Back pain can send the alarm bells off in your head when it feels like moving, standing, or walking is going to result in excruciating pain. Most acute and chronic back pain, however, is rarely the result of a debilitating injury or condition which requires surgical intervention.
If you’re worried your back pain is going to require a giant cortisone shot or hospital procedure, talk to you doctor first about pharma-free treatment options that can help. They may recommend one or more of these:
Moderate low-impact exercise, or fitness activities which involve both feet remaining on the ground at the same time, are easy on joints and muscles, and actually help relieve back pain. By boosting blood flow, stretching muscles, and producing feel good hormones, exercising like dancing, hiking, swimming, tennis, light weight lifting, and even mowing the lawn, have been shown to soothe sore and achy back muscles in the long term.
Ice and Heat Therapy
When you apply an ice pack to aid back pain, the cooling sensation actually numbs nerve endings, causing pain signals to slow down and spasming to cease. Ice therapy also constricts blood vessels in the affected area helping to reduce the body’s natural immune response to inflame the tissue with blood and biochemicals. Alternating with heat therapy allows new blood fresh with nutrients and oxygen to flood the affected tissue and start the healing process.
Wearing a back brace may seem smart for someone with a physical labor job like lifting heavy loads at a warehouse, but when it comes to back pain, a brace may also aid sore, stiff muscles and potentially bulging or herniated discs. By applying compression to the spine and adjacent muscles and tendons, the best back brace for bulging discs helps relieve painful inflammation, stabilize the vulnerable lumbar spine region, as well as limit motion to prevent exacerbating an existing injury.
A full body massage sounds good just about any time, but when it comes to painful, tight back muscles, it’s especially beneficial. Not only does massage help boost blood circulation to strained back muscles and work out scar tissue, but it was shown in one 2012 study to help stimulate cell mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerhouse structures in cells that help provide energy to function and repair damaged tissues.
Acupuncture has paved a way for itself amongst western medicine as a natural alternative for pain relief. This ancient Chinese practice involves a trained and licensed acupuncturist inserting super thin needles around your body’s pressure points to help realign the flow of energy. Experts believe it actually triggers the body’s opioid receptors and nervous system causing an analgesic effect, or pain relief.
Dealing with chronic back pain over a longer period of time? You may consider changing the way you sleep at night. Bad sleeping form occurs when an older mattress doesn’t support the natural curvature of your back and causes strain and undue stress on your back and neck muscles. Changing your mattress firmness or even sleeping with a pillow under your legs (if on your back) or between your knees (if on your side) may help.
Combining exercise and gentle stretching with the stress-relieving meditation of yoga practice is a trending recipe for back pain relief. Understanding how exercising and stretching can soothe stiff joints and boost blood flow to sore back muscles is important, but then also incorporating a mindfulness component that helps relax and fight stress can also dial down muscle tension and promote an overall positive sense of wellbeing.
Going to a chiropractor or physical therapist carries some scientific backing in the discussion of natural back pain remedies. Spinal manipulation which may involve manually jolting and moving body parts, traction, and applying pressure to sore and tense muscles, can improve nerve function, re-lengthen the spine, and reorganize jumbled muscle fibers. A 2015 study based on a randomized clinical trial revealed that manual-thrust spinal manipulation helped significantly reduce low back pain during about a month of treatment for participating patients.
While the American College of Physicians actually reported in early 2017 that most back pain subsides on its own within a couple weeks, it is hard for most people to just “tough it out,” especially if back pain is interfering with day to day living. Knowing the array of natural remedies available, however, may make it easier to walk past the medicine cabinet and stress less about potential dangers.