Natural Remedies for Low Back Pain
- Posted on: Jan 23 2019
One of the more frustrating ailments plaguing people today is lower back pain. Blame it on our sedentary lifestyle, or blame it on the fact we don’t get enough physical exercise. In fact, you could blame low back pain on a number of things. Regardless of the cause, it’s a frequent issue that brings many patients in for an MRI of the lumbar spine in Humble and in Houston.
Do you suffer from lower back pain? If so, this article may be just what the doctor ordered! Pardon the pun.
We’ve scoured the web (and got the OK from our Doctors), and found eight natural remedies for low back pain. Some of them might be worth trying before considering more extreme measures. However, it never hurts to get a second opinion and ask your doctor for their best recommendations as well.
Without further ado, let’s dive right into the natural remedies for low back pain!
1. Try Yoga (or at least workout and stretch)
Yes, working out and stretching is quite the cliche, but considering the fact that obesity literally means carrying around extra weight, all that stress on your body tends to settle in the lower parts of it. Think about it – if you’re just a mere 10 or 20 pounds overweight, you’re putting extra stress on your lower extremities as you carry yourself around throughout the day. Dropping a few pounds might relieve that stress on your body, and as a result, ease the pain.
So why yoga? The reason yoga is so wonderful for lower back pain is that as you practice it, you develop flexibility and strength while also creating balance in your body. People who do yoga don’t just benefit from losing weight, they also feel more centered, and enjoy better physical balance overall.
The way acupuncture works, according to traditional Chinese medicine, is by unblocking the natural flow of energy through the stimulation of specific points on the body. Some western medical practitioners believe that one of the reasons it works is because when the needles are placed in specific points of the body, the brain releases neural hormones like beta-Endorphins making pain easier to tolerate. On the other hand, the other reason it may work is that the needles change how your nerves react, and they release and dissolve inflammation around the joints.
3. Get a New Mattress, But Limit Bedrest
Sleeping in a bad position, or sleeping on a mattress that is too firm/too soft, can result in pain throughout your waking hours. If your mattress is sagging too much or is older than 10 years, you might want to replace it. Your best bet is a medium firm mattress, as it will allow your spine to rest in a more natural position as you sleep.
Why should you limit bed rest, you ask? Because as you stay in one position too long, your muscles get stiff and rigid, making movement more painful. Instead, you should move as often as possible to keep your muscles fluid. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why if you sit at work all day, you should make a point to get up and move around for a few minutes at least once an hour. Too much sitting can actually cause or significantly increase your lower back pain.
4. Change Your Shoes
Your shoes need to be supportive because some back pains start from the ground up. If your feet are rolling inward in your shoes, it could cause you to be more susceptible to lower back pain. Though they might not be as attractive, you might want to look into custom orthotic shoes or at least orthotic inserts.
If you wear high heels every day, for example, you might be suffering from back pain simply because of the lack of support wearing them causes. It might be time to swap them out for nice orthotic flats. If you need to wear high heels, at least limit their wear time, and swap into comfortable supportive sneakers as soon as possible.
5. Take an Epsom Salts Bath
This remedy is definitely one you will want to clear with your doctor first, as some people can’t use Epsom salts. For example, people with diabetes should steer clear of Epsom salts because it can cause poor blood flow and nerve damage. Nonetheless, if your doctor does clear you for Epsom salt use, it can help reduce inflammation which can relieve your low back pain.
6. Consider Physical Therapy or Seeing a Chiropractor
A physical therapist can teach you the ideal stretches that will help reduce your pain. They can also give you additional techniques for working out without hurting yourself. Some physical therapists can use things like electrical stimulation, ultrasound therapy, and active release therapy as well to help alleviate your pain.
Regarding seeing a chiropractor – it’s critical you only see licensed ones with plenty of experience. What chiropractors do is manually apply force to your joints to “reset them” into their proper place. Sometimes this manipulation can relieve pain, reduce muscle tightness, and even encourage the healing of tears and wounds. The reason it’s so important to see an expert is because one misstep in the manipulation of your joints can cause extreme pain, and in the worst cases permanent damage.
7. Swap Between Heat and Ice
The reason over the counter products like Icy Hot are so popular for back pain is that they both heat and cool the area to give some relief. Ice eases swelling, and heat boosts blood circulation and loosens tight muscles. An alternative to using something like Icy Hot would be to use a cold pack for about 20 minutes on the area that hurts and then swap to a heating pad for 20 minutes. By repeating this procedure, a few times a day, you should end up feeling some relief.
8. Meditation and Journaling
Meditation and journaling might seem like a strange remedy for low back pain, but for some people simply taking time to relax their bodies and recharge themselves is all they need to feel relief. The deep breathing exercises often done in meditation gets more oxygen into the body as well, which has been found to relieve the body and mind of chronic stress. The more relaxed the body is, the easier it is for it to heal itself.
You Still Might Need a Doctor
Unfortunately, at some point, all the remedies in the world might not be enough to give you prolonged relief. If the pain worsens or continues for a significant amount of time despite your efforts, you might want to go ahead and see a doctor.
If you catch yourself reaching for the Advil or Aleve more than the recommended dosage, or for several days in a row even after trying the remedies mentioned here, a more serious issue may be to blame for your low back pain. To learn more about having an MRI of the lumbar spine in Houston or Humble, click here.