Back pain or a backache is a mild or severe pain you feel in your back especially your lower back. It is a common health issue amongst middle-aged and elderly people although it can also affect young people also.
Back pain, especially lower back pain, is the number two reason Americans see their health care providers (second only to cold and flu).
Common symptoms of backache/back pain include; pain in the back, back stiffness, difficulty standing straight, difficulty sleeping, and reduced flexibility of the back.
Common causes of back pain include; poor standing and sitting postures, nutritional deficiencies, strenuous physical labor, postural defects (such as scoliosis or kyphosis), muscle tension, pregnancy, arthritis, and lack of physical activity.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with back pain or a backache;
- Stop your regular repetitive physical activities for a few days to help reduce some symptoms such as inflammation.
- You could use heat or ice therapy on the painful area. A good method would be to use ice for the first 48 hours before using heat.
- You could start doing light aerobic exercises, such as walking, swimming, and bicycling, as well as stretching and strengthening exercises.
- You may also opt for physical therapy.
- You could opt to sleep on strong and firm mattresses as opposed to soft ones.
- Avoid standing or sitting in a particular place for long.
- Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes.
- If you are obese, try to lose the excess fat.
- Quit the bad habit of smoking as it increases your susceptibility to back pain.
Below are home remedies for a backache and back pain;
1. Holy Basil Leaves
This herb is fairly common in Indian households. The leaves contain a high amount of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory elements that are helpful in relieving back pain. To prepare the decoction, boil some basil leaves for 10 minutes, add some honey and drink while still warm. While the side effects may be rare, pregnant women should avoid using the herb because it can trigger uterine contractions.
Yoga is an ancient practice that emphasizes strength, stretching, and flexibility. Ideally, the poses help relieve back pain. Examples of poses that can ease your back pain include pigeon pose, child’s pose, downward-facing dog, triangle pose, upward forward bend, among others. Ask your trainer to guide you on the yoga postures that can engage your back and stretch the abdominal muscles.
3. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds are widely cultivated due to their medicinal and culinary value. They possess unmatched hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Additionally, they contain estrogen-like compounds which are helpful in relieving back pain. Simply grind some seeds into a fine powder and store in an airtight container. To keep back pain at bay, take one tsp of powdered fenugreek together with a glass of warm milk.
Ginger root has remarkable healing properties. It stimulates blood circulation and works as a natural anti-inflammatory. To relieve back pain, you should rub crushed ginger on the affected area. Alternatively, make some tea by boiling ginger root in two cups of water for 10-15 minutes, allow it to cool and drink. If you can’t stand the taste, you can take ginger in the form of supplements. Unlike other conventional anti-inflammatory drugs, ginger has no side effects.
5. Essential Oils
If you suffer from lower back pain, essential oils can provide some relief throughout the day. The best oils to use include lavender oil, rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil, wintergreen oil, and juniper oil. To make a homemade muscle rub, you can mix any of the above oils with coconut or castor oil and rub on the problem area.
6. Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds contain minerals, such as calcium and iron, as well as pain-killing properties that help to minimize back pain. Grind a handful of poppy seeds and mix in a glass of warm water/milk before drinking. For best results, continue using this remedy for about a week. You can purchase the California poppy seeds from your nearest grocery shop.
7. Epsom Salt Bath
Most back pains are associated with the inflammation of joints and muscles, so soaking in an Epsom salt bath can provide some temporary relief. Epsom salt is made up of sulfate and magnesium which can easily be absorbed on the skin. Epsom salt also promotes healthy nervous system and helps to relieve stress that exacerbate back pain. To prepare the salt bath, pour 1-2 cups of Epsom salt in your water bath and soak in for 15-20 minutes.
8. Garlic Oil
When used topically, garlic oil acts as an effective joint and muscle soother. You can also take raw garlic cloves or include them in your diet. Garlic is also available in the form of powder, capsules, liquid extracts and oils. If you’re experiencing acute back pain, massage your back with some generous amount of garlic oil 2-3 times a day. To make the oil, you need to heat mustard and coconut oil, and then add some garlic cloves. Fry until the garlic turns brown, strain off to obtain the oil.
This is a popular deep-yellow spice in Indian dishes. It has curcumin, an active ingredient with amazing anti-inflammatory effects. To treat back pain, add one tsp of powdered turmeric in a cup of milk and drink two times daily. If you don’t like the taste, you can take turmeric capsules that contain 400mg-600mg of curcumin. Avoid using turmeric supplements if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
10. Eliminate Wheat From Your Diet
Although not all back pain may go away with this remedy, however, eliminating wheat from your diet could provide some relief from back pain especially lower back pain. You could also temporarily or permanently adhere to a gluten-free diet.
