5 Ways to Manage Back Pain Without a Prescription

Back pain is one the most common health ailments. While statistics vary, most point to the vast majority of us experiencing it at some point in our adult lives. While prescriptions may sometimes be unavoidable, there are a number of ways to manage most back pain naturally. Here are some of the most effective steps that you can take:

Chiropractic care. This hands-on approach involves adjusting and manipulating the musculoskeletal system, and the spine in particular, in order to align it properly. Spinal manipulation can reduce pain and muscle tightness and enable damaged tissue to heal faster.

Massage therapy. Massage, especially relaxation massage and deep tissue massage, can be very helpful, soothing the muscles in your back and increasing blood circulation, which in turn speeds healing. A recent medical study revealed that massage therapy can provide long-term relief for individuals suffering from chronic lower-back pain.

Acupuncture. This traditional Chinese medicinal practice has seen wider acceptance in the U.S. in recent years. The thin needles used in treatments are inserted at various points in the body, often well away from the area in pain. Sometimes electric stimulation may be implemented. Studies have shown that the various acupuncture approaches help the body release natural steroids and endorphins to combat pain.

Yoga and Pilates. Some forms of exercise can put undue pressure on your back. Low-impact yoga and Pilates, on the other hand, are great ways to stay in shape and relieve back pain. They improve flexibility and posture and increase core strength. When attending a yoga or Pilates class, talk to your instructor beforehand—they can help you modify any exercises or stretches that could potentially cause you to overexert your back.

Herbal Applications. Capsaicin cream can be applied directly to the back in small amounts 3-4 times daily. Capsaicin, the ingredient in chili peppers that gives it that spicy burning sensation, reduces substance P, the chemical in your nerve endings that transmits pain, which results in temporary pain relief.

Arnica gel, derived from a mountain plant with a daisy-like flower, is applied in the same manner as capsaicin cream, and helps reduce pain and stiffness. Make sure not to apply it to broken skin since it can cause pain and irritation if it gets underneath your skin.

Aloe vera gels and lotions reduce inflammation and promote tissue regeneration. Ideally, the best gel or cream would contain a blend of these, as well as other herbal ingredients that ease pain and promote healing.

Also, consider taking a daily multivitamin, and make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D and vitamin B12. In particular, vitamin B12 helps your body produce new spinal nerve cells to replace damaged ones, and protects the nerves around your spine. It has anti-inflammatory properties and plays an integral role in regulating the body’s central nervous system.

Omega 3 fatty acids are not vitamins, but they do help regulate and reduce inflammation, strengthen your bones, and increase the elasticity of your muscle tissue. Triglyceride fish oils are the most effective form of Omega-3s.

Managing back pain naturally usually means incorporating a variety of approaches that work together to reduce your symptoms and improve your well-being.

Author Jason Knapfel manages web content for IllumiNutri, a doctor- and nutritionist-owned company that offers natural pain management solutions, including herbal supplements for back pain.

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