7 Surprising Natural Back Pain Relief Options

Updated on October 19, 2017
isvayah profile image

Isvaiyah has been a licensed pharmacist at Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia) for nine years. She earned her M.Sc. from the same university.

Natural Pain Killers for Your Back Pain Problems

Many of us suffer from back pain from time to time. Often it’s simply due to a strained back muscle. You twist around awkwardly to pick something up, and suddenly you feel a pain in the back. Sometimes this medical complaint may be due to a more serious condition, such as a slipped or prolapsed disc, or arthritis.

How to Treat Back Pain?

Your mother may have told you to go to bed and rest, but in fact prolonged rest in bed does more harm than good. It’s best to continue with gentle activities, but avoid all twisting, any exercise (at least initially), or lifting heavy objects. Keep the back straight, and it should eventually heal.

Massage can ease back pain, but is best carried out by a qualified practitioner: if you do it yourself you may do more harm than good. Various exercises may be useful once your back has started to heal a bit, but only do these in moderation.

Over-the-counter painkillers can be used for lower back pain relief, but there are also a number of home remedies for back pain which you can take. If symptoms persist for more than three weeks, consult your physician, as there may be a more serious condition underlying your backache.

Back pain is a very common condition and usually does not have a serious leading cause.
Back pain is a very common condition and usually does not have a serious leading cause.

Home Remedies for Back Pain

The medical treatment options for easing an annoying back pain include paracetamol or Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs - or NSAIDs for short (such as Ibuprofen or so). However, there are a number of natural alternative remedies to popping pills that may help tackle your suffering.

Here are many remedies that may help ease your back pain complaints:

Natural Back Pain Relief Options

Back Pain Remedies
How To
Note
Cold therapy (ice)
Wrap an ice pack in a cloth and then place it against the painful areas.
Never put the ice pack directly onto the back!
Heat treatment
Place a hot water bootle against the painful areas.
If you use a microwaveable heat pack, be sure to follow the instructions when heating the pack in a microwave.
Epsom salt
Dissolve two cups of Epsom salt in your warm bath water and then give yourself a good soaking.
Never take Epsom salt internally as it has a potent laxative effect!
Valerian root
Take 450 - 500 mg of valerian root capsule about half an hour before bedtime.
Valerian causes drowsiness, so don't drive or operate any machinery after taking it.
Chamomile
Make a herbal tea and then drink it up to three cups a day.
Avoid use if you are allergic to chamomile.
Capsaicin
Apply capsaicin cream topically to the painful areas.
Stop using capsaicin cream if it causes skin irritation or you are allergic to it.
Bromelain
Take a 500 mg bromelain capsule three times a day.
Don't take bromelain if you are taking anticoagulant drugs.

Natural Back Pain Relief by Style Craze

There are a number of natural back pain relief options that can help ease your complaints.
There are a number of natural back pain relief options that can help ease your complaints.

Remedy #1 - Ice

Ice can be an effective natural back pain relief. You can wrap an ice pack or a pack of frozen vegetables in a cloth, and then place it against the affected area.

NOTE: Don’t put the ice pack directly onto your back, as it can give you a cold burn.

Remedy #2 - Heat Treatment

A good scientific study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, showed that either heat treatment or cold treatment, in combination with a painkiller (naproxen), was better than the painkiller alone in relieving lower back pain.

You can place a hot water bottle against the painful area. A microwaveable heat pack can also be used. Always follow the instructions when heating packs in a microwave, since overheating can lead to charring and even fires.

Remedy #3 - Epsom Salt

Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is a traditional home remedy for back pain, which is usually used in a bath. Dissolve two cups of Epsom salt in warm bath water, and give yourself a good soaking.

Note: Don’t try taking these internally unless you suffer from constipation: they’re an effective laxative!

If you are a big fan of natural therapies, you can give German chamomile tea a try!
If you are a big fan of natural therapies, you can give German chamomile tea a try!

Remedy #4 - Valerian Root

The root of the herb valerian, or scientifically known as Valeriana officinalis, has long been known for its healing properties, and is a useful natural treatment for back pain symptoms. Since this herb helps combat insomnia (unable to sleep well at night), it’s particularly effective when your aching back makes it hard to sleep. Take a 450 mg or 500 mg capsule of valerian about half an hour before bedtime.

A Warning Word: Do not drive or operate machinery after taking valerian, since it tends to make you somewhat drowsy. Avoid alcohol or other tranquilizers. Don’t take it if you suffer from liver disease.

Remedy #5 - Chamomile Tea

The German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is another natural remedy for back pain problems. This is a soothing herb, usually taken as an herbal tea.

You can grow your own chamomile from the seeds if you wish. Make a tea from the flowers. Tea bags are readily available from a number of commercial suppliers. Drink three cups a day. Avoid chamomile if you’re allergic to ragweed.

Remedy #6 - Capsaicin

A scientific study by German researchers, published in 2001, showed that capsaicin was more effective than a placebo (dummy treatment) in lessening lower back pain. Prolonged use of capsaicin depletes the amount of a neurotransmitter, known as substance P, in the treated areas of the body. This depletion leads to a reduction in the intensity of the pain signals sent to the brain.

Capsaicin is the substance in chili peppers that gives them their heat. Surprisingly, it’s also a good alternative remedy for your back pain problems. Various capsaicin creams and ointments are available. Use according to the instructions provided.

Capsaicin takes a while to have an effect, so don’t expect overnight relief. However, if applied regularly for a number of weeks, it certainly makes a difference. Make sure you don’t get any cream in your eyes, as you’ll get a horrible burning sensation. In a few cases prolonged use can give rise to skin irritation. Stop using the cream if you start to get this problem.

Remedy #7 - Bromelain

This is an enzyme extracted from pineapples, which is an increasingly popular home remedy for back pain. Take a 500 mg capsule three times a day for a week. After the first week, you should be able to cut back to one 500 mg capsule a day. Always take the capsules between meals, rather than just before or after them. If taken with food, the bromelain will tend to act on the digestion, rather than the muscles.

A German scientific paper, published in 1995, showed that bromelain was effective in healing blunt injuries, such as sports injuries. Both the swelling and the symptoms of pain decreased.

A Warning Word: Don’t take bromelain if you’re on anticoagulant drugs, as it might increase the risk of bleeding. A few people are allergic to bromelain, so it’s best to try a low dose when you first take it, then wait to ensure that there’s no adverse reaction before continuing.

How to Prevent Back Pain Problems?

Here are many suggestions that may be useful for you:

  • Assess the weight of a heavy thing or object before attempting to lift it. If you are in any doubt, get somebody to help you, or use a mechanical lifting device.
  • When you're picking up an object from the ground, always bend your knees and try to keep your back straight.
  • Hold heavy objects close to your waist.
  • Avoid twisting movements. Turn around to pick up an object behind you, rather than reach backwards.
  • Keep your back straight when standing or sitting.
  • Some exercises, such as yoga or swimming, are good for the back.
  • Sleep on a reasonably firm mattress.
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight. Some studies found that obese people tend to suffer from more back pain.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Isvaiyah

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