Unfortunately, much of the medical community is taking the wrong approach to treating back pain. They focus on the symptoms rather than the source of the issue. This leaves many people without answers, attempting to manage their condition with pain relievers alone. In my many years of treating patients, I’ve seen that this simply doesn’t work.
While the key is finding the root of your back pain, I understand that you still might want to find some relief while you’re on your journey to wellness. Here are a few natural home remedies for back pain I recommend for my clients.
Move Your Body
It might seem counterintuitive to get moving when you’re in pain, but light to moderate exercise has proven to be an effective pain management tool. I recommend trying stretching or yoga combined with walking or other low-impact cardiovascular exercise.
Stretching the muscles that support your spine will help them release and ease tension. These muscles include your glutes, hip flexors, and the muscles on either side of your spine. Check out these stretches and follow along at home.
Low-impact exercise also helps to ease the muscles around the point of inflammation, as well as releases endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain relievers. A short walk around the neighborhood can have the same (or an even greater) effect as taking over-the-counter pain medication, and exercising is better for your overall health.
Using heating pads and ice packs are great methods for relieving pain. Icing the problem area helps to reduce inflammation, and heating the area helps to relax the muscles. If an injury has just occured, treat the area with ice for the first couple of days before moving on to heat therapy. Remember not to leave a heating pad or ice pack on for more than 20 or 30 minutes per session.
Arnica is an herb that is used as the essential ingredient in many homeopathic pain relief creams and gels. If ingested in its pure form, arnica is actually toxic to humans, but in diluted amounts as a topical treatment, this herb is thought to ease pain, soreness, and bruising when applied directly to inflamed areas. Arnica topical gels are available at most drug stores﹘ look for brand names like Arnicare.
Maybe you’ve heard of a TENS unit as a method to ease muscle pain. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator, and TENS units are portable, battery-powered devices that transmit low-voltage electrical currents through electrodes that are attached to your skin.
It’s thought that these electrical currents provide relief by scrambling, blocking, or overriding the brain’s pain signals. While not entirely proven or understood by the medical community, TENS units are considered very safe. You can find affordable TENS units online for around $30.
My last piece of advice is to sleep! Easy, right? Not exactly. In order for your body to truly rest and recover, you’ve got to get enough quality, restorative sleep. Look at how long and how well you’re sleeping at night. If you’re not getting at least 8 hours in per night, make that a goal. Also, if you tend to snore or wake up frequently during the night, you might not be getting very much quality sleep. You should consider seeing a specialist to look into the cause of these issues.
The Bottom Line
While these at-home remedies might be helpful, you should see a chiropractor to address the root of your pain. The longer you put off treating the cause, the worse your condition will become and the harder it will be to correct. Don’t wait! Call Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy to set up your first appointment.