Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people visit doctors. It affects millions of Americans every year, and many of us live with chronic back pain.
In this article, I'll share my top remedies for back pain. These natural remedies can help you get rid of back pain once and for all.
If you've tried everything else, then these remedies might just work for you!
Reasons for Back Pain
There are many causes for back pain. Some of them include:
- Poor Posture
- Muscle or Ligament Strain
- Herniated or Slipped Discs
- Spinal Injury
- Common Sports Injuries - Strains and sprains
Common causes of back pain can usually be resolved with natural home remedies. But other causes, like a spinal injury, will require a specialist.
How to Relieve Back Pain with Natural Remedies
There are several ways to relieve back pain naturally. The first step in relieving your back pain is to find out what's causing it. Once you know that, you can start treating the problem.
1. Improve Sleep Position
The first step in relieving your back pain is improving your sleeping position. This will allow your spine to relax and not be strained when you wake up.
To improve your sleep position, sleep on your side and put a pillow between your knees. Be sure to alternate which side you sleep on, so there's no muscle imbalance.
The pillow between your knees will help keep your spine, hips, and pelvis in better alignment.
2. Maintain Good Posture
The most common cause of lower back pain is poor posture.
When we sit all day long, our bodies become accustomed to being hunched over a desk or computer screen. This position puts pressure on your spine and can lead to back problems.
If you want to avoid back pain, adopt proper posture while sitting and standing. Stand up straight and keep your shoulders down and relaxed. Avoid slouching and leaning forward. Keep your hands by your sides and don’t cross your arms.
3. Stretching and Exercise
Regular stretching and exercises can help relieve the tension and stress on your back. Even simple stretches, such as bending over to pick up something off the floor, can provide temporary relief.
Exercising and moving your body frequently helps keep muscles strong and flexible.
Keep these tips in mind when stretching and exercising, so you don't cause more damage:
- Stretch and move slowly to avoid sudden strains.
- Hold stretches for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 to 5 times.
Don't continue any exercises that make your pain worse.
4. Acupressure and Acupuncture
Acupressure and acupuncture are both forms of traditional Chinese medicine used to treat various health conditions. Both methods involve applying pressure to specific points on the body to stimulate pressure points.
Acupressure involves using fingers or thumbs, while acupuncture uses thin needles to apply pressure to certain areas of the body. They are both effective pain relievers.
These pressure points are located along energy lines called meridians. When applied correctly, acupressure can provide relief for back pain.
Benefits of Acupressure to Relieve Back Pain
Acupressure offers a number of benefits to those who suffer from back pain. Some of these include:
- Self-acupressure can be performed on yourself.
- Acupressure can be performed anywhere with no special equipment.
- There's no need to go to the doctor or hospital.
How to Use Self-Acupressure Techniques for Back Pain Relief
The great thing about acupressure is there are several acupressure points for back pain relief that you can easily access on your own body.
Two notable acupressure points for back pain include:
- Lower-back points (B23, B47)
- On the foot between the big toe and 2nd toe
There are also acupressure products that can help provide back pain relief.
The Kanjo Memory Foam Acupressure Mat Set is perfect for targeting acupressure points on your neck and back for pain relief while lying down.
To provide relief when sitting upright, the Kanjo Acupressure Back Pain Relief Cushion can be used to align your lower back with the tailbone.
5. Cold and Heat Therapy
Use cold therapy first with an ice pack or cold pad when you first experience back pain. Cold will help to reduce swelling and inflammation.
After swelling has subsided, heat therapy will be more effective. Heat will help relax tight muscles and increase blood circulation to increase tissue healing.
Use a thin towel between the ice and heating pads before using them on your skin to prevent burns.
Apply cold or heat for 20 minutes on and then rest for 30-40 minutes. Repeat 3 more times to finish the application cycle. Repeat the entire cycle at different times of the day.
Massage therapy can be helpful if done properly. The best massage therapists know how to use different techniques to target the source of your back pain.
A good massage therapist will work out all the knots and muscle tension in your back. This may feel uncomfortable initially, but it will leave you feeling relaxed and ready to sleep better.
Depending on the severity of your back pain and how long you've had the pain, the number of massage sessions before you experience significant relief will vary.
