There are a wide variety of natural remedies to soothe your back, which can help reduce the intake of medications or provide an added benefit to your existing medical treatment.
Back pain is a common problem that can interfere with a person’s work and personal life. Fortunately, many home remedies exist to help relieve bothersome back pain.
Lower back pain is a widespread problem, causing more global disability than any other condition. Up to 80 percent of adults will experience low back pain at least once in their lives.
People can also experience pain in other areas of the back, including the middle and upper back.
The back muscles and spine support much of the body’s weight. A person uses the muscles for everyday movements, including sitting, standing, and walking.
Back pain is one of the most common physical ailments. Studies show that eight in 10 Americans have back pain at some point in their lives, usually in the lower back.
Your might have sprained it while working in the yard or cleaning house. Or your back might hurt from an old sports injury or a chronic condition such as arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis.
Sudden or severe back pain should be checked by a doctor or a physical therapist. That also goes for pain that won’t go away.
Enjoy an anti-inflammatory drink every day
When you consume anti-inflammatory foods regularly, several antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-cancer agents can build up in your blood. Over a period of time, these potent agents can play a significant role in reducing and/or eliminating inflammatory reactions in the body.
Consuming these healthy drinks on a regular basis may help reduce your back pain.
Turmeric, an Asian spice, contains antioxidant, anti-arthritic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
An easy method to consume turmeric is to mix a small quantity (1/2 teaspoon) of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk. You can add honey or stevia to the milk if you prefer a sweet taste. Consume this drink, preferably just before bedtime to allow the anti-inflammatory process to work while you sleep.
Consuming dairy products may increase inflammation in some people. In such cases, trying plant-based milk, such as almond milk can be helpful.
Tart cherry juiceCherries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.3,4 Cherry juice can help relieve muscle pain, which may be chronic or exercise-induced.4 Cherry juice is easily available to buy at grocery stores and commonly contains the tart cherry extract. Try drinking a glass of cherry juice on a daily basis and see if it has positive effects in relieving your back pain.
You can also try infused-herbal drinks, such as ginger-green tea, which contains the pain-relieving benefits of both green tea5 and ginger.6 Ginger-green tea bags can be purchased from grocery stores and you can easily enjoy a cup either at work or at home.
Over a period of time, these anti-inflammatory agents can build up in your bloodstream, so including these drinks in your daily diet will help reduce overall inflammation and prevent new inflammatory pain.
Exercise to get muscles moving
It can be challenging to get up and move when back pain strikes. However, a short walk, yoga, water exercise, or another low-impact activity can often help alleviate back pain.
Exercise may loosen tense muscles and release endorphins, which are the brain’s natural painkillers.
A person can also consider starting a daily exercise program, including strength training and stretching, to help keep muscles flexible and strong.
Regular exercise may prevent future episodes of back pain that are due to tight muscles.
Use heat and cold
Studies show that heat and cold are effective ways to get relief from back pain.
Ice packs are most beneficial when a person uses them directly after an injury, such as a strain. Applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel directly to the back can reduce inflammation.
Cold may also provide a numbing effect for sudden, intense back pain. A person can use cold packs designed for pain relief, or in a pinch, use a bag of ice or frozen vegetables covered with a cloth to protect the skin from frostbite. It is best not to apply ice for more than 20 minutes at a time.
A heating pad can also relieve stiff or achy muscles. People should be sure to read and follow the instructions on any heating pad and test the temperature carefully to ensure it is not too hot.
If a heating pad is unavailable, a person can use a hot water bottle or heat a cloth bag of uncooked rice in the microwave.
People should take care not to burn the skin with ice or heat.
The following stretches may help relieve back pain. People should hold each stretch for 30 seconds or as long as it feels comfortable.
Touching the toes: In addition to stretching the hamstrings, bending forward to reach your toes will help loosen the muscles in the lower back.
Cobra Pose: Lying on your stomach, with your hands face down beside the shoulders, gently lift your chest up so that the top of your head points toward the ceiling.
Cat-Cow Pose: Beginning on your hands and knees, slowly alternate between arching your back toward the ceiling and dipping it toward the floor.
Child’s Pose: Sitting on the heels with your knees hip-width apart, lean forward to place your head on the floor, stretching your arms out in front of your head.
Apply a pain-relief cream
A variety of pain-relief creams that can provide some relief from back pain are available in pharmacies and online.
Creams that contain capsaicin, a compound found in hot peppers, may also help relieve pain. One study found capsaicin cream to be helpful in treating osteoarthritis pain.
Pain-relief creams that contain menthol have a cooling effect that can temporarily dull back pain. One study suggests that applying menthol to the skin can desensitize pain receptors in the body. However, using too much menthol can cause a person to be more sensitive to pain.
Arnica is a homeopathic remedy that people can apply directly to the skin to treat muscle pain, swelling, bruising, and minor injuries.
