new supplements and exercise routines with your doctor before you begin.
In the following report, we will discuss ten tips and strategies you can follow to help relieve back pain by taking a natural and holistic approach.
Tip #1: Anti-Inflammatory Drinks
Inflammation is a natural response by the body. When your body senses harm, infection, injury, or toxin, it attempts to heal itself. In these instances, cellular destruction then triggers your immune system.
The immune system releases antibodies and proteins while increasing blood flow to the affected area.
For acute inflammation, the process lasts just a few hours or days. However, for those with chronic inflammation, the body gets so used to the response it stays in a steady state of alert. Research has shown this state can play a role in multiple different conditions, from asthma to cancer.
To help reduce the inflammation in your back, keeping an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce the response and the pain.
We will discuss anti-inflammatory foods later in the report, but similar drinks also play a vital role and are easily consumed daily.
Below are several anti-inflammatory drinks you can drink to stave off pain and inflammation.
The positive effects of Turmeric are utilized across the world, and there is a reason for that. The Asian spice contains an abundance of antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation and ease arthritic pain.
Turmeric is available at just about any grocery store in the spice section. To make the milk, simply pour ½ teaspoon of Turmeric into a glass of warm milk. Sweeten to taste or drink as is. If dairy milk increases inflammation for you, try adding the spice to warm almond milk instead.
It is best to drink this at night before bed, to allow the antioxidants to work in your body as it rests.
A very accessible and antioxidant-rich drink is cherry juice. When you look for the juice at the grocery store, make sure it is low or free of added sugars and includes Tart Cherry Extract. The extract holds a bounty of anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Green Ginger Tea
Both green tea and ginger are known to decrease inflammation in the body after prolonged consumption.
You can purchase both green tea and ginger tea separately but also combined for convenience. Try making a cup of tea an everyday addition to your lifestyle to help ease your discomfort.
Anti-inflammatory drinks should be free of chemicals and added sugars.
Always attempt to eat and drink clean ingredients to keep harmful chemicals from the body. These chemicals can have adverse effects on both inflammation and mental health.
Tip #2: Sleep and How to Get It
Sleep and rest can be a hard things to come by in our busy daily lives, and acute or chronic pain only adds to the difficulty. Lying down with a sore back or neck can often feel unbearable.
How many times have you been ready for bed, laid down, and the pain wakes you, keeping you from relaxing and healing the body during those vital sleeping hours?
Getting the correct amount of deep sleep and rest is incredibly crucial for, not just your back, but your entire body.
As your mind rests, your body goes to work, healing, and repairing the damage done during your day. When you don’t get the rest your body needs, inflammation, and pain increase.
Helping your body relax quickly and sink into a deep and restful sleep can be tricky without the aid of sleep medications, but the side effects can be harmful.
Here are several all-natural supplements you can try one at a time, to help reach that crucial deep sleep state.
Melatonin- Melatonin is a chemical naturally produced in the pineal gland in the center of your brain.
Melatonin is responsible for helping your body regulate when to go to sleep and when to wake up.
Melatonin is taken when natural sleep patterns are disrupted, including those associated with pain management. Melatonin works with your body’s natural rhythm but does have the occasional negative side effect such as daytime sleepiness, headaches, and short term depression.
Valerian- Valerian is an herb that grows in Asia and North America. The oils from the herb are encapsulated and taken orally.
Valerian has been shown to calm the mind and sedate the brain. The sedation allows the body to relax and inflammation to recede. Valerian can also have a positive effect on anxiety and depression.
L-theanine- L-theanine is an amino acid most commonly found in green and black tea leaves.
The effects of L-theanine are bountiful and include helping to relax the mind and the body when taken in doses of 200-400mg, resulting in a deeper and more restful sleep.
This amino acid can be found in small doses in tea, and in larger doses via capsules and tablets.
As always, check with your physician before starting any type of supplement. Some supplements, though all-natural, can react to certain types of medications.
Tip #3: Static Posture
Static posture is simply holding one specific movement, stance, or bodily posture for a prolonged period. The muscles in your back and neck often take on the excess pressure when joints in your legs and hips become overtired or stressed.
Keeping one stance, rotation, or posture puts pressure on those joints.
Movement is key. Whether it’s small or more exerting, this shift in pressure points can help keep the back and neck from taking on the overflow of stress on other joints.
It is vital to pay attention to your hips and joints, sensing for these pressures and strains, so you know when to move. Get in the habit of shifting and changing your position regularly.
