The causes of a back pain can also vary. Wrong posture while sitting, standing, walking or lifting heavy objects is the most common cause of all back pains. Other causes of back pain include slipped disc, sciatica, whiplash, frozen shoulder and ankylosing spondylitis.
There are various ways to get relief from back pain. Natural remedies for back pain depend on the conditions that cause the pain and also its location. Some simple home remedies are mentioned below:
Soothe the Pain with Cold or Hot Packs
Ice or gel packs can be applied to the location of pain. A cold pack reduces inflammation and also numbs the nerve endings, thus alleviating the pain. Cold pack can be made at home by sealing a mixture of one cup rubbing alcohol with 2 cups of water in a plastic freezer bag. This can be kept in a freezer for an hour before using it on the back to relieve pain. Cold packs can be used for severe back pain as it numbs the endings of nerves that carry the pain signal to the brain.
Heat application on the site of pain can be in the form of heat bag, soaking in a hot tub, hot water bottle, taking a hot shower or a wrap that provides low continuous heat on the site of pain. Applying heat to the pain stimulates blood flow, bringing back the nutrients that heal the inflammation causing the back pain.
Get Some Sleep in a Comfortable Mattress
Quite often, lack of adequate sleep can cause back pain. Approximately, two-thirds of patients with chronic back pain report to be suffering from sleep disorders. Investing in a good mattress that supports your body posture is the first step. Various techniques to treat sleep problems like relaxation techniques, reducing caffeine intake, getting nutritious food and lowering stress levels can go a long way in improving sleep patterns and duration. Adequate sleep in turn can reduce back pain.
Correct Your Posture – Sitting, Standing and Walking
Posture correction to avoid back pain can be done in the following ways:
Always keep your back straight and shoulders tucked away to the sides.
The neck must be aligned straight to your back.
Design your work place so that you do not slump on your chair, and must be able to reach out to essential things easily.
Things like computer monitor, keyboard, writing space, etc must be according to the height of the person.
Use desks, chairs and other furniture that supports your back and allows the feet to be flat on the ground.
Wear low heels as high heels increase pressure on the lower spine. Heels less than one inch in height are safe to wear.
If the job involves sitting for long periods of time, stand up and stretch yourself every half an hour.
Driving Posture - Regardless of travel time to and from work, your posture while driving can either contribute to or alleviate back pain. First and foremost, it is important to sit with the knees in level with the hips. Place a rolled up towel or a back support behind the lower back for support. Sit at a comfortable distance from the steering wheel.
The spine is meant to be on the move. Adequate rest and sleep are necessary for the muscles. But the flexibility of the muscles can be ensured only by being active and moving around. Exercises and stretching are necessary for flexibility and relaxation, but daily activities maintain the muscle strength and elasticity. However, heavy work like weight lifting, jumping and running must be done with care, so as not to stretch the muscles too far.
Shed the Extra Weight
Most people who have weight around the belly area are susceptible to back pain. Severe lower back pain occurs as the muscles around the lower back tend to balance the weight of the extending belly. Find the right kind of diet and exercise schedule to reduce the weight and the extra flab. Physical activities like aerobics, dancing, jogging or brisk walking when done rightly also releases hormones called endorphins. These hormones are body’s own pain relievers that block pain signals from registering with the brain. They are called “feel good” hormones as they help relieve anxiety, stress and depression.
Exercise and Yoga for Backpain
Yoga is a great natural way to stretch back pain away. Various postures concentrate on the type and location of back pain. Stretches for lower back pain, for upper back pain and shoulder pain can be done, not only for relieving the pain, but also as an exercise to the muscles of the back, chest and shoulders. Exercising the core muscles – the muscles of the abdomen, hip and back – make them strong enough to support the lower lumbar spine. Back strengthening exercises like pilates, crunches, toe-touches, etc relieve back pain by strengthening the muscles.
Stretching the hamstrings (muscles underneath the thighs) is one of the stretches for lower back muscles and also hip pain. Gently stretch the hamstrings and release them, one leg at a time. Simple upper and lower back pain exercises can help in upper and lower back pain relief.
Exercises and yoga for back pain must be started only after consulting a physician.
Massage Therapy for Back Pain
Massage is a safe, non-invasive technique and the best among natural remedies for back pain.
The benefits of massage for back pain include:
Tensed and knotted muscles are eased up to improve mobility and flexibility.
Injured and overused muscles are relaxed and softened. Cramping and spasms are reduced.
Reduces stress, anxiety and depression, improves sleep.
Stimulates lymph system, the body’s natural immunity system.
Improves blood circulation to the part, bringing in more nutrients to the aching muscles.
Releases hormones called endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer.
Boosts general levels of alertness and attention.
Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles to varying depths on the skin at specific points on the body. It has an overall positive effect on all kinds of aches and pains, and also general health. Acupuncture for back pain has been found to work for both upper and lower back pain relief. Acupuncture treatment must be taken only from a qualified person.
Swimming – One of the Best Exercises for Lower Back Pain Relief
Swimming keeps exercising easy on the back and spine as it is a form of low impact aerobic conditioning exercise providing full range of movements for most parts of the body. Swimming can cause lower back pain or neck pain if the strokes are extended in a wrong way. However, if done the right way, and with just enough resistance provided by water for exercising, swimming can help improve the stiffness of the backbone joints and the muscles of the back.
Since swimming is not a weight bearing exercise, it can also help heal back injuries. It has also been proved to be effective in the treatment of sciatic nerve crush.
Chiropractic Care for Back Pain
Chiropractic care involves hands-on adjustment of the spine, called spinal manipulation. The diagnosis and treatment is based on the lifestyle, past injuries, diet, sleep and exercise habits, mental stress levels and use of alcohol, drugs or tobacco. A chiropractor usually makes the patient lie down on a special table. He then helps the person to move joints in the spine to the end of the range of movement, with a slight pressure with the chiropractor’s hand. This thrust is called adjustment and is believed to realign the bones of the spine and straightens the bones.
Chiropractic mobilization involves slow manipulation, movement and stretching of the muscles and joints to improve the range of movement of the muscles and joints of the back.
Massage and other techniques are used by a chiropractor to work on soft tissues also.
Despite measures to overcome back pain, call the doctor if:
Low back pain is severe and does not improve with rest or sleep.
Tingling sensation, weakness or numbness occurs in legs.
You lose control over bladder and/or bowel movements.