Natural ways to relieve back pain
Each year Australians spend over $1 billion on treatments for back pain, but did you know there are many natural ways to effectively deal with back pain? These can not only provide quick relief but also reduce the long-term effects of back pain.
Yoga creates balance in the body through various poses that develop flexibility and strength.
There are many healing benefits of yoga for people with various types of back pain. Yoga helps ease lower back pain by gently stretching and strengthening the muscles of the lower back and legs and increases blood circulation, which in turn brings healing nutrients to the injured tissues.
A British study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine states low-back pain sufferers who took one yoga class a week for three months saw greater improvements in function compared to those receiving conventional care. Try some of our recommended stretches every evening here.
Research suggests massage therapy has several health benefits for back pain sufferers, including increased blood flow and circulation, which brings much needed nutrition to muscles and tissues. This aids in the recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity or soft tissue injury. It also helps decrease tension which can help relax muscles and improve flexibility and reduce pain caused by tight muscles.
Building strength in your back and core is important to help prevent and relieve back pain.
Here’s a simple test: try to stand with your back to a wall and your shoulder blades pressed against it. Can you hold the position for the length of the song ‘Happy Birthday’? If not, it might be time to talk to a health professional to see what strength training you can do.
Tamer Sabet, a specialist in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, says: “Exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of further episodes of back pain by up to 40%. Given that the best exercise is the one you are most likely to do, I would recommend choosing one or more regular exercises that are, moderate in intensity, promote movement, and are enjoyable.”
Some back pain is the result of muscles made tight by emotional tension. Learn and practise a relaxation technique such as meditation, or try a deep-breathing exercise, such as closing your eyes, breathing slowly and deeply, and counting backward from 100.
Meditation has been proven to reduce chronic pain in several scientific studies. Research from Duke University in the United States found that people suffering from chronic back pain saw significant reductions in pain and psychological distress after practising a form of meditation that focuses on releasing anger.
Visit a chiropractor
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit a chiropractor. They use chiropractic spinal manipulation to restore joint mobility. A controlled force is manually applied to joints that have become restricted by muscle injury, strain, inflammation, and pain. Manipulation is believed to relieve pain and muscle tightness and encourage healing. With approximately 3,000 members, The Chiropractors’ Association of Australia is the largest chiropractic health body in Australia and their website hosts a list of chiropractors across the country.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and preserves bone strength. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes normal blood pressure.
A 2001 study published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology featured 82 patients with chronic low back pain and found that use of mineral supplements such as magnesium was associated with a reduction in pain symptoms in 76 participants.
Sleep the right way
The amount of rest you get is important, and so is the position you sleep in. Sleeping in a bad position or on a mattress without the proper support can worsen back pain.
A good mattress lasts nine to 10 years, but consider replacing yours every five to seven years if you don’t sleep well or your back aches. A study at Oklahoma State University found most people who switched to new bedding after five years slept significantly better and had less back pain.
A sleeping platform that isn’t perfectly suited to your body can exacerbate poor sleeping posture, strained muscles and unnatural spinal alignment throughout the night. When you lie in a position for an extended amount of time, the weight of the body reduces blood flow but it also disrupts your sleep. Ideally, your mattress should decrease your body’s pressure points so you get the best possible support and have a healthy, uninterrupted sleep.
There are a number of natural ways to reduce your back pain but finding the right thing for you will take time and practice. Before considering any alternative medicines and exercises for treating back pain we recommend you talk with your health professional first.