Many pharmacies sell Arnica creams and gels. It is also available online.
While there is little scientific research to prove that Arnica is effective, it has a low risk of side effects and some people may find it helpful.
One case report found that arnica helped relieve chronic osteoarthritis pain when combined with acupuncture and massage.
Avoid prolonged static posture
It is important to pay attention to the joints and muscles of your spine and hip. Prevent fatigue and stresses on these joints by following simple tips, such as:
- Avoid excessive sitting or consider using a standing desk while you work. When you sit for a long duration, the pressure on your spinal discs increase. Aim to get up every hour and walk a short distance to take the load off your discs.
- Check your posture and adjust your neck, shoulder, and back alignment to prevent stresses on your spine. Poor, unsupported posture can lead to several problems in your back, causing or increasing the pain.
- Rotate activities in order to avoid the same set of muscles and joints from getting over-fatigued. For example, if you have been standing and working for some time, consider changing to a different activity where you can sit down. You can go back to standing once the muscles and joints have had a chance to relax.
MIMI (Multi ion mask insert)
- Can be worn with any facemask and provides additional heavy-duty protection.
- Adult & Youth Sizes Available
Wearing shoes that do not fit or that offer no support could cause muscle strains in the back, legs, and even neck.
High heels, for example, can throw off the body’s alignment, leading to lower back pain. One study found a link between wearing high heels for long periods and having back pain.
Wearing shoes that are very flat can also put added strain on the feet and back.
If a person experiences recurrent back pain, they should consider switching to shoes that fit correctly and support the feet. A podiatrist or foot specialist can help a person find proper footwear if necessary.
Make workstation changes
Improper posture due to slouching or straining at a desk may cause back pain and other muscle aches. Using ergonomics to modify a workstation can help reduce pain due to poor posture.
A person should ensure their computer screen is at eye level and that their chair is at the correct height.
Proper ergonomics at work may help reduce back pain and other injuries, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the United States.
One study in Denmark found that people who worked in nursing homes or home care had less lower back pain after changes in ergonomics, combined with behavioral therapy and physical training.
If a person does any lifting for their job, they should squat and use their legs — not their back — for support. It is best to ask for help or use trolleys when moving very heavy objects.
Get enough sleep
Research shows that sleep disturbances could make pain worse. Lack of sleep can also affect how much pain a person can tolerate, according to another study.
An uncomfortable mattress, pillows that are the wrong size, or simply not getting adequate sleep could trigger back pain.
Most adults should be getting 7–9 hours of sleep a night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Proper comfort and alignment of the back is essential for sleep quality and avoiding back pain in the morning.
Makes sure the pillow is supportive enough to keep the back and neck in a straight line. People who sleep on their side should place an extra pillow between their knees.
A person should speak to a doctor if lack of sleep continues to be a problem. Sleep disorders are often treatable. Getting enough rest may help relieve pain and can improve a person’s overall health.
Manage or reduce stress
Stress can trigger muscle tension and painful spasms, including in the back. If long-term stress or a traumatic event seems to have caused back pain, a person can try stress-relief techniques, such as:
Mindfulness meditation. One study showed that mindfulness-based stress reduction improved back pain. Mindfulness involves being aware of what the body is doing and using meditation techniques to assist with the pain.
Deep breathing. Taking deep breaths in and out for several minutes can calm the body’s stress response.
Progressive muscle relaxation. This involves tensing and relaxing muscles in the body, focusing on one muscle group at a time. Lying on their back, a person can start with their feet and gradually move up to the shoulders.
Guided imagery. This involves focusing on specific mental images to bring about a feeling of relaxation. One study found guided imagery and music helps with work-related chronic stress.
Yoga. Yoga focuses on particular poses and breathing and can help with relaxation, especially when practiced regularly. One review found yoga to be an effective stress management tool.
Many smartphone apps are available to guide a person through relaxation techniques and meditation.
What is the outlook for people with finger numbness?
Finger numbness is often treatable. Rest can help reduce overuse injuries. A doctor can also recommend more specific medical treatments depending on the underlying cause of the numbness.
Usually, the earlier you treat your finger numbness, the less likely the symptoms will be permanent. It’s important not to ignore your symptoms.
When should you see a doctor?
While back pain often responds to at-home treatments, there are some symptoms that call for making an appointment with your doctor. These include:
- pain lasts longer than six weeks
- pain that gets worse, even after at-home treatments
- pain that wakes up you at night
- additional stomach pain
- pain accompanied by weakness, tingling, or numbness in the arms or legs.
For back pain that is so severe that you need prescription painkillers, be sure to follow the usage guidelines. These medicines may have more unwanted side effects in the long run.
It’s important to talk with your doctor when your back pain starts to interfere with your daily life. Help is available so you can enhance your mobility and reduce the days you are in pain.