Manage Chronic Back Pain Naturally
Just a quick note before we start: This article is mainly aimed at those who struggle with mild back pain on a daily basis but whose back pain is not severe. If you are experiencing severe back pain or had back pain injuries it would be best to consult a doctor.
What is back pain?
“Though frequently uncomfortable, most back aches are not serious. Typically, the lower back, which supports almost all of the body’s weight, is the area most affected. But inflammation of or even a minor injury to any of the bones in the spine (vertebrae) or the muscles, cartilage, nerves or other tissues connected to the spine can bring on pain.” (The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs, Page 64).
What causes back pain?
“Most back pain is the result of muscle strain. Poor posture, weakened bones or cartilage, a slipped disc, a pinched nerve or stress and emotional upset can also cause the discomfort.” (The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs, Page 64).
What are some symptoms of back pain?
- “Aching or stiffness along the spine, especially during movement.
- Sharp pain in the upper and lower back or down the leg.
- Debilitating pain after exercise, strenuous activity or exertion.
- Aching and discomfort after long periods of sitting or standing.” (The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs, Page 64).
What can you do to ease your back pain?
Mattress and Pillow:
- First of all, have a look at your mattress and pillow. A mattress that is too soft can cause back pain. Go to a few shops that sell mattresses and ask them what they have for back pain. Do some online research as well. Furthermore, I bought a number of pillows that just wasn’t comfortable and also didn’t ease my back/neck pain. After all the experimentation with pillows I bought a Contour Memory Foam Pillow. In South-Africa you can buy them from Game or Dis-Chem. So far it seems to be working quite well.
- Below are some pictures I scanned in from a book called Great Health Hints & Handy Tips, page 336.
Unfortunately it’s not very clear. I found that positioning the pillows similar to the picture in the middle helped to relieve my back pain the most. Unfortunately the pillows don’t stay that way when you turn onto your other side and it can cause sleep disturbances. But doing it for a night or two might relieve your back pain a bit.
This is a tip that I learned from one of my family members. Although I can’t find any research as to why this works and how it works I know that it has done wonders for relieving my back pain. I also heard that it has helped some of my other family members. Buy a wooden board that is approximately 180cm x 60cm in size. In South-Africa you can buy such a board at Timber City. You can cover it with some upholstery foam and fabric if you like. Elevate the board a few centimeters from the ground (I just use a couch). Then lie upside down on the board for 20 minutes, three times daily. In the beginning 20 minutes was a bit too long for me so I started out with 10 minutes and then later increased the time period. I must confess that I didn’t lie on the board three times daily but maybe only once or twice for less than 20 minutes. But even that helped to ease my back pain. I don’t use the board every day anymore but only when I feel my back pain is getting unbearable. I think it is something well worth trying. You don’t have much to lose if it doesn’t work for you but you will have gained a lot if it works for you.
Here is a picture of the board and how to elevate the board:
As you can see we didn’t wrap ours yet. We usually just throw over a blanket.
- “Maintain your ideal body weight. Excess weight puts strain on the back and abdominal muscles, and increases the chance of back pain.
- When working out, concentrate on the abdominal muscles, which support the back. Try low-impact exercise, such as walking, swimming, or cycling, to increase back strength.
- To lift an object from the floor, first bend at the knees, then at the hips. Hold the object close to your body and raise yourself to an upright position.
- If you swim, choose the crawl over the breaststroke or butterfly, which may strain the back. Better yet, swim one lap with the crawl, then one with the backstroke. The variety promotes flexibility.” (Great Health Hints & Handy Tips, page 337.)
- I personally found that swimming 30 to 40 minutes daily helps to relieve my back pain a lot. I only swim the crawl and backstroke. Walking actually increases my back pain and does not relieve it. So it is really up to you to experiment and see which exercises might help ease your pain.
- Another type of exercise I found that helped me was Pilates. I like to do Robin Long’s Pilates workouts for beginners on YouTube and choose the few exercises in there that I am actually able to do. From all the Pilates videos I found on YouTube I liked hers the best. She explains the exercises well and doesn’t make things too complicated. It is also free and you can do it in the comfort of your own home.
It will probably be wise to consult with your doctor before taking these natural medicines. I’m providing you with this information so that you can discuss it with your doctor or just scan through it for interest sake. Please use this information wisely.
The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs, Page 65 makes the following supplement recommendations for back pain:
- “Calcium/Magnesium. Dosage: 600 mg calcium and 250 mg magnesium a day. Comments: Can be purchased as part of a bone-building formula.
- Bromelain. Dosage: 500 mg 3 times a day on an empty stomach. Comments: Should provide 6000 GDU or 9000 MCU daily.
- Glucosamine. Dosage: 500 mg glucosamine sulphate 3 times a day. Comments: Take with food to minimize digestive upset.
- White willow bark. Dosage: 1 or 2 pills 3 times a day (follow package directions). Comments: Should be standardized to contain 15% salicin.
- Vitamin C. Dosage: 1000 mg daily. Comments: Reduce dose if diarrhoea develops.
- Manganese. Dosage: 60 mg a day for 2 weeks. Comments: After 2 weeks, reduce dose to 20 mg a day.
- Flaxseed Oil. Dosage: 1 tbsp (14 g) a day. Comments: Can be mixed with food; take in the morning.” (The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs, Page 65)
Other General Tips:
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water and get at least 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine daily. Want to know why this is good for you? You can read articles and watch videos about the beneficial effects of water and sunlight here: Newstart.com
- If you sit at a desk all day long make sure to take frequent breaks from your work. Do some stretches or go for a quick walk for 5 minutes once every hour.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you learned a lot and that this information will help to ease your back pain.