Simple home remedies to relieve pain and stiffness in your lower back.
Whether you’re a “weekend warrior” who works at a desk all week and plays hard on the weekends, or you simply bent over to pick something up off the floor, chances are you’ve experienced back pain at some point in your adult life. About 80 percent of us have experienced at least one episode of that dull, constant ache or sudden, sharp pain, and for 1 in 5, that pain becomes chronic.
The good news is there are simple, effective solutions to relieve your pain and get you back on your feet doing the activities you love. No remedy is “one size fits all.” First, you need to understand why you have the pain, then you can decide the best natural course of action to relieve it.
Why Does My Back Hurt?
There are many different causes of low back pain, from age-related changes to emotions and more:
- Back pain is more common as we age. Muscle elasticity and tone decrease; the discs between the vertebrae begin to lose fluid and flexibility; bone density decreases and cause tiny fractures in the vertebrae; and the risk of spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column) increases.
- Gaining weight puts more stress on the spine. Your back muscles and spine support most of your body’s weight. Sitting, standing, and walking all put more pressure on your back as your weight increases.
- Your fitness level affects your back. People who are not physically fit have weak back and abdominal muscles that can’t properly support the spine. Sudden increases in activity are more likely to cause injury in people who are sedentary than in people who make movement and physical activity a daily habit.
- Improper body mechanics can cause back injury. Whether you are lifting a heavy load while bending or twisting, or simply starting a new strenuous exercise routine without proper stretching or gradual warm-up, or just have poor posture, your back is at more risk of injury if not properly supported.
- Backpack overload in kids and college students causes strain. A backpack overloaded with school supplies and textbooks leads to muscle fatigue and eventual injury. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends a backpack weigh no more than 15 percent of a child’s body weight.
- Stress uses nutrients your back needs to support itself. Ligaments are meant to stretch and recover, and hold the vertebrae in place as you move. When you are under chronic stress of any kind, whether physical or emotional, your body uses the nutrients your ligaments need to maintain their pliability, and instead ligaments will stretch and not recover quickly enough. In this case, the muscles will go into spasm to hold the vertebrae in place, and nerves become pinched as a result. This is the reason for the common scenario of “I just bent over to pick up a pencil and my back went out.”
- Suppressed emotions can cause back pain. John Sarno, MD, discovered that some people who have low back pain appear to have no mechanical reason for it on imaging, while others who report no pain had some of the worst mechanical issues he had seen. He found the missing link in his research – repressed emotions. The most common being anger, rage, and grief. Once the emotions were dealt with in a healthy way, the pain was relieved.
Simple Solutions for Common Back Problems
Whether your nerves are inflamed, your muscles are in spasm, or arthritis has taken hold, there are natural remedies that can ease the pain:
- Magnesium, nature’s muscle relaxer. It’s estimated more than 80 percent of adults are deficient in magnesium, which is not only responsible for relaxing your muscles, but also lowers your blood pressure, calms your nerves, and so much more. Supplementing can be tricky, though, because many forms are difficult to absorb and can cause diarrhea. Mag-Key is specially formulated for high absorbability without the GI side effects.
- Soothe inflamed nerves with essential Omega 3 fats. Sciatic nerve pain is no joke. When you get those shooting pains from your low back, down into your hip and the outside of your leg, the sciatic nerve, which is as big around as a pencil, has been aggravated and won’t calm down on its own. Super-EPA contains the purified Omega 3 essential fats you need to soothe your inflamed sciatic nerve for the long term. While relief won’t come overnight, once you get those Omega 3 fats repairing your cells and circulating in your system, your inflammation levels go down, which not only soothes your angry nerves but also lubricates your vertebrae, giving you more ease of movement in your spine and relieving painful arthritis.
- Use GLA to relieve morning stiffness. Age-related spinal changes are often heralded by the morning stiffness that makes it hard to get up and get moving around. Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) has been found to be the most deficient essential fat, and once levels are restored, can help reduce excess inflammation and morning stiffness.
- Supplement with Hyaluronic Acid to lubricate stiff joints. Hyaluronic acid is your body’s natural lubricant that keeps joints and vertebrae cushioned and gliding smoothly on each other. Magnesium deficiency, chronic stress, and aging all deplete this precious resource, and the body isn’t able to keep up with the demand. As a result, arthritis sets in and low back pain becomes a frequent visitor as the vertebrae rub against each other. Supplementing with a good quality Hyaluronic Acid can help restore the cushioning between your vertebrae and relieve pain.
- Replace nutrients lost from chronic stress. Long-term stress causes extensive damage to your body, and your back is no exception. When the ligaments can’t keep their elasticity and stretch out of place, the vertebrae start to move and muscles go into spasm, desperately trying to hold these important structures in place. The typical approach is to try to relax the muscles, but without addressing the real underlying cause, you can cause structural damage to the vertebrae. The best answer is to nourish your body with the missing nutrients, so the ligaments can heal and go back to supporting your spine. Daily Greens Formula to the rescue! All of the nutrients you need to restore mobility to your ligaments are found in this combination of 11 greens. Because they are food-sourced, your body quickly absorbs them and goes into repair mode.
- Use enzymes to relieve inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications are full of unwanted side effects, and it seems more are discovered daily. If you are looking to avoid NSAIDs, try enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes are especially effective at “chewing up” inflammation, which relieves the pain associated with it. Whether you have an acute injury or suffer with arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, enzymes like bromelain or Inf-Zyme Forte can tackle that inflammation and give you some much-needed relief.
- Try the ancient art of cupping to relieve pain. For centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine has used cups to apply suction to the skin to relieve pain and inflammation and increase blood and energy flow to painful areas. This practice received new attention during the Olympics, when Michael Phelps and other athletes proudly sported their cupping marks to improve athletic performance and relieve pain. In ancient times, glass cups were heated and applied to the skin to create suction. Today, plastic cups are used and suction is applied painlessly through a hand pump, and left on for just a couple of minutes. Cupping kits are inexpensive and easy to find online, and safe for home use.
- Once you get moving, keep moving. When it comes to mobility, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Spend as little time lying down as you can once back pain sets in. Gentle stretching and walking will signal your body to send more nutrients and lubrication to the joints being used the most – your spine. Drink plenty of filtered water and keep daily movement part of your lifestyle while supplementing with essential nutrients, and once your pain is gone it should stay gone with proper body mechanics and regular exercise to naturally reduce stress levels and increase core strength.