Nearly everyone suffers from back pain at some point in their lives, possibly from a sports injury or from sitting slouched in front of a computer all day, whatever the case, you can suddenly find yourself among the 116 million Americans living with pain each and every day. But no matter when it appears or what may have caused it, back pain can be a real pain, so to speak, to deal with. If you’re suffering from a back pain problem, try the following tips to ease your pain naturally and get back to feeling better.
A vitamin B12 supplement boost helps to ease your back pain by encouraging your body to thicken its protective coating around your nerves, so they don’t “short circuit” and cause pain. Recommended dosage: 1 to 2 mg daily.
Block your nerves’ pain impulses with a capsaicin cream. Rub the healing cream on your back muscles for instant relief. You may experience a burning sensation; capsaicin is the same ingredient that gives chili peppers their spicy kick! Apply it three times daily for chronic pain.
The bark of the white willow tree (Salix alba) contains a substance called salicin, which the body converts to salicylic acid. The same compound that aspirin becomes once it’s been metabolized by the body, salicylic acid is believed to be the active compound in aspirin that relieves pain and inflammation, making white willow tree bark a viable natural alternative.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice designed to unlock energy pathways that are causing pain. British researchers found that pain sufferers who received acupuncture reported less pain and less concerns about their pain compared to people receiving standard care.
Chiropractors use spinal manipulation to relieve pain and restore joint mobility. To do this, doctors of chiropractic manually apply a controlled force to joints that have become damaged or constrained by muscle injury, inflammation, and pain. These “adjustments” have been found in many studies to relieve pain and muscle tightness while also encouraging healing.
The practice of physical postures or poses designed to have specific effects on the mind, body, and spirit, yoga has been known to improve back pain in three ways: unwinding myofascial tightness and imbalances, increasing body awareness, and improving breathing.
Experts often recommend aquatic therapy for patients with back pain. This can include exercises done in warm, therapeutic pools — the buoyancy of the water helps deter strain on the joints — to encourage strengthening of muscles, gentle stretching, or floating to relax the muscles and release tension.
Balneotherapy, also known as spa therapy, is one of the oldest forms of pain relief. This type of therapy involves bathing or soaking in warm water or mineral water to ease pain. A recent study looked at balneotherapy’s effectiveness for low back pain and found promising benefits. However, balneotherapy may not be for everyone. People with heart disease should not use it unless they are under the supervision of a physician.
Experiment with Heat and Cold
When your pain intensifies without warning, experiment with heat and cold therapy. Generally speaking, cold therapy (applied via an ice pack) works better for inflammation and helps to reduce swelling, while heat (via a hot water bottle or heating pad) is ideal for reducing cramping and muscle spasms.
At the onset of back pain, try experimenting with gentle stretching exercises and increase movements as you feel more comfortable. Regular exercise is also a smart idea —strengthening and stretching the muscles can reduce or eliminate many types of back pain. However, it’s best to discuss your current routine and any changes to it with your doctor to avoid aggravating your condition.
Sleep disturbances are common among back pain sufferers, but peaceful slumber goes a long way in helping to repair strained muscles and soothing inflamed joints. For a better night’s sleep, start with a good bed and experiment with different sleeping positions. Try sleeping on your side, on a firm surface, to prevent any curvature of the spine that could lead to or worsen back pain. Additionally, some people find that sleeping with a pillow between their knees helps them sleep more comfortably.
One of the most innovative massage tools on the market, percussive massage devices deliver vibrations deep into the muscles, stimulating blood and lymph circulation, bringing much-needed oxygen and nutrients into the muscle and fascial tissues. This leads to reduced muscle fatigue and soreness, breaks up muscle spasms and alleviates muscle pain. Providing a deep therapeutic effect, percussive massage delivers a powerful healing impact and effectively alleviates lower back and back pain as well as discomfort in many other areas.