Is back pain simply a normal part of getting older, or something that can be managed? Here’s what you can do now to save yourself from the pain later.
BY: BRENT WELLS, D.C.
540 million people worldwide suffer from back pain. As we age, back pain becomes even more common such that narrowing down the root cause can prove difficult.
Often times, back pain is linked to inflammation in the body. More specifically, osteoarthritis and back pain are directly connected and can affect any joint in the body, including those in your back and spine. When your joints become inflamed and the cartilage wears down between the vertebrae, back pain forms as a result.
Although anyone can develop osteoarthritis and joint inflammation, there are certain people who are more prone to this condition.
- As you get older, the cartilage begins to wear down, so if you are an older individual (generally over the age of 45), you are more likely to develop this condition.
- If you have experienced severe trauma in the back and spine, you may also be more likely to suffer from inflammation. Car accidents, falls, and sports injuries are the most common causes of trauma.
- If you work at a desk all day, are hunched over a computer screen, or don’t sit up and walk straight most of the time, these activities put stress and pressure on the wrong areas of your back and spine and can wear down your joints.
Recurring back pain can be frustrating, and many resort to resolve it by taking painkillers. However, if you’re looking for an alternate solution to popping pills for your back pain, you might consider some all-natural solutions.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of 10 all-natural remedies to reduce your back pain without any medication. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Eat avocados
Avocados are packed with important nutrients that support your back. Besides antioxidants and fiber, they have high levels of vitamin K, folate and vitamin C. Recent research show that it may be an effective source of nutrition for osteoarthritis patients.
2. Try kettlebell exercises
Kettlebell exercises use a kettle-shaped weight to work your core, back, glutes, legs, and even your arms. Working these key areas can help strengthen your muscles and keep your lower back strong. Kettlebell exercises can also improve your posture and alignment, increase bone density and boost core strength.
3. Take white willow bark
White willow bark is a known anti-inflammatory supplement that can be extremely effective for lower back pain and osteoarthritis. In one small study, 39% of patients with back pain were pain-free after taking white willow bark for four weeks.
4. Carry around a water bottle
Staying hydrated is extremely important because water keeps your spinal discs hydrated and your spine flexible. Follow the 8×8 rule: 8 glasses of 8 oz. per day, or carry around a high-quality water bottle during the day. Using the same bottle will help you keep track of how much you’re drinking and give you a visual cue to drink up.
5. Battle computer slouch
Avoid slouching at the office by creating an ergonomic workstation where your screen is at eye level and your keyboard within easy reach. Sit all the way back in your chair so that your body stays neutral and aligned. Take as many breaks as you can during your workday and set an alarm for a daily posture check. It’s important to be aware of how you’re sitting and standing so that your back doesn’t become tense or strained.
6. Start a back-friendly stretching routine
Start your morning with a stretching routine to improve your back stability, strength, and movement. An ideal routine includes a variety of stretches that help build up your back. If you’re not sure of where to start, check out Injury Map’s app for back stretches. They have a series of fantastic videos and stretches to get your back flexible and strong again.
7. Use nutrient-rich spices
If you want to reduce back pain, try using other nutrient-rich spices. There are numerous healthy spices with known anti-inflammatory benefits. The two most cited spices are turmeric and ginger, both of which are also known for their antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Another recommendation from the Arthritis Foundation is to use extra virgin olive oil, which has high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds.
8. Jump into water sports
The pool is a great place to get great exercise for your back. Water aerobics can help reduce muscle stiffness and enhance the range of motion, with warm water having a relaxing effect on your back pain since heat promotes blood flow. Try swimming, water sports or aquatic aerobics to get both exercise and pain relief.
9. Relax with peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil is scientifically shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Specifically, it has menthol, which is known for its “cooling” properties. If you’re looking to reduce pain in your back muscles, peppermint is great for reducing swelling and giving you relief. Other essential oils have known anti-inflammatory properties as well, including basil, frankincense, rosemary, camphor, juniper berry, cypress, chamomile, cardamom and black pepper.
10. Download a mobile app for your back pain
There are many mobile apps out there for back pain. Some help you track your back pain (My Pain Diary), while others set exercise goals (Stretch Away Back & Leg Pain), teach you back-specific yoga (Yoga for Back Pain Relief), analyze your posture (LUMOback), promote relaxation (eMTCP Music App) and cultivate self-care (Backache). Find the app that works for you to better deal with your back pain.
Don’t settle for back pain as a norm in your day-to-day with these all-natural remedies to keep your back pain away.
At the end of the day, you’re still in charge of your body.
HEADER IMAGE: LINA KIVAKA
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. has been a chiropractor for over 20 years and has treated thousands of patients. He founded Better Health Chiropractor & Physical Rehab serving Anchorage and Juneau residents offering massage therapy, chiropractic care and physical rehab therapy.
Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.