Now of course, some back pain does require medicine. But a lot of back pain can be remedied naturally, and that is better for you and better for the NHS, as it can then spend time and money on those that need orthodox medical treatment. Back pain is serious and causes lots of pain and lost work days, but some dinosaur doctors just dole out pills, when actually, in many cases there are better ways to treat back pain, and prevent it coming back. Built from Broken is a science guide to healing painful joints.
What is Back Pain?
Desk Yoga! (Etsy)
Your spine is long and complicated, so back pain can start anywhere from the neck (top of the spine) to the coccyx (bottom – your tailbone). The most common type is lumbago in the lower back, and in most cases will get better on its own, if it’s due to a torn muscle or injury. But it can take weeks or months to heal.
If you have fresh back pain, then see your doctor and apply ice, or for long-term back pain, a heat pad may be better. It’s important if possible to move gently, just lying around will make it worse. Swimming or gentle walks, or yoga or Pilates can all help, and use hot or cold compression packs that you can buy from the chemist, or a bag of frozen veggies or a hot water bottle (wrapped in a towel to avoid burns) can do the same. If you can afford one or get referred, seeing a physiotherapist, osteopath etc can help.
Most back pain is caused by a sprain or strain, although sometimes it can be due to sciatica (irritation of the nerve from the pelvis to feet) or a slipped disk that presses on a nerve. These will often create numb or weak areas and a tingling (pins and needles sensation). This is when a soft cushion of tissue between the bones in your spine pushes out, and can slowly get better with rest and gentle exercise.
Good ways to prevent back pain include:
- Not doing jobs that cause you back pain. Easier said than done. But if you regularly suffer back pain, consider changing your job if it may be causing it (for instance, housekeepers often get terrible pains from performing 1000 different moves in one shift – cleaning baths and lugging around heavy hoovers etc). Unless you can get six weeks off, you may find it won’t improve, which is why campaigners want better welfare like cordless lighter vacuum cleaners, and better working hours.
- Regular exercise helps, avoid sitting. Go for a gentle stroll.
- Wear good shoes. Bad shoes are one of the main causes of back pain, so invest in a couple of good pairs of breathable vegan shoes, that cushion your feet as you walk.
- Sleep well. See how to get a good night’s sleep, to help your body repair.
- A warm bath is good, add a few drops of a painkilling or relaxing oil like lavender and swish it around. Avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing and avoid Epsom salts for heart and blood pressure conditions. Avoid Dead Sea Salts (unsustainable, from a sea that is literally dying).
- Always bend your knees when lifting things that are heavy. If they are too heavy, do not lift or find a friend!
- Same for watching TV. A good sofa is paramount, use firm cushions or bean bags to pad out, if you have a soggy sofa!
- Being the correct weight for your height and build is good, as obesity can make back pain worse.
- Buy a good mattress. No need to fork out thousands for special ones, but if it’s saggy and uncomfortable, then it might be time to treat yourself.
- Try yoga. This is great for backs as you are as young as your spine, and regular but gentle poses can gradually release the fascia, and restore your back to its previous place.
Try to retain good posture. An ergonomic chair is good. If you can’t afford one, then use a dragonfly laptop stand that puts your neck and back at the correct angle, if you work at home on a laptop. Ensure your desk and chair are at the correct height, if your job involves working on computers.
Natural Remedies for Back Pain
- Orthofeet makes vegan shoes (be careful, some have leather), designed to help people with back pain. They are engineered with unique features for ultimate comfort and protection, and you don’t even have to bend to tie the laces. The uppers are made from quality Microfiber and breathable fabric mesh. The ‘world’s most comfortable shoes’ have anatomical orthotic insoles to help comfort from heel to toe, and to relieve, heel, foot, knee and lower back pain. The soles soften impact and the interior lining eliminates pressure points. Many people with flat feet have back pain, so find shoes that protect the arches of your feet.
- Drink water and eat healthy foods, to hydrate your muscles, and reduce inflammation from junk foods like sugar and sodas. Plant-based omega 3 supplements may also help to reduce inflammation.
- The Back Pain Relief Plan is a 20-minute daily exercise routine to help reduce back pain. Learn of the causes and ways to help including lifestyle changes that take care of your back, then combine these with stretching and cardio, for an illustrated exercise routine, with handy tips for properly performing each exercise.
- Air Armour Stretcher is a back stretcher that uses acupressure points, to relieve pain. Used for 10 minutes a day, it decompresses discs in your vertebrae and realigns the spine to relieve tensions and pain in just one use. Ideal for people who work in strenuous jobs or at compusters, it’s been professionally tested to help muscle spasms, pinched nerves, herniated discs, sciatica, degeneration, tight knots, excessive flexion and more. Simple to use and portable for easy travel. The 88 plastic pins is like a professional acupressure treatment to improve blood circulation and can withstand weight up to 200kg, and won’t get out of shape even when folded (if it breaks, they’ll send a new one for free). It has 3 slots for height adjustment, and the higher it lifts, the stronger stretch you will get. You can also place it on a chair to help correct your sitting posture, or a car seat to serve as lumbar support for long drives. Sold with a 60-day guarantee and lifetime warranty.