When it comes to treating back pain, surgery should be reserved only for patients with severe conditions or when every other option including more natural treatments have been exhausted.
For most people, lifestyle changes and alternative therapies can prevent back pain from even starting. But for those that already have issues, natural therapies can help alleviate or keep back pain at bay long term.
Finding the perfect pain relief technique is usually a process of trial and error, making it worth exploring various approaches. Try these natural pain-relieving strategies for your back pain and see what works best for you. If your pain results from a sudden injury or is not relieved by self-care after a week or two, we recommend you be evaluated by a health professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Having an accurate diagnosis will also assist you in choosing which therapies will be best suited to your needs.
1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
Did you know foods we eat – and how much – can prevent and reverse a host of health conditions, including some types of back pain? Inflammation is your body’s natural response to protect itself from harm and is a known cause of back pain. Studies have shown eating an anti-inflammatory diet can be just as effective at treating back pain as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen with only the side effects of looking and feeling better.
Foods that fight inflammation include:
< >Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, blueberries, oranges, strawberries, and tomatoes. The deeper and brighter the color, the more nutrients there are.Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerelGreen, leafy vegetables, including spinach, kale, collards, and broccoliHealthy, monounsaturated fats, such as avocado, olive oil, and canola oilNuts, including almonds and walnutsSeeds, such as chia, sunflower, and pumpkin : The Anti-Inflammation Diet & Recipe Book by Jessica Black, N.D.
2. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness and meditation are well-known therapies to relieve stress and anxiety. Research suggests mindfulness may even reduce the intensity of low back pain and improve back function in the short term. Mindfulness practice can be achieved by learning to do proper breath work, practicing EFT(Tapping), journaling, meditation or even just sitting quietly for a few minutes, focusing on relaxing each part of you body from top to bottom. Not sure which technique will work best for you or exactly how? Book a session with us .
3. Move more
You might be tempted to take a break from all physical activity when your back hurts but doing so actually can make the pain worse. A personalized combination of strength training exercises focusing on the core (the abdominal and back muscles), flexibility exercises, and aerobic activity can effectively prevent and control chronic back pain:
< >Having a weak or inflexible core puts stress on your lower back and spine. This in turn can causes issues with your neck and hips as well. Core strength exercises can provide additional support to the lower back, by improving posture and reducing strain on the spine.Flexibility of the muscles and ligaments in the back increases your range of motion and improves back function. Feeling like you can’t really get a good stretch? Try an American Table Thai session with Erica. She will assist and guide you through proper flexibility movements.Aerobic exercise can increase blood flow and nutrients to the tissues in the back, speeding up healing and reducing stiffness that can lead to back pain. Just keep from the hard pounding on your joints kind of aerobic exercise as this can also make things worse.order here. Be sure to use code: mybestme for up to $50 Off your first purchase
Drinking infused-herbal drinks, such as ginger-green tea, which contains the pain-relieving benefits of both green tea and ginger. Ginger-green tea bags are readily available at grocery stores. Hot or cold, these are the tea bags I drink.
Over a period of time, these anti-inflammatory agents can build up in your bloodstream, so including these drinks in your daily diet will help reduce overall inflammation and prevent new inflammatory pain.
5. Skip the stilettos
High-heeled sandals, pumps, and stilettos are definitely fashionable and sexy but they can actually push your lower back, spine, and hips out of alignment, which leads to muscle overuse, imbalance and back pain. Even shoes with platform or block heels can be bad for your back over time.
Not willing to part with your shoes? Try to avoid wearing them for long periods of time. Try wearing lower heels, avoiding pointy toed-shoes that squish the feet into an awkward position, and use gel or padded inserts to reduce the impact on your hips and spine.
6. Quit smoking
Now this one might come as a surprise but smoking inhibits blood flow and prevents tissue throughout the body from getting oxygen and nutrients This can cause the spine and back muscles to weaken. The result: chronic back pain.
