Home remedies for back pain

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Home remedies for back pain

Those who suffer from back pain know all too well the agony of discomfort it brings. Whether you’ve had to deal with the physical distress just recently or for many years, there are a variety of factors leading up to an episode of pain in the back.  We may chalk it up to waking up one day and there it was but generally, back pain is a cumulative and gradual process eventually making itself known.  Culprits include poor posture, obesity, weakened muscles in the back and abdomen (usually due to lack of exercise), old sports injury, or normal aging.  Each one of these can set the stage for a flare-up of pain. 

To find relief, it is best to start with your physician for a complete evaluation.  But, in the meantime, using some common sense strategies can also help relieve symptoms to help your back feel much better.

·      Use heat or ice

If back pain is due to an injury, always get it checked out by a doctor.  Also use ice during the first 48 hours.  Then switching to heat or ice (or both) may help.  Some people prefer heat in the form of hot packs, hot water bottles, or heating pads.  Sitting in a whirlpool or hot tub are other very soothing and therapeutic options to consider.  Heat helps to dilate the blood vessels, improving the flow of nutrients- and oxygen-rich blood to the tissues affected.  The sensation of pain and reduction of muscle spasms are also reduced when using heat.

Cold helps reduce inflammation and can numb deep tissue pain.  However using either heat or cold are only temporary relief measures and will not necessarily cure the cause of chronic back pain.

·      Move more

Even though it may not sound like you want to do, moving more is actually better for you than spending too much time resting.  There can be time when back pain is bad enough to prevent much movement but it’s important to get up and start moving as soon as possible.  Do what you can with whatever pain you are having but try to be as active as possible.  Once the pain has reduced, resume walking and other activities like before.

·      Consider aquatic therapy

One of the best things for managing back pain is aquatic therapy.  Water provides natural resistance when you move.  This method of exercising against resistance, with the correct pushing or pulling motions, gently develops muscle strength in the back, abdomen, and hips.  When core muscles are targeted, this helps stabilize posture supporting lower back muscles.  Water’s buoyancy also minimizes pressure on the spine and if the water is warm, this can be especially relaxing on back muscles easing pain.

·      Rest when needed

Anytime anyone gets a sudden attack of muscles spasms or pain, this can be the body’s way of protecting you from further damage by continued use.  Resting the back by lying down for a while can reduce pressure on the affected areas permitting inflamed tissue to settle down.  Some people find that lying on one side with legs bent and a pillow between the knees provides optimal relief. 

·      Ease into exercise

Once again, movement is good for our backs.  But choose your exercise wisely – walking, swimming, stretching and gentle yoga may ease pain preventing further back issues.  Evidence has shown that exercises that focus on the core muscles in the abdomen and lower back are particularly helpful.