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Effective home remedies for back pain

Last updated on: July 15, 2011 18:19 IST

Photographs: Delsiegrates/Creative Commons

Next time you feel all twisted up with back pain, try one of these effective solutions at home.

There is hardly anyone who has not experienced back pain, even if for a short period of time. Moreover, the number of people suffering from chronic back pain is increasing by the day. Present working styles and lack of exercise are to be blamed in most cases.

According to Wikipedia, "Back pain is one of humanity's most frequent complaints. In the US, acute lower back pain (also called lumbago) is the fifth most common reason for physician visits. About nine out of ten adults experience back pain at some point in their lives, and five out of ten working adults have back pain every year."

Although the manifestation of the symptoms of back pain, the intensity and the causes vary in different individuals, home remedies can give relief from back pain in most cases.

Read on -- we have the causes, prevention and remedies of back pain all outlined in the following pages.

Causes of back pain

The root causes of back pain can vary greatly in different people, from degenerative causes to metabolic ones.

  • Degenerative: The degeneration of the structures that constitute the back bone cause severe back pain. Some of these conditions are spinal stenosis, facet joint disease, spondylitic disease and discogenic disease.
  • Trauma: Injuries or accidents that involve the back can be the cause of back pain, even after healing of the injuries. These include ligamentous injuries, musculoskeletal injuries, vertebral fractures and lumbar strains and sprains.
  • Inflammatory: Inflammatory causes such as arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or arachnoiditis
  • Bacterial or viral infections: These include radiculopathy, vertebral osteomyelitis, meningitis, epidural abscesses, urinary tract infections and intervertebral discitis.
  • Congenital Diseases: Spondylosis
  • Metabolic Diseases: Diabetic radiculopathy, Paget's Disease, and osteoporosis

Preventive measures

Photographs: GeorgeStepanek/Creative Commons

Although congenital diseases and accidents are something you may not be able to avoid, there are many precautions you can take that will prevent the incidence of suffering from back pain later on in life.

  • Posture: Posture plays a big role in the development of back pain. If you are someone who has the tendency to stoop while walking or slump while sitting, chances are you will develop a back pain. Therefore, pay attention to your posture while standing, sitting and walking. From time to time, check your posture and correct it. Improvement in your posture early on in your life will help you prevent back pain.
  • Sleeping style: Keeping a pillow between your knees and sleeping on your side ('S'-shaped) are good for your back. It is a good idea to invest in a good quality firm mattress for sleeping.
  • Don't pick up back pain!: While bending to pick up heavy objects, always bend your knees and keep your back straight.
  • Exercises: Exercise your back and abdominal muscles regularly. Doing regular yoga or exercising with a stability ball is a good idea.
  • Break the monotony: If your work involves sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time, take breaks by standing and walking around in the former and sitting or lying down in the latter case. This will prevent chronic back pain as well as break the monotony of the work you do.
  • Footwear: There is an undeniable connection between footwear and the condition of your back. Always wear comfortable footwear when going for long walks. Avoid wearing high heels on a regular basis. Reserve them for when you travel by car with very little walking involved or for unavoidable social occasions.

Home remedies

  • Calcium: Calcium helps build strong bones and protects the spine from osteoporosis. Incorporate plenty of calcium-rich foods in your diet such as milk and milk products, finger millet (ragi), green leafy vegetables, sesame, small fish (eat along with bones) etc.
  • Heat and ice therapies: In chronic back pain, applying a hot pack for about 20 minutes is found to be very beneficial. In the initial stages of back pain or when you have acute pain, using ice packs for a duration of 10 to 15 minutes helps in relieving down the pain.
  • Eucalyptus oil: This is known to be a very beneficial remedy for back pain. Apply some eucalyptus oil to the affected area. Adding ginger paste to the eucalyptus oil and then applying also helps.
  • Mustard oil: A massage with mustard oil is also a good remedy for back pain.
  • Garlic: Heat some coconut oil or sesame oil on a low flame with eight cloves of garlic in it. Cool it and massage the affected area with this oil softly. Leave it on for three to four hours and take a bath in warm water. This will give you good relief from back pain.
  • Camphor: Mix some camphor in your massage oil and apply to your back.
  • Epsom salts: Epsom salts ease back pain by reducing swelling. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt in your bathtub of warm water. Soak for 30 minutes.
  • Chamomile: Tea made of this herb offers a calming relief to soothe tense muscle tissues. Drink one to three cups of chamomile tea a day to get relief from back pain.

Next time, you are faced with back pain, do not suffer in silence. Get rid of the "pain in the back" and walk tall and enjoy your life to the fullest. Isn't life too short to allow such health issues to bother you?

LifeMojo is a wellness company, helping people to live a healthier life. LifeMojo provides online and on phone nutrition consultation services to help you achieve your weight loss and fitness goals.