O My Aching Back!

Did you know, back pain is one of the significant causes of workplace absenteeism, costing the US $100 billion in lost income and productivity?  In addition to exercise, herbal treatments, and home remedies can ease suffering by reducing pain and swelling.

Whether back pain is caused by long hours in front of the computer, a lifting injury or fall, a gym workout gone wrong, arthritis, a bad mattress, pregnancy, or age, the conditions usually reflects damage to the muscles, ligaments, or spinal disks in the back.  In addition to pain and spasms, symptoms may also include a slight fever, swelling, numbing of the buttocks, pain extending to the legs and knees, and pain that increases after sitting for long periods.  It is essential to address back pain before you begin losing sleep or find yourself unable to work or perform even simple physical tasks.

Steps to wellness

Icing, heating, and gentle exercises and stretching can help mild to moderate back pain, as can warm Epson salt baths, but there are also natural healing agents that are quite effective.  For extreme back pain, make sure to see a physician.

When you consume anti-inflammatory foods regularly, several antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-cancer agents can build up in your blood. Over some time, these potent agents can play a significant role in reducing and eliminating inflammatory reactions in the body.

Take a look at these natural pain-relieving strategies and find out what works best for you: Enjoy an anti-inflammatory drink every day.

  • Turmeric milk

Turmeric, an Asian spice, contains antioxidant, anti-arthritic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

A secure 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 juice

Cherries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Cherry juice can help relieve muscle pain, which may be chronic or exercise-induced. Cherry juice is readily available to buy at grocery stores and commonly contains the tart cherry extract. Try drinking a glass of cherry juice daily and see if it has positive effects in relieving your back pain.

  • Ginger-green tea

You can also try infused-herbal drinks, such as ginger-green tea, which contains the pain-relieving benefits of both green tea and ginger. Ginger-green tea bags that can be purchased from grocery stores, and you can easily enjoy a cup either at work or at home.

Over some 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.

Consuming these healthy drinks regularly may help reduce your back pain.

Fall asleep faster and sleep longer

When you have a restful night’s sleep, your back will feel less sore during the day.   A night of restorative sleep can have healing benefits and make you feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and less stressed.

  • Vitamins C and B6. The natural steroids in your body control your metabolism and promote good sleep. Supplements of vitamins C and B6 are known to help the body produce and regulate natural steroid hormones.
  • Melatonin. Your natural sleep hormone, melatonin, can be taken as a supplement to improve your sleep cycle.
  • L-theanine. An amino acid found in tea leaves, L-theanine, may help some people feel relaxed and get better sleep.
  • Valerian. Supplements made from the root of the valerian plant may help you sleep faster and stay asleep longer.
  • Vitamin D. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases. Taking a vitamin D3 supplement can help reduce back pain by increasing the absorption of calcium in your body and improving bone strength.

Avoid prolonged static posture.

It is essential 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 increases. Aim to get up every hour and walk a short distance to take the load off your drives.
  • Limited bed rest. Once the mainstay of treatment for back pain, bed rest has fallen out of favor. Doctors now know it’s better to keep moving so that your muscles don’t become stiff. Bed rest can still be useful relief from low back pain, mainly if your pain is so severe that it hurts to sit or stand. But try to limit it to a few hours at a time and for no more than one or two days.
  • When you use good posture, your muscles and other structures function correctly, helping you to avoid abnormal wear and tear. … Keeping your body aligned in the proper position can reduce muscle fatigue and strain and help keep your joints healthy and lubricated.


Other remedies, including relaxation techniques that can help alleviate back pain.

 Mindful meditation

Meditation is a great way to improve concentration, release feel-good hormones (endorphins), and decrease anxiety and stress. Through mindful meditation, you can control the way your body perceives pain.


According to a study published in Annals of Internal MedicineTrusted Source, there is strong evidence that yoga can have a short-term effect on treating lower back pain. Yoga involves slow, controlled movements to stretch and strengthen the body. This exercise form also promotes stress relief, which can help reduce the tension you may commonly hold in your lower back.

The Child’s Pose is a yoga position that is especially beneficial for the back. To perform Child’s Pose, start on all fours, then stretch back, resting your bottom on your feet. Your arms should stay extended with your hands on the floor. This pose creates a stretch in your lower back. Hold this pose for 30 seconds, then return to your starting position. Repeat five times.

Exercise your core

The muscles in your abs and back play a critical role in supporting your lower spine. These muscles don’t get a good workout during a typical day—they need to be specifically targeted through exercise. Many simple tasks can be performed in 20 to 30 minutes as part of your daily routine. If you are just starting, even the simple act of sitting upright on an exercise ball for 30 minutes a day will engage your core muscles

Consider acupuncture

the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture may be useful for treating moderate, chronic lower back pain. While this practice of inserting small, thin needles into the body to restore energy flow may seem daunting at first, acupuncture can stimulate the release of pain-relieving chemicals in the body.

 Improve Flexibility

Not only will regular stretching help loosen the muscles and get rid of existing back pain, but it can also strengthen the back — and lower your chances of dealing with back pain in the future. Stretching of the back and legs can help maintain or improve movement for everyday functions.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi, a mind-body exercise therapy, is typically used to manage chronic pain conditions. During Tai Chi exercises, the slow motion and weight shifting may improve musculoskeletal strength and joint stability. Tai chi can improve both lower-body strength and upper-body strength. When practiced regularly, tai chi can be comparable to resistance training and brisk walking. … Tai chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen.


Qigong opens the flow of energy in meridians used in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. It enhances our ability to feel the Life Force underlying the physical world and to deepen our communication with it.