For mild cases, 2 to 4 massage sessions should start to offer some back pain relief. For chronic pain, it's best to consult with a massage therapist and doctor for session frequency and duration.
7. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is one of the most important treatments available for back pain. It helps improve range of motion and flexibility as well as strengthen weak muscles.
A physical therapist will help strengthen back and abdominal muscles that can lead to proper posture.
The therapist will teach you flexibility exercises and frequent stretching to strengthen your core muscles that can help alleviate and prevent long-term pain symptoms.
8. Chiropractic Care
A chiropractor uses spinal manipulation to correct misalignment in the spine. A chiropractor can often identify and treat problems without having to perform surgery.
Chiropractors have found that patients with chronic back pain benefit greatly from spinal bone adjustments.
9. Electro-Physical Therapies
Electrotherapy, laser therapy, and ultrasound therapy are noninvasive electro-physical therapies that don't require needles or surgery for relieving back pain.
Electrotherapy involves applying electrical currents to parts of the body to stimulate nerve endings and release endorphins. Endorphins are the body's natural painkillers by blocking pain signals.
Laser therapy uses light energy to stimulate tissues and promote healing. As the body's cells absorb the light, it's theorized that pain and inflammation are reduced.
Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to create vibrations that can penetrate deep into the tissues. Ultrasounds can be used to loosen up stiff muscles and decrease joint stiffness.
Speak with a physical therapist and doctor to see if any of these therapies are right for you.
How to Relieve Back Pain with Medication or Surgery
There are a variety of back pain medications available to relieve back pain, along with the surgery option.
1. Over the Counter (OTC) Medicine
OTC pain relievers can provide short-term back pain relief. The main types of OTC medicine are:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) - Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
These medications are only for short-term relief and not meant for an extended period of time. If you've been taking NSAIDs or acetaminophen for more than three months, you should see a doctor to determine if other medications are better for your pain.
2. Prescription Medicine
Medications can be prescribed by your doctor based on your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor should consider any other treatments you've tried before prescribing medication.
Prescription medications include:
- Muscle Relaxants - Doctors may prescribe this for acute back injuries. It helps relax tense muscles so they don't pull on the nerves causing pain.
- Opioids - This class of drug includes morphine, oxycodone, vicodin, and others. These are stronger drugs that can cause side effects like drowsiness, constipation, and a dependency.
- Corticosteroids - These are steroids like cortisone that decrease inflammation. These can be injected or taken orally.
- Antidepressants - Some antidepressants have been found to be effective for treating chronic low back pain that has been caused by nerve issues.
3. Back Surgery
Surgery is often a last resort treatment option for chronic back pain. However, surgery may be necessary if there's no improvement after trying other treatments and your daily activities are severely limited.
Back surgery is usually reserved for pain or numbness that radiates down the arms or legs. In other cases, surgery may be recommended when there is damage to the spinal cord or nerves.
When to See a Doctor or Specialist
If you're experiencing back pain and there's no relief from natural home remedies, then you should talk to your doctor. The doctor will examine your back, ask about your back pain symptoms and other medical conditions.
The doctor may perform blood tests and additional testing to find the source of the problem. For example, an MRI scan may show disc bulges or tears, which could indicate a herniated disc. X-rays may detect fractures or arthritis. A bone scan can look for compression fractures or bone tumors that might be caused by osteoporosis.
The doctor may also refer you to a specialist who specializes in diagnosing or treating conditions related to the spine. For example, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) will require a specialist.
Back Pain Relief Final Thoughts
There are many ways to relieve your back pain. You can try over the counter medicines, prescription medicines, and even surgery. But remember that each person responds differently to different methods. So it’s best to follow your doctor’s advice if you have chronic pain.
Kanjo has various back pain relief products that can help ease your discomfort. Acupressure mats, cushions, and pillows will provide support and comfort while relaxing your body.
Remember to always seek medical advice from a medical professional for severe pain and unrelenting pain that is affecting your daily living.
- Harvard Health: https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/4-ways-to-turn-good-posture-into-less-back-pain
- Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/best-sleeping-position-for-lower-back-pain
- Spine Health: https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/stretching-back-pain-relief
- Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369911
- Harvard Health: https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/sore-back-try-a-massage
- Spine Health: https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/pain-management/how-electrotherapy-works-ease-pain