7. Avoid static posture for prolonged periods
Staying in one position for a long period of time can cause havoc on your muscles and joints by forcing the muscles and spine to either stay contracted or stay over-stretched. This can cause back issues such as kyphosis (a hunched back), compressed vertebrae, or even pinched nerves. To prevent and help with these issues, follow these simple tips:
< >Don’t sit for too long or get yourself a standing desk. This will prevent pressure of the spinal discs from compressing the spine that sitting causes. Consciously check on your posture throughout the day. Make sure to roll your shoulders back, wiggle your neck until it finds a comfortable position looking straight ahead, and constrict your abs to take some of the pressure off your back. Poor posture for long periods of time can cause changes in the spine that can look and feel horrible. Change positions or walk away for a bit every hour. This will prevent fatigue in the muscles that are being used while you are sitting and offer your brain and eyes a chance to relax before going back to work. For example, if you are standing at your standing desk for an hour, go walk around your house or your building for a few minutes, then go back to your desk and sit for the next hour. This will change the muscles that are being used between sitting and standing throughout the day. Yay for no more hunched over neck pain!a July 2017 study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, patients with chronic back pain were less likely to take pain medication after participating in a 12-week yoga practice, which in this study was comparable to the results of patients who participated in physical therapy.
Yoga is a great way to stretch your spine, relieve the pressure of the spinal discs, relax the muscles, enhance circulation, bring healthy nutrients to the muscles and joints, increase your flexibility and strength, decrease your stress, which effects pain management.
If you are a beginner, make sure to start slow. No handstands yet! We are big fans of Yin Yoga and any yoga that is slower in it’s flow. As with all exercise, form is everything! Don’t be afraid to use props such a straps, pillows, a chair or yoga blocks.
Try bringing yoga into your daily routine; beginning your day with a morning flow and ending with some relaxing yoga stretches to stretch out the muscles that were compressed from working. It’s more important to develop a daily practice than to marathon a full class here so if all you can do is 10 minutes then do that, every single day and work your way up.
Check out this post with 10 Poses for Back Pain
9. Try meditation
Believe it or not, meditation can change the way you view your body and pain. It can release endorphins to make us happier, decrease anxiety and stress, and create a mindset of positivity, instead of negativity and pain.
The great thing about meditation is there is no wrong way to meditate. While you meditating in the morning can give you exponential benefits by setting you up for a more positive day with less stress, it can be just as beneficial to meditate in the middle of your day or before you go to bed. Try out each one and see what works best for you. You can also use guided meditation, soft music to meditate, bells and chimes, or noise-cancelling headphones to enjoy pure quiet. And it’s ok, it thoughts or noises keep coming into your mind. In fact it’s expected. Acknowledge them and release them as they do. “In one ear and out the other” if you need a visual.
Try this simple, targeted meditation: find a quiet place, and begin breathing rhythmically 10 times. Once you are in the relaxed state focus on the areas that are causing you pain, send love and healing to that area. You can do this by picturing a warm healing glow hugging the area of pain, healing and then leaving your body, taking the pain with it or picturing a beam of healing light coming in from the sky, the universe or God above, through the crown of your head, traveling straight down your spine and branching off to your areas of pain and carrying the pain straight through and out of your feet.
We recommend this meditation CD
10. Go for a swim
The buoyancy of the water lets you enjoy the benefits of exercise with less pain. Exercising in water also helps regulate the functioning of nerves and muscles, further relieving pain.
Like warmer pools? Look into water exercise classes and hydrotherapy pools. Water therapy exercises are often done in water between 83 degrees and 88 degrees and hydrotherapy pool temperatures are often more than 90 degrees.
Not sure what to do in the water? Check out these Water therapy exercises.