Posture: If you’ve ever been standing in one spot for a prolonged period, and then rolled your shoulders back, then you’ve felt that release of tension in your back.
Posture affects so many aspects of your body, especially your neck and spine. Make a concerted effort to notice your shoulders and adjust them back to keep a tall, straight posture.
Rotation of Activity: Many people have jobs where they either stand making one motion for multiple hours or sit and do the same. If you are able, try rotating your activities or position numerous times a day, if not more.
Changing from standing to sitting, turning to bending, and even the level you hold your chin can help to reduce the stress on joints and tightness and pressure on your back and neck.
Sitting Too Long: Staying in a seated position for large amounts of time compresses the discs in the back. The compression puts a strain on muscles from your lower back to the base of your neck. It can also affect your posture.
Try taking a two-minute break every hour and simply walking around the house or office.
Tip #4: Yoga
Yoga is one of the best ways to stretch and strengthen your body. The effects of a properly executed yoga routine can help with everything from digestion and weight loss to mental health and pain.
But did you know that while yoga is an excellent way to stretch your back, it also strengthens the muscles in your back as well?
More specifically, the right yoga poses can strengthen the paraspinal muscles that help to bend the spine, the multifidus muscles that stabilize vertebrae, and the transverse abdominis in your abdomen.
These muscles help to support the weaker areas of your back and reduce the stress on your spine.
The key to strengthening and stretching these muscles is through proper form during poses. Proper form is especially important when it comes to poses focused on your back. The Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine reported that injuries such as sprains and strains have dramatically increased in those 65 and older due to poor form during yoga sessions.
So, if you are new to yoga, or the poses, make sure to learn from a professionally trained yoga instructor. They will not only be able to help you perfect the movement for the most favorable outcome but also will be there to help if an injury occurs.
Tip #5: Meditation
Meditation is not just for Yogis. The practice of meditation can be used anywhere at any time to help relax the body.
Meditating has the ability to lower anxiety and stress, relax the body, and release endorphins, those remarkable chemicals that make us feel happy and joyful.
Mindfulness is one of the critical components of meditation and the easiest to practice multiple times a day. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on you, your body, and the current moment.
When you are in tune with what your body is feeling, you will be able to train how your mind perceives pain. This shift in perception can increase your tolerance and lower the stress impact of pain on your body.
Mindfulness meditation is not something that has to be practiced for hours on end. You can practice mindfulness techniques for five to ten minutes, just about anywhere.
Spend ten minutes each morning in the quiet of your room, listening to music on the bus, on a quick break at work even.
If the act of meditation is something you don’t enjoy, simply spend several minutes a day focusing on deep, saturating breaths.
During this time, clear your mind and let your lungs expand, and the airflow from you. You will become very in tune with your body with that one simple act.
Tip #6: Water Support
Water therapy is one of the best forms of exercise and therapeutic support for those with back problems.
The buoyancy of the water allows for extended movements with increased support for muscles and joints and less strain on the rest of the body.
While this form of exercise is excellent for those who struggle to maintain a land-based therapy due to restraint, it is suitable for any type of back pain.
Beyond the gentle resistance, pain tends to stiffen the body due to the mental expectation of pain. That expectation keeps you from fully completing the stretches and therapy.
Water therapy allows those pains to reside, and fuller movement helps to get the most out of treatment. That relaxation also reduces the pressure on joints and can lead to a prolonged reduction of pain.
But water does not have to be used just for exercise and therapy.
It can also be used as the primary source of relaxation for the back.
Using warm soaking pools creates a therapeutic effect on the muscles and joints.
Tip #7: Heat
Heat therapy is used on a plethora of injuries and is still one of the central effective pain remedies for the back and neck.
Using heat on injured areas to reduce pain causes multiple processes to begin. The heat dilates blood vessels in the muscles that surround your lumbar spine.
The dilation allows for a more significant flow of nutrients and oxygen, which in turn heal any damaged tissue that may be there.
Heat also stimulates receptors in the skin. The effect on the sensory receptors decreases the transmission of pain signals to the brain and allows for relief.
The pain relief isn’t permanent but is very helpful when the intensity of discomfort is high. The comfort can sometimes be instantaneous.
The other primary effect of heat therapy is the facilitation of stretching for the soft tissue that surrounds the spine. This also includes muscles and adhesions.
The stretching reduces stiffness and the threat of injury. Flexibility is ultimately increased, which plays a significant role in decreasing back pain.
Heat therapies are often very inexpensive to implement and can be administered almost anywhere.