11. Heating Pad
Heat is primarily used for comfort and relaxation. Heat helps to eliminate all kinds of body pain including back pain. Since back pain could result from lots of anxiety and tension, the soothing heat, from a heating pad, could soothe the nervous and muscular system. A good heat pad should be well-cushioned and should comfortably fit behind your back. You can either make a moist heat pad or purchase one from your local pharmacist. To relieve muscle spasms and back pain, place the heating pad on your back for 30-45 minutes, once a day.
12. Ice Packs (Cold Therapy)
A cold compress helps to minimize the swelling and inflammation associated with back pain. Furthermore, cold compress would reduce the blood flow to the problem area, thus, temporarily numbing that region. To make the pack, put some ice in a plastic bag and wrap with a towel. Then, place on the affected area for 10-15 minutes. Use the ice packs repeatedly with thirty minutes break between each application. If you don’t have frozen ice, you can go for a bag of frozen vegetables.
Certain vitamins have the potential to ease back pain. For instance, vitamin B3 (niacin) has pain-relieving effects and can help to maintain a healthy nervous system. Vitamin B3 can be obtained from foods such as peanuts, beets, and fish. Secondly, vitamin B12 keeps the nerves cells healthy. Furthermore, vitamins C and D have excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects making them effective in the treatment of back pain. Most of these vitamins are available in grocery stores in the form of supplements.
14. Chamomile Tea
Before you go for over-the-counter analgesics, you should try chamomile tea. Chamomile tea helps to calm down the muscles that bring back pain. The herb is especially effective if the pain is associated with muscle cramps. To brew the tea, boil one tsp of chamomile flowers in a cup of water for 10 minutes, strain off and drink two to three times every day.
In Ayurvedic medicine, rice is associated with relaxation and comfort. To relieve back pain, wrap uncooked rice in a cotton cloth, heat with a microwave for one minute and apply on your back for 15 minutes.
16. Warm Shower
Apart from soothing stiff muscles, a hot shower can increase the blood flow to the problem area hence reducing back pain. Not only that, it could ease your anxiety by increasing your oxytocin levels. You should allow the hot water to massage your neck, shoulders, and back. Make sure you direct the nozzle on your back for about 10-15 minutes.
Milk is packed with calcium which helps to strengthen the bones and reduce back pain. Besides that, milk exhibit excellent anti-inflammatory properties. For these reasons, you should ensure you take enough calcium to alleviate a backache. Simply mix equal amounts of honey and vetiver (cuscus grass) and then take with a glass of milk.
18. Aloe Vera
This medicinal herb is packed with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce back pain. Simply extract the gel from the leaves and rub on your back twice a day until the pain subsides. You can also add 1-2 teaspoons of aloe juice in a glass of water and drink once daily. Aloe vera is quite effective in alleviating arthritis-related back pain.
The stem of this wonderful fruit contains bromelain which has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, pineapple possesses large amounts of vitamin C which help to repair the body’s connective tissues. Furthermore, pineapples are rich in malic acid which helps to flush out toxins that may cause back pain. To ensure you get more bromelain, you should take pineapple in raw form.
20. Maintain The Right Posture
In most cases, the lower and upper back pain can develop due to some repetitive activities at work or home. For instance, improperly lifting a heavy object or sitting in front of a computer for long hours may lead to muscle tightness that can cause a backache. Thankfully, we can correct the problem by maintaining the right posture. To keep back pain at bay, make sure you’re not in a bending position for long when standing or sitting. Also, avoid slouching or sitting at the end of the chair.
21. Get Sufficient Rest
When you have back pain, you should schedule for 8 hours of restful sleep. Sometimes, it can be quite hard to enjoy the sleep if the pain is too much. That’s why you should keep changing positions. For example, you can place a pillow between the knees to keep the spine in a neutral position. Likewise, try drawing your knees close to the chest to also try to relieve the back pain. However, it should be noted that bed rest is the least recommended remedy for back pain as it is better to be active and exercise to hasten recovery.
22. Lemon Juice
If you have chronic back pain, you should try drinking lemon juice on a regular basis. While it’s acidic in nature, it has an alkalizing effect on the body. Lemon juice is also rich in vitamin C which is linked to back pain relief. To prepare a tonic, slice a lemon to extract the juice, pour it in a glass of warm water, add some rock salt and drink early in the morning. When you use this regimen for a few days, the back pain would dissipate. You could also topically apply lemon oil to the painful region for a similar result.
In Chinese culture, acupuncture technique has proven effective in the treatment of back pains. Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles to specific points in your body. This method is also scientifically proven and will give some long-term relief.
24. Raw Potato Poultice
Raw potato is also used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat lower back pain. To prepare the poultice, mash warm potatoes, transfer into a cheesecloth and place on your back. With this procedure, you’ll reduce the swelling and relax the back muscles.
25. Willow Bark
Most experts recommend willow bark as an alternative to over-the-counter pain relievers. Willow bark contains salicin, a chemical that has anti-inflammatory properties. Willow bark is used in modern herbal medicine to treat lower back pain and other conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system.
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