by Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
Back pain is a common and wide-spread health problem. It is estimated that up to 31 million people struggle with it at any given time. According to the Global Burden of Disease, back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. While prescription medications may temporarily mitigate symptoms, they can cause side effects ranging from stomach ulcer to addiction.
To relieve back pain naturally, here is what I recommend:
1. Alternative Cold/Hot Therapy
If you have chronic back spasms, you’re likely stuck in the pain-spasm cycle. The initial spasm causes a flood of white blood cells to the site of the pain and a reduction in red blood cells. When this happens, the area is temporarily starved of essential nutrients and oxygen, which causes further injury.
Alternative hot/cold therapy helps break this cycle and relieves back pain naturally.
The best way to use alternative cold/hot therapy is to start with cold. As soon as the spasms begin, reach for that ice pack. Apply ice, alternating on for 20 minutes and off for 20 minutes for a period of 48-72 hours.
At this point, begin gentle stretching exercises to increase circulation and relieve tightness. Then, add heat. This will help get red blood cells to the area, which will promote healing. Follow the same procedure as the ice; 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off until lasting relief is felt.
2. Gentle Stretching Exercises
Gentle stretching exercises can help strengthen and lengthen your back muscles and lessen your pain.
Below are two videos from Atlanta chiropractor, Dr. Jose Guevara, that will help guide you through the process.
Relieve Lower Back Pain Naturally
Relieve Upper Back Pain Naturally
3. Chiropractic Care
Oftentimes, chronic neck and back pain is a result of a previous injury that interferes with the proper alignment of the spine. This causes pressure on the nerves that communicate with your body. Gentle spinal adjustments can help correct this.
Yoga is a gentle, fluid form of exercise that focuses on breathing and connectedness to your body. It helps increase your circulation, flexibility, and sense of well-being. Certain poses, such as the Downward-Facing Dog and Cat Pose can help ease this discomfort and strengthen your muscles over time.
Acupuncture is an ancient Eastern form of medicine designed to improve the flow of life force energy called “Qi” throughout the body. The theory is that there are over 2,000 points on the human body that connect with 20 pathways called “meridians.” Your acupuncturist will use thin, hollow-pointed needles in certain combinations along these meridians to correct imbalances and relieve pain.
Massage helps relieve back pain naturally by increasing your circulation, detoxifying your system, and increasing your endorphins. According to a study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine[1. http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/news/20110705/study-massage-helps-treat-low-back-pain], 36% and 39% of participants who received regular massage over a 10-week period, stated that their pain was lessened or completely gone.
7. Lumbar Support
Lower back pain can sometimes be the result of improper back support. Use a lumbar support cushion at your desk or in your car to help re-align your spine and ease discomfort. If upper back pain is your trouble, a foam pillow can offer support during sleep.
8. Weight Loss
Low back pain can be caused by excessive weight around your middle. This weight creates a drag on the spine, pulling it forward into an abnormally-arched position. When you take healthy steps to lose weight around your middle, it can provide lasting lower back pain relief.
9. Dietary Changes
Chronic pain and inflammation can be caused by a junk food diet, which is very inflammatory. That’s why, to relieve back pain naturally, you should wean yourself off highly-processed foods and trade them in for healthier fare. I recommend a regular intake of organic produce, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, fish, and healthy fats such as coconut oil, butter, avocado, walnuts, and olive oil.
10. Natural Supplements
According to a study published in the Spine Journal[2. http://journals.lww.com/spinejournal/Abstract/2003/01150/Vitamin_D_Deficiency_and_Chronic_Low_Back_Pain_in.15.aspx], vitamin D3 deficiency may be a strong contributing factor to the development of chronic lower back pain. Among the participants of the study, 83% had abnormally low levels of vitamin D3. After supplementation, 95% of these patients experienced marked relief.
For patients with a vitamin D3 deficiency, I recommend 5,000 IUs of Diamond Nutritional’s Vitamin D3 – 5,000 IUs.
Vitamin C, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and bromelain are also helpful supplements for the relief of chronic back pain. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps reduce free radicals. Glucosamine sulfate helps your body repair damaged or injured cartilage. Chondroitin sulfate attracts fluid into your cartilage, which acts as a spongy shock absorber. Bromelain, a digestive enzyme, helps ease both injury-related inflammation as well as allergic reaction.
My Diamond Nutritional’s Joint Support Formula contains a synergistic blend of each of these ingredients and is a safer alternative to over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers.
If chronic back pain is limiting your mobility and enjoyment of everyday life, these natural solutions can offer lasting relief without the need for prescription medications or surgery.
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