By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
October 12, 2018
- Safe, instant and effective relief for back pain
- Give your back the exercise it needs
- Learn how to pamper those achy bones and muscles
If you walk into the doctor’s office complaining about back pain, there’s a four out of five chance your doc will prescribe one or more medication to help ease your pain.
At minimum, you’ll likely be told some type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) is in order. But the truth is these drugs don’t actually work very well to alleviate back pain.
Worse, all of them increase your chances of a heart attack or stroke. This is true even if you only use them for a few days. They also damage your kidneys, gut and can cause liver failure. Estimates from the literature reflect over 15,000 people die in the U.S. each year from GI bleeds while on NSAIDs.
If your pain is severe, you may also receive a prescription for an opioid or benzodiazepine. Oh blessed relief!
Not so fast. These narcotic drugs lose their effectiveness when you use them regularly. Plus, they’re extremely addictive. (Just watch the news. Almost every day there is a new headline about the raging epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths.)
None of these are great options. And not a single one of them will actually fix your aching back.
The fact is back pain generally improves on its own within just a matter of weeks. And after a month or two, it entirely resolves all by itself. This is true whether you take any sort of medication or not.
As a result, your goal should be to find safe and effective ways to relieve the pain. Ways that don’t carry the long-term risks association with pharmaceuticals. Lucky for you, I have some great suggestions that not only provide pain relief, but also strengthen your back to help prevent further problems.
Give Your Back the Exercise it Needs
It’s hard to think of exercise when your back hurts. And you definitely don’t want to engage in strenuous activities like sprinting, jumping jacks, squats or lunges. When your back is in bad shape, it needs something milder.
Tai chi and yoga can both work wonders to relieve both chronic and severe back pain. In fact, these gentle forms of exercise work just as well as physical therapy for reducing pain, improving function and lowering the use of pain medicine.
Another thing I like about these types of programs is that the brain-body connection can help train your body how to move correctly. As these natural and more graceful movements become automatic, you are less likely to experience back pain in the future.
There are also a few exercises you can do at home to ease your aching back. Some of the most effective include…
Leg stretches. Lay down flat on the floor with your legs straight. Bend your right leg at the knee and bring it in toward your chest. Use your hands to press the knee as far into your chest as possible. Hold for a count of ten and release. Repeat on left leg. Do this 3 or 4 more times.
Pelvic tilts. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abdomen and curve it slightly upward with your back pressed to the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Bridge exercises. Lie flat with your legs bent and your arms straight/flat at your sides. Exhale, tighten your abdomen and slowly lift your hips off the floor. Gently roll your spine up one vertebra at a time from butt to shoulders until you’ve raised the last (upper) vertebra. Your back should be in a straight angle from shoulders to knees. Hold for a few seconds, then release your abdomen and reverse the process until you are back to resting position. Repeat 10 times.
All these exercises go to work immediately to stretch your back and hip muscles, relieve constriction and improve flexibility. They also strengthen your core muscles, which act like a “girdle” to help prevent future strains, sprains and pulled back muscles.
Pamper those Achy Bones and Muscles
In addition to giving your back the exercise it needs, I also recommend giving it a little pampering.
Most people don’t think of chiropractic care as pampering. But when something pops back into exactly the right place while you’re on the table… when you can suddenly and miraculously stand up straight again… well, it can be pretty blissful.
I recommend looking for a full service chiropractor who also offers massage and STIM/ TENS unit treatments. These added offerings help loosen you up beforehand, which makes it much easier for the chiropractor to perform an alignment.
Regular massages (outside of the chiropractor’s office) can also be helpful.
You see, when your back is in the throes of pain, it causes your muscles to spasm and tighten. And guess what happens next? These stiff and rigid muscles place direct pressure on your vertebrae. This not only contributes to agonizing back pain, it can also delay recovery.
A professional massage can help relieve those knotted muscles so that you heal more quickly too.
Soothing your aching muscles in a hot tub with jet sprays can help too. (If you don’t have access to one, you can get similar benefits by soaking in a warm bath containing Epsom salts along with some peppermint, spearmint or eucalyptus.)
For added relief, I recommend the application of a mentholated topical cream that contains 0.75% capsaicin to painful areas.
Taking a daily curcumin supplement can help, too. This powerful anti-inflammatory is widely recognized for its ability to relieve pain and inflammation. Look for one that is standardized to 90 to 95 percent total curcuminoids. And make sure it includes bioperine, a black pepper extract that substantially increases bioavailability.
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FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA strengthens warning that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause heart attacks or strokes. Safety Announcement. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. July 2015.
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