7 Home Remedies For Back Pain If You Need Quick Relief
I have suffered from lower back pain for years, and I'm always on the lookout for home remedies for back pain. While some days I don't notice it at all, other days I'm literally dreading small tasks because of the inevitable discomfort they will cause.
And according to the American Chiropractic Association, one-half of working Americans admit to having back pain each year, and it is the second-most-common reason for going to the doctor. Additionally, the ACA says it's been estimated that Americans spend 50 billion dollars each year on back surgeries, treatments, and pain remedies.
In an informative video on back pain, professor and radio show host Dr. Mike Evans noted that in many ways, back pain is a normal reaction to the fact that humans have evolved to walk upright. In many cases there's not necessarily a huge problem or damage to any nerves — it's just part of the wear and tear of walking on two feet everyday. He also noted that even when there is nerve trouble, there's not necessarily an overnight cure or treatment.
Basically, back pain is incredibly common and disrupts a lot of people's sense of well-being, but there's not necessarily a magic pill we can take to make it better. Because of this, I've compiled a list of seven small things we can do every day to help beat the problem.
1. Avoid Heels
I've written about the dangers of heels on our bodies before, but people with back pain specifically should be careful. According to the Spine Health Institute, our spines normally sit in an S-shape, helping with our bodies' natural shock absorption as we walk. When we walk with a bent spine, shock absorption is reduced, and more pressure is put on the nerves in our back. Long-term heel use can lead to chronic lower back pain, tingling, and cramping.
According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, stretches that focus on your trunk and hamstrings have overall positive effects on back health and discomfort. Reserving time in your day specifically for stretching could help you feel a lot better overall!
3. Try Yoga
According to the same study, a 12-week yoga program reduced back pain and discomfort levels in the majority of participants. It also noted that, "The benefits of yoga may be greater than those of exercise alone because yoga offers a combination of physical exercise with mental focus, and patients are taught good posture, self-awareness, and self-care along with relaxation."
4. Get Your Endorphins Flowing
According to an article on overlooked remedies for back pain on SpineHealth.com, site founder Stephanie Burke said, "Endorphins are hormones made naturally in the body; they can be just as strong as any manufactured pain medication. When endorphins are released in your body, they help block pain signals from registering with your brain. Endorphins also help alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression, which are all associated with chronic back pain and often make the pain worse." Burke recommended aerobic exercise and massage as ways to get your endorphins flowing.
5. Work On Your Core
Burke also noted the importance of working on core strength for reducing back pain. "The muscles in your abs and back play a critical role in supporting your lower spine. These muscles don't get a good workout during the course of a normal day—they need to be specifically targeted through exercise," Burke said. She suggested incorporating 20 minutes of core training in your usual exercise routines.
6. Homemade Pepper Cream
An article on natural remedies on DoctorOz.com noted that creams made with capsaicin pepper are a natural pain reliever that help block our body's pain transmitters. Capsaicin cream is available in most health food stores, or you can even make your own.
7. Invest In Your Mattress
In an article for Real Simple, New York City chiropractor and co-author of The Truth About Back Pain Todd Sinett stressed the importance of a good mattress when thinking about back health. "People who suffer from constant backaches often find relief by getting a new mattress," Sinnett said. So don't skimp when it comes to something so incredibly important to your quality of life.
Serta Perfect Sleepr Elite, $699, Dealbeds.com
Back pain — for lack of a better word — can be a real pain. The good news is that it's not life-threatening and there are actually several proactive things you can do to make sure it never gets the best of you again.