Physically, slow, gentle qigong movements warm tendons, ligaments, and muscles; tonify vital organs and connective tissue; and promote the circulation of body fluids (blood, synovial, lymph). Thousands of studies have shown qigong effective in helping to heal life challenges ranging from high blood pressure and chronic illness to emotional frustration, mental stress,  spiritual crisis, improve, sustain, and maximize overall wellbeing. Qigong is good for back pain management. It helps you regain strength and flexibility.


Eat for bone health

A healthy diet is vital for several reasons when you have lower back pain. First, eating well can help you maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts extra strain on your lower back, adding to your pain. Second, a diet that’s high in essential nutrients can help promote bone growth and keep your bones healthy. These must-have nutrients include:

  • Calcium. Foods high in calcium include dairy products, such as yogurt, milk, cheese, frozen yogurt, and ice cream. If you don’t (or can’t) eat dairy, some foods are fortified with calcium, such as cereal, orange juice, oatmeal, and non-dairy milk. Veggies like collard greens, kale, bok choy, and broccoli also have calcium.
  • Phosphorus. Foods high in phosphorus are also dairy foods, including cheese, milk, cottage cheese, ice cream, pudding, and yogurt. Other foods with phosphorus include baked beans, kidney beans, black beans, bran cereals, oysters, sardines, and dark colas.
  • Vitamin D. Foods high in vitamin D include cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, fortified milk, sardines, eggs, and fortified cereals.
  • Fenugreek: Make a pain-easing tonic with a glass of hot milk, 1 teaspoon fenugreek powder, and a touch of honey. Drink every night. Fenugreek has anti-inflammatory properties and is believed to relieve pain.
  • Ginger: This age-old remedy requires 1 or 2 inches of fresh ginger steeped for 5 or 10 minutes in hot water. Add honey to taste and drink twice daily.
  • Tumeric: This is a popular curative in India. Add a teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of hot milk and drink twice daily. The compound curcumin found in this spice is both an anti-inflammatory and a pain reliever.
  • Basil Leaves: Steep 1 0r 2 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves in hot water for 10 minutes; add honey to taste, and take 2 or 3 times daily. Or you can apply basil oil inflammatory and analgesic oils such as eugenol, citronellol, and linalool.
  • Pineapples: Blend together a half cup of fresh pineapple chunks and a cup of water or eat half cup of pineapple; do this daily. Pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain, which, among other things, acts to reduce swelling and pain.


Lower back pain can be a chronic and debilitating condition. Small, daily actions can either help or worsen your discomfort. By taking steps to strengthen, stretch, and protect your back, you can ideally stop or slow pain.

However, severe cases of low back pain can’t always be fixed by lifestyle changes. If your lower back pain interferes with your ability to perform everyday activities, talk to your doctor.

Essential oils

These powerful oils have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and analgesic effects on swollen, aching tissues.  Try massaging one of these oils into the affected area:3 0r 4 drops of lavender oil twice daily; 5 or 6 drops of peppermint oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil twice daily: tablespoon warmed castor oil or olive oil once daily.

1. Peppermint oil

Perhaps best known for its menthol undertones, peppermint oil is one of nature’s most potent analgesics. Pure peppermint oil has at least 44 percent genuine menthol content, which has been widely used for pain of various sources.

2. Wintergreen oil

A close relative to peppermint, wintergreen oil carries similar analgesic properties. Specifically, wintergreen contains methyl salicylateTrusted Source, which is similar to aspirin. Talk to a doctor if you’re taking blood thinners or other medications, as wintergreen can increase the risk of bleeding.

3. Lemongrass oil

Lemongrass oil has been widely studied for its antifungal properties. One study in mice also evaluated its notable anti-inflammatory properties. Reduction of inflammation may lead to reduced pain, but studies are needed in humans.

4. Ginger oil

Often used in cooking, ginger has other effects outside of the spice cabinet. Its most notable benefits are anti-inflammatory properties

5. Lavender oil

As one of the most widely studied and popular essential oils, lavender acts as a multipurpose oil for a variety of ailments: lavender oil can help alleviate headaches and muscle pain. Such benefits may transfer to back pain as well.

6. Eucalyptus oil

Known for both its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, eucalyptus oil can have analgesic effects in muscles and joints. The oil has promise in treating ailments like arthritis, the flu, and wounds.

7. Roman and German chamomile oils

While chamomile is best known for its soothing and calming properties (the reason why many people drink chamomile tea when sick), the essential oil has other noted benefits. These include reduced muscle spasms and overall inflammation. Take care when using chamomile if you have a ragweed allergy, as the plants come from the same family.

8. Rosemary oil

Rosemary is more than just a cooking herb. Rosemary essential oil has excellent benefits. These include reduced pain from rheumatic disorders and menstrual cramps. Such anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects may also be helpful for back pain.

9. Sandalwood oil

Sandalwood oils contain anti-inflammatory properties. Such effects have been studied for their similar effects to over-the-counter medications. Reducing inflammation in the back with sandalwood oil could possibly decrease pain, too.

Quick Fix:

You can drink chamomile tea or ¼ to ½ cup of aloe vera juice to receive similar healing effects.  A warm glass of milk also has anti-inflammatory properties.  Vitamins c, d, and E can also help when treating back problems, but it is healthiest to increase your intake through fruits and vegetables rather than supplements.

When lower back pain persists and continues to interfere with your quality of life, multiple treatment options may be needed for adequate relief.  Try one or more of these remedies to see which one, or combination, works best for you.

Hopefully, these overlooked remedies can help you try some new approaches to manage your lower back pain better and find lasting relief.

~Diadel Kimberlee

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