When at home, a hot bath or shower can be used, and while out, portable heating pads can be activated. Often, just turning on your heated seats in the car can help with the pain.
Always make sure to administer heat therapy safely and watch the temperature to avoid burning of the skin.
Tip #8: Vitamin D3
Just like Calcium, Vitamin D is essential to the body. But what exactly does Vitamin D do?
Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin that assists the body in absorbing calcium and phosphorus. Getting enough Vitamin D helps to build and maintain strong bones.
Vitamin D is naturally made by the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Many different things can cause a deficiency, including limited exposure to sunlight, sunblock, protective clothing, and age.
A recent peer-reviewed report from Pain Treatment Topics found that the administration of Vitamin D may provide relief for up to 95% of patients suffering from back pain.
Stewart B. Leavitt, MA, Ph.D., and author of the report stated, “our examination of the research, which included 22 clinical investigations of patients with pain, found that those with chronic back pain almost always had inadequate levels of vitamin D.
When sufficient vitamin D supplementation was provided, their pain either vanished or was at least helped to a significant extent.”
The study stated that inadequate vitamin D intake could result in a softening of bone surfaces, or osteomalacia, which causes pain.
The lower back is a focal point for this pain. In one study of 360 back pain sufferers, 95% were found to be deficient in the vitamin.
As far as the dose of vitamin D that should be taken to help relieve the pain, it is recommended that up to 2000 IU or more be taken. The current recommended dose is only 600 IU. Make sure to check with your doctor for your personal recommended treatment and the safety of starting the supplement.
Tip #9: Anti-Inflammatory Diets
What we put into our bodies is just as important, and often more important, than what we treat the outside. A healthy diet doesn’t just help maintain a healthy weight, but it also affects the mind and the tolerance for pain.
Obesity can cause or exacerbate back issues by putting pressure and strain on joints and muscles.
The foods that are eaten, and how much, can prevent and even reverse a myriad of health conditions. This includes different types of back pains.
We discussed inflammation and its effect on back pain earlier in this report. One crucial way to eliminate inflammation is through an anti-inflammatory diet.
Several studies have shown that the power of this diet can be just as effective at treating back pain as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen.
The anti-inflammatory diet is not hard to implement, and you’ll be surprised how many foods you probably already eat within the diet’s guidelines.
Here is a list of some of the main anti-inflammatory foods suggested for the diet:
- Brightly-colored fruits and vegetables like carrots, beets, blueberries, and oranges
- Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel
- Seeds like chia, pumpkin, and sunflower
- Leafy, green vegetables like spinach, collards, broccoli, and kale
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts
- Monosaturated healthy fats like avocado, canola oil, and olive oil
But it’s not just about what you put in your body, but what you also avoid. Stay away from inflammation-promoting foods like fast food, processed foods, and high saturated fat and refined carbs.
If you focus on a clean and whole food diet, your body will thank you.
Tip #10: Calcium
Everyone knows that our bodies need calcium to build strong bones, but what does calcium do for back pain?
Beyond being the key to strong teeth and bones, getting the right dose of calcium, paired with Vitamin D, can relieve the pain caused by conditions affecting bone mass and strength.
The amount of calcium recommended varies depending on age, but the average mg for an adult should be between 1,000 and 2,000.
Most people should not take more than 2,000mg per day because too much calcium can cause heart problems and increase the risk of bone fractures.
Calcium can be taken orally through supplements but also can be consumed in everyday foods. Some of the best Calcium-rich foods are:
- Salmon and canned sardines
- Dairy, such as non-processed cheeses, milk, and plain yogurt
- Leafy, green vegetables like broccoli and kale
- Soybeans and tofu
Your physician can also prescribe you a calcium supplement or refer you to a dietician.
The dietician will be able to make more thorough nutritional recommendations based on your diet, age, weight, and health condition.
Back pain, though incredibly common, can be debilitating. Your life may be interrupted temporarily or long term, taking away the enjoyment you find in everyday activities.
The pain can also disrupt essential daily activities like working and exercising.
But thankfully, it doesn’t have to.
Choosing to remedy the pain from back injuries through holistic and all-natural approaches will not only help in the short term but also create a healthier and stronger body for the long run.
Eating healthy, exercising, learning to be mindful of your body, and understanding the science behind the remedies will help you better manage your pain so you can get back to living the life you deserve.
Don’t feel trapped in pain medications and a sedentary lifestyle.
Make sure to talk to your doctor before implementing any type of pain management regimen and always trust your body.