Whether you’ve been experiencing back pain for awhile now or have only recently found yourself suffering from back pain, you’re in luck. Below, after explaining some of the common causes of back pain, we’ll dive into some natural remedies for back pain.
Since these are natural remedies, you won’t have to consume over-the-counter drugs, and you should be able to try out many of the treatments without much (or any) shopping at all.
Causes of Back Pain
The cause of one’s back pain isn’t always known. Though sometimes resulting from an injury, back pain can also make its way into our lives slowly and mysteriously. Some less obvious causes of back pain include muscle or ligament strains in the muscles of the back, arthritis, herniated or ruptured disks, osteoporosis, and sciatica.
If you’re interested in determining the source of your back pain, consulting your local doctor is always a good start. Regardless of the source of your pain, however, there are some steps you can take in the comfort of your home to start managing or alleviating back pain.
For some of the following remedies, you should be fine to try them out at home without worry. However, you may want to consult a doctor before performing some of the activities or trying some of the other remedies listed below.
You shouldn’t need to rely on ibuprofen or other pain-killing drugs to get through your daily routine without back pain. Thankfully, there’s a whole slew of natural remedies for back pain, many of which have been utilized since before the advent of modern medicine.
Keep in mind that some of the following remedies aim to soothe your pain and not necessarily treat the cause of your back pain. This is usually sufficient if your back pain isn’t chronic or is only the result of a recent injury or strain. For chronic back pain, you’ll likely want to — after consulting a physician — try the more active remedies, as these can prevent future back pain rather than only relieving currently felt pain.
Heat or cold can be effective treatments for back pain. Heat treatment especially can effectively provide back spasm relief.
Hot and cold therapy involves heating or cooling various muscles in the back. Doing so can relieve tension and pain, eliminating spasms in the process.
For either hot or cold treatment, apply heat or cold to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. You’ll want to be sure that the source of the heat or cold is not too extreme. If you’re using a hot or cold pack, try wrapping a towel around it to keep the temperature within a safe range. A back of ice or a bag of frozen vegetables (wrapped in a towel) can work if you don’t have a dedicated ice pack.
Showers or baths, as well as electric heating pads, can also work as a way to provide therapy. Do not use an electric blanket while lying in bed (or set an alarm if you do), as falling asleep with the blanket on can be harmful.
Ice the area about three times a day. Do not apply heat or cold too often within a short time span, as this can negate any benefits. A good routine would involve icing in the morning, afternoon, and again (at least two hours or so) before bed.
Exercise & Activities
Though it may seem contradictory, lying in bed for too long can actually worsen back pain. Unless your back pain is the result of an injury, you’ll want to try to stay active to speed up the recovery process. Stretching, yoga, meditation, and strengthening exercises are all effective ways to ease your back pain.
As stated above, be sure to consult a doctor if you have any concerns about performing any of the following activities.
Stretching is one of the most effective ways to treat chronic back pain, especially for those with low back pain. A recent study compared stretching and yoga for treating back pain, and the researchers found that stretching was the most effective.
Videos on stretching for the lower back can be found on the internet, as well as on various websites and in books dedicated to stretching.
Yoga and meditation are also effective for relieving chronic back pain.
There are several ways to get started using yoga to fight back pain.
If you’re keen on practicing yoga in the comfort of your own home, you only need to search around online for yoga videos or yoga books. Be sure to start out slow with the most basic stretches and poses, before moving on to more advanced yoga if necessary.
You can also check your local surroundings for a yoga studio. Taking yoga classes in-person is ideal because you’ll have a certified yoga instructor with you at all times who can make sure you’re doing everything with correct form.
Some people like to combine the above two options by finding a friend or two and practicing yoga at a local gym — or at someone’s home. Not only is this great for your health, but it’s also a great way to spend time with friends and socialize.
If your back pain is the result of a muscle imbalance or weak core or back muscles, you may benefit from performing exercises designed to strengthen these problem areas.
A quick internet search should bring up a list of beneficial exercises for your core and back muscles. You’ll ideally want to try to perform these exercises every day, or as often as you can. Once your back pain subsides, you’ll want to continue performing these exercises as needed. If you feel your back beginning to hurt again, you’ll be prepared and can start incorporating the exercises into your daily routine again.
Oils, Herbs, & Vitamins
Oils, herbs, and vitamins can play a vital role in restoring your back to its healthy state. Natural oils are often meant to be rubbed on affected areas, herbs can often be made into teas or ingested, and vitamins can be found in foods or as supplements.
Lavender oil, chamomile oil, ginger oil, and peppermint oil work to reduce inflammation and control muscle spasms. Frankincense works as well, and can also function to improve circulation.
White willow bark, turmeric, devil’s claw, and ginger are useful in treating back pain. Some of these herbs have side effects or can negatively interact with other medications, so you’ll want to consult a doctor before consuming any herbs.
Vitamins B12 and D can help your body fight back pain.
Vitamin D can be obtained from exposure to the sun, from certain foods, or from supplemental pills. This vitamin is important for the absorption of calcium into your body, and calcium keeps your bones as strong as possible. Foods containing Vitamin D include fish, liver, egg yolks, and some kinds of milk.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps with your body’s metabolism, forming red blood cells and keeping the nervous system functioning properly. B12 is important to have in your system because a lack of Vitamin B12 can lead to weakness and loss of balance, among other things.
Magnesium is a mineral present in your body that is necessary for proper bodily functioning. Low levels of magnesium can lead to muscle weakness, cramps or spasms, fatigue, and other symptoms.
Corrections to one’s posture can lead to a significant decrease in back pain, if not eliminating it entirely. The Egoscue Method is a particular method of fixing posture problems that has been around a while and has shown to be highly successful. The Alexander Technique is another way to teach your body correct posture and relieve back pain.
However you decide to get rid of the back pain that may be plaguing your daily routine, you’ll want to be cautious when trying new things. If your back pain worsens at any point while trying the above remedies, stop immediately and consult a doctor. The aforementioned natural remedies for back pain have worked for many, but there’s no single remedy that works for everyone.