Back pain is very, very uncomfortable. It can seriously impair a person’s capability to perform the simplest of tasks, such as his activities of daily living. When back pain strikes, simply getting out of bed is a chore. Because of this, the affected person’s quality of life becomes poor.
Causes of Back Pain
Your back is composed of several structures that work harmoniously to ensure that stability and proper function. These structures, such as the muscles, ligaments, discs, joints and vertebra, are subject to different forces from within and outside the body. If one of these structures is injured, it is very likely that back pain will follow.
Your muscles contract so that you remain upright. The back muscles are responsible for when a person assumes his or her posture. At times, an unexpected force – like a sudden push, pull, or twist – is exerted on the muscles, causing injury to the muscle fibers and tearing them. When your muscles are injured, pain will surely be a consequence.
Ligaments are structures that connect one bone to the other typically forming a joint. These structures stabilize joints, allowing it to move freely within its range of motion. Ligaments are stretchy, as what happens when you bend forward to pick an object from the floor. However, the problem occurs when your back ligaments are stretched too far. The proper way to pick an object from the floor is to bend your knees so that you won’t be too much sprain on your back ligaments.
Other causes of back pain include herniated discs, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
What Can You Do?
Because back pain can be debilitating and can cause you to miss work or miss out on an important family gathering, here are some natural ways which you can easily do to help you deal with back pain:
Exercises intended solely for the back muscles are done for strengthening and to help the affected individual gradually go back to performing activities of daily living. Examples of back exercises include heel slides, ankle pump, wall squats, straight leg raising, knee to chest exercise, and those that utilize an exercise ball. Although these exercises may be relatively simple to perform, it is important that you first seek the advice of professionals such as a qualified physical therapist or an orthopedic surgeon. These people would tell you how to do it right and how often to do the exercises. For a list of the best exercises for back pain, check out my article here.
Massage has long been recognized as a form of therapy that promotes relaxation thereby reducing the spasms of the back muscles. Especially when done by an excellent masseur or masseuse, massage is effective in reducing the sensation of pain because of its relaxant effect. Massage also improves blood flow to the specific area contributing to the decrease in pain and promoting comfort. Aside from that, massage helps loosen tightened muscles, giving the person a renewed sense of well-being.
Along with massage, it is important that essential oils are used – oils that actually help speed up the healing process and relieve back pain. Examples of these essential oils include lavender oil, rosemary oil, ginger oil, peppermint oil, frankincense oil and chamomile oil. I have thoroughly discussed the effects of these essential oils in relieving back pain.
If you go to a doctor, most likely, he or she will give you a prescription for pain killers. After all, pain killers are known to be very potent when the pain becomes too much to bear. However, bear in mind that these synthetic pharmaceutical products carry with them the possibility of adverse effects, and sometimes, they can actually do you more harm that good. Good thing is, numerous research studies have been conducted supporting the health claims of herbal products.
For back pain, the following herbs may be utilized. They may target your muscles, nerves or your entire body system.
- Black Cohosh
Hot and Cold Therapy
The most common question when it comes to hot and cold therapy is which of the two is the best form of treatment. Applying an ice bag or a hot water bottle to an area actually does the same thing – they both break the cycle of pain and spasm and they both improve blood circulation to the area, which is essential in the healing process because blood carries with it oxygen and nutrients needed for healing. With back pain, it is important that the pain-spasm cycle is broken because only then can real healing take place.
Contrast baths have long been used by people in pain. This starts wit a 20-minute heat therapy followed by another 20-minute cold therapy. Repeat this cycle 3 times to complete the process.
The results of a study were published in Surgical Neurology revealed that fish oil takers experienced improvement in their back pain condition and that some were able to discontinue with their pain medications. All these, plus the fact that those who took fish oil did not report any side effects associated with what they were taking. Fish oil supplements contain Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA – all natural products that are free of dioxins, mercury and PCBs.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D helps promote strong bones thereby reducing one’s risk for osteoporosis. Research studies have shown that people who are complaining of back pains and other musculoskeletal aches are deficient in Vitamin D. This vitamin is important because it helps maintain healthy levels of phosphorus and calcium inside the body – minerals that are essential for strong and healthy bones and teeth.
Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, also has other benefits aside from its effects on teeth and bones. Read my article on the 3 top reasons why you should get more of the sunshine vitamin.
Rest and Sleep
Sufficient rest and sleep allows your body to heal. Remember that majority of the healing process takes place when you are asleep because this is the time when your body is in its most relaxed state.