11. Keep a self-activating heat patch handy
Heat patches that activate when in contact with the body are a great tool to carry during long drives or keep in your office, your purse or nightstand. Heat patches activate quickly, can be worn inside your clothing, and provide a continuous supply of heat to relieve your back pain. Follow the package instructions and avoid wearing the patch for long durations to prevent skin damage. Some heat patches are also infused with medications for more effective pain relief. Before using heat patches, make sure the site you will apply it to is not already harboring heat, which could indicate inflammation, In this case, ice may be what your body needs. Click here to order
12. Consider taking Supplements, using essential oils and CBD products
Vitamin D3, Calcium, Magnesium, Glucosamine & Chondroitin, Devil’s Claw, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Turmeric, Capsaicin, Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicines, Peppermint oil, Wintergreen oil, Lemongrass oil, Ginger, Lavender and Eucalyptus oils, Roman and German Chamomile oils, Rosemary and Sandalwood oils, CBD supplements and creams can all help reduce pain. Look for a future post with more details and how to benefit safely from these and more.
Of course, we recommend consulting your doctor or pharmacist whenever considering natural therapies. While they may not be well versed on their actual benefits, it is important to make sure there are no potential contraindications with medications or treatments you may be receiving.
13. Make sure you are functioning ergonomically correct
Throughout the day, the force of gravity is compressing us. Our muscles must push back up against gravity to maintain us verticality. When we are in one position for a long time, we rely on a specific muscle group, and at some point, those muscles will start to fatigue. Even the best posture will be affected when your muscles are too fatigued.
Ergonomics is the science of arranging your workspace or the things you use in daily life to fit your needs and body, making you more efficient and reducing discomfort.
While each person’s needs can vary, there are some basic ergonomic principles that generally apply to everyone to help you fight gravity with just your muscles.
Here are some tips to help you be more ergonomically correct. Need a visual? Just ask, the next time you are in and we can demonstrate.
< >Make sure you are sitting enough in your chair so that your back can be supported by the back of the chair.Your feet need to rest comfortable on the ground and your knees should be barely lower than your hips. This will provide stability, comfort, and not impede your circulation.Your back should be in a neutral position. Take a moment to be mindful of whether or not you are leaning forward or arching your lower back or neck and correct. Roll your shoulders back a few times as a check in for your posture.Your computer monitor should be at or barely below eye level, so you aren’t slumping to view your screen.Your forearms should be well supported on the armrests of the workstation and the armrests raised high enough that you can rest your elbows on them comfortably.Your wrists should be slightly lower than your elbows as well, helping to prevent unnecessary strain.Check your pillow. Replace it if needed. Keep trying new ones until you find “the one” that keeps your neck in a neutral position, cradles your head with comfort and allows you to get a great night sleepReplace your mattress if it’s time. Too often we procrastinate this purchase. Turn off the phone the TV, the computer and anything with blue light behind it at least an hour before bed so your brain can begin to settle down.Read a book, practice a slow yoga, meditate, or do something relaxing.Spray your sheets with an aromatherapy blend or diffuse essential oils for rest and relaxation.Sip a cup of tea.Instead of waiting to brush your teeth and wash you face until right before bed, do that as soon as you begin your quieting down activities so you don’t have to get back up and stimulated energetically.Drink our Apothecherry (use code: mybestme) supplement, loaded with antioxidants and naturally occurring melatonin to fall and stay asleep easier.Listen to a sleep meditation or subliminal CD, track or app We like this one.American Journal of Epidemiology examined the association between overweight and obesity and low back pain, and found that both conditions increased the risk for low back pain.
16. Get a massage
Regular massage does so much for the body. It relaxes muscles, increases circulation, aid in removal of toxins and lactic acid build up, increases flexibility and more. Massage should be part of any chronic back pain as well as sudden onset, such as from shoveling. Click here to schedule now.
17. Try acupuncture
Acupuncture has been shown to benefit both painful nerves and muscles in the back. By stimulating certain points of the body, parts of the nervous system are also stimulated to relieve pain.
Questions? Give us call or email us. 215-292-1144 email@example.com
*As with all of our education, information and inspiration, we recommend that you research any suggestions you choose to implement. You do so strickly by your choice. When in doubt, consult a physician or appropriate professional. Your health and well-being are in your hands. Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey.