Tired of lower back pain? Try a natural remedy
By Tom Golding, Back Pain Expert
That first pang of acute lower back pain (LBP) will forever be etched in your mind. It’s both frightening and disabling, and can render anyone powerless and disconnected from life.
LBP is surprisingly common. In fact, more than 80% of adults are discomfited or disabled by lower back pain at some point in their lives, so you are not alone in looking for solutions.
The primary cause of LBP is Inflammation of the nerves, joints and soft tissue structures and this is what a medical doctor will treat initially.
Medical treatment does reduce inflammation but it may also cause unnecessary side effects.
So let’s look at some simple, effective alternatives, starting with the way your spine works…
The spinal column is made up of 24 vertebrae (bones) that give you mobility as well as strength and resistance.
Between these vertebrae are 23 softer intervertebral discs which keep your vertebrae together and serve as shock absorbers
against the pull of gravity and the pressure of daily activities.
These disks are literally back-savers, and resemble donuts filled with soft jam in rubbery pads.
What causes lower back pain and inflammation?
This is THE MOST COMMON question I answer every day from patients in my clinic.
The pain in your lower back is generally caused by a “mechanical block” or disruption to the vertebrae, muscles and other components that make up the spine. If you want to know what causes this “mechanical block” and how to avoid it,
Click on the image below to receive download my FREE ebook which outlines the 5 most common causes of back pain.
Factors that increase the risk of LBP
Some of us have jobs that require us to sit for long periods, creating a higher risk of LBP. The problem is even worse when we’re over-weight.
Improper lifting, smoking, frequent driving, pregnancy and, most importantly, a sedentary lifestyle will cause degeneration to the discs andsoft tissues around the lower back.
Inflammation: an essential part of the healing process
Strange as it may seem, inflammation is essential to healing.
It kicks in as part of our immune system and is one of the body’s first lines of defense. Without inflammation, the body would be largely defenseless
against injury or illness. But not all inflammation is helpful, especially when it becomes long standing or chronic.
In its most basic form,
“Your body transports its immune cells primarily through your blood. And as blood rushes to the site of an injury or issue, that accumulated blood can produce heat, swelling and redness— all of which are hallmarks of inflammation,” says Dr Jason Ken Hou, an assistant professor of gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine.
Health-care practitioners will usually prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) when they hear you complaining of back pain. Although these medications provide some relief, it’s only temporary and usually requires another dose when the pain resurfaces.
Increased medication can cause hyperalgesia, which is a higher sensitivity to pain. The medication for this has many side effects which in some cases are very severe.
NSAIDS increase the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and stroke. Other over-the-counter drugs may also lead to high blood pressure, kidney and gastrointestinal problems such as bleeding of the digestive tract.
Over-the-counter painkillers are tempting remedies but they may compound the problem by leading to addiction and overdose. When pain is severe, a cocktail of painkillers can even put your life at risk.
What about surgery?
There’s no clear answer. Surgery is helpful in some instances, but current research suggests that a conservative approach to managing lower back pain (exercises, lifestyle changes etc) is just as effective as invasive surgical procedures after two and four years.
The aim of surgery is to remove the section generating the pain. This should provide some relief but it carries many risks and is by no means a “panacea” for lower back pain.
So what other options are there?
One of the most powerful tools against back pain is a visit not to the pharmacy but to your local grocery store. Dr Frank Hu, a professor in nutrition, states that many foods have anti-inflammatory properties, so choosing the right foods can greatly reduce your risk of inflammation.
Foods to avoid:
White bread and pastries
Fizzy drinks that contain a lot of sugar
Burger meat, steaks and other red and processed meats
Anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet
- Tumeric – the compound in turmeric known as curcumin has many anti-inflammatory properties that are more potent than over-the-counter aspirin and medications such as ibuprofen.
- Almonds and walnuts – consist of omega-3 fatty acids and are similar to salmon and other fish which also combat inflammation.
- Coconut oil – consists of anti-inflammatory properties that do more to reduce inflammation than many prominent medications.
- Spinach, kale and other green leafy vegetables – these are rich in antioxidants which enable the body to restore cells and anti-inflammatory flavonoids.
- Salmon and tuna – consist of omega-3 fatty acids, one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory substances.
- Blueberries and strawberries –contain the flavonoid quercin which combats inflammation.
- Celery – contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Beets – the dark colour contains a large number of antioxidants that restore cell damage caused by inflammation.
- Broccoli – high in potassium and magnesium and possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
- Ginger – In its fresh, fried or supplement form, ginger can act as an immune modulator that decreases the risk for inflammation.
Supplements that reduce inflammation of the lower back
Anti-inflammatory foods are a good way of combating inflammation. However, additional supplements may be beneficial.
These supplements include:
- Alpha-Lipoic Acid
- Fish oil
Benefits of green juices
Green juices are great for reducing inflammation. They are made of green leafy vegetables and a small number of fruit containing many vitamins, mineral, antioxidants and enzymes that greatly reduce inflammation.
Over a lifetime of bad eating habits, these “little green miracles” can help us to detoxify our bodies and break down the accumulation of toxins in the organs, arteries and lymphatic system. In many cases chronic inflammation is simply the body´s inability to eradicate these toxins through normal excretory pathways.
How do aciicd and alkaline foods affect inflammation pathways?
Every time we eat something we produce toxic waste that needs to be eliminated.
Acidic foods that contribute to inflammation include wheat (containing gluten), coffee, tea, sugar, etc. Alkaline foods, on the other hand, reduce inflammation and include gluten-free grains such as brown rice, broccoli, cucumber, spinach and kale.
Acidic foods form amino acids and can worsen your inflammation or improve your condition. High acidic levels remove calcium, potassium and magnesium that regulate your body’s pH balance. This in turn leads to inflammation.
Juice recipes to beat inflammation
- Pineapple, Turmeric, Cucumber and Cinnamon juice
15 three-inch pieces of fresh turmeric root
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamonJuice the pineapple, cucumber and fresh turmeric and pour into a glass.
Stir in the cinnamon and enjoy!
- Kale, Grape, Ginger and Lemon Juice
1 bunch kale
1 cup grapes
1 slice ginger, optional
Juice of one lemon wedgeJuice the kale, grapes and ginger and pour into a glass.
Squeeze in the lemon juice and serve.
Natural remedies to relieve back pain: Get the muscles pumping!
We´ve talked about some alternative chemical solutions to reducing inflammation. Now let’s look at the other key strategy in your toolkit for a healthy pain free low back: Exercise.
Top medical institutions such as Harvard Medical School, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the Mayo Clinic list exercise as their number one solution to lower back pain prevention.
However, the type of exercise makes a difference. The best exercise for back pain has two important goals:
- Stretching the back and legs
- Strengthening the entire core
Choose the method that works for you
Are you ready to make changes in order to live better and feel better? Remember that you are worth it and that you are not alone.
Many people around the world share your pain and fears, and my intention is to offer you new ideas and strategies to help you regain control of your health.
This website is packed with solutions. Alternatives to drugs or surgery can be summed up as:
- Chemical solutions – diet, supplements, juices etc
- Physical solutions – “the exercise solution”, posture, stress etc
Do not ignore your symptoms. But do seek professional help if the pain becomes too severe.