It is estimated 80% of adults experience back pain in their lifetime. It can result from strenuous activity or simply moving the wrong way. Addressing back pain quickly can prevent the need for surgery and prolonged medical treatment.
We’ve compiled the best natural therapies to relieve – and prevent – back pain.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Different sleep positions, and strategically placed pillows, can help alleviate sleep-induced back pain. Back sleepers may benefit from a pillow under the knees, while side sleepers may find relief with a pillow between the knees. Stomach sleeping is not encouraged as it twists the neck and stresses the spine. Having the right mattress support (not too soft) is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep and waking up refreshed.
Too much bed rest can cause muscle weakness and exacerbate back pain. If you’re already in pain, you can stay active with gentle exercise. Walking, swimming, and stretching will keep muscles strong. As you recover, increase activity when it feels comfortable to do so.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight causes strain on muscles, joints and ligaments. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight may cause some aches and pains to disappear.
Seek Professional Treatment
Body work treatments such as chiropractic, osteopathy, and physical therapy can ease pain, encourage proper spinal alignment and increase your range of motion. They will help you establish a proper exercise program that will accelerate healing.
Too much tightness and tension can lead to back pain. Exercises that increase flexibility, such as yoga, decrease back pain in three ways: unwinding tightness and imbalances, increasing body awareness, and improving breathing techniques. Breathing exercises help the parasympathetic nervous system relax, which can further reduce muscle tension.
Improve Core Strength
Strong core muscles can help prevent excess strain on your back. When abdominal muscles are weak, the lower back picks up the slack. Keeping muscles strong ensures that your trunk works correctly and prevents imbalances.
For short-term relief, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen, can help. These medications come with potential side effects, so always speak with a medical professional to identify the right medication and dosage.
Natural supplements can relieve tension and help ease back pain. There are a range of remedies, including glucosamine, flaxseed oil, calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin C. Topical treatments such as arnica gels and
creams can be very helpful without interfering with any current medications.
Apply Heat or Ice
After a workout, use an ice pack on any sore spots to proactively reduce inflammation and swelling. If you’re dealing with muscle cramps or back spasms, apply moist heat to the affected area with a heating pad.
Warm water encourages muscles to relax and eases cramping. If a warm bath doesn’t cut it, a Jacuzzi or whirlpool can massage the sore spots on your back to provide additional relief. Furthermore, exercises performed in the pool will put less strain on your joints.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) machines are small, battery-powered devices that transmit low-voltage electrical currents through electrodes attached to your skin. They are very safe, and we use them in our practice since many patients have had success with TENS therapy. What makes them so effective? One theory is that these devices scramble the message of pain to the brain — literally blocking it. Another theory is that stimulating the nerves may help the body produce natural painkillers called endorphins.
If these natural therapies don’t provide relief, contact our office and we will help! Remember, we do NOT require you to have a prescription or referral to receive treatment at our facility. With Direct Access you may have up to 10 visits of physical therapy in a 30 day period without a prescription. However, if your insurance policy requires a referral, one must be obtained by your primary care physician.