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Low back pain is sadly all too common, something I saw first-hand in my chiropractic practice.
Patients would hobble in, waddle in, bent over at the waist, and sometimes crawl in because the pain was so bad.
If you haven’t experienced it yourself yet, or even if you’re already living with it, you may be surprised to learn that about 80 percent of adults in the United States will experience low back pain at some point.
Yup, that means that for most of us, it’s not a question of if we’ll end up with an aching, stiff, and sometimes worse low back, but a when.
That means that you’ll want to arm yourself with ways to treat the pain and get back to living now so that you can get over the pain fast. And, doing it naturally, without drugs that can cause severe side effects from addiction to nausea, constipation, and sexual dysfunction is definitely the way to go.
And, luckily, you have a number of options that are shown to work…
Exercise and mind-body interventions
A recent study published in Holistic Nursing Practice looked at the issue of natural pain management.
The research team evaluated the effectiveness of three types of either exercise or mind-body interventions for chronic low back pain.
They looked at yoga, tai chi, which combines gentle physical exercise and stretching with mindfulness, and qigong, a traditional Chinese meditative movement therapy focused on body awareness and attention during slow, relaxed, and fluid repetitive body movements.
Here’s what it all came down to…
The results of the majority of the studies showed that movement-based mind-body interventions are effective in the treatment of low back pain. In fact, positive outcomes found included:
- Reduction in pain
- Decreased psychological distress such as depression and anxiety
- Reduction in pain-related disability
- Improved functional ability
It’s important to note that this was not just a “one-off” study. Instead, it was a review of 32 separate studies of the techniques and how they helped a full 3,484 subjects between the ages of 33 and 73 years old.
Some of the key findings were that longer duration and high-dose yoga intervention showed reductions in back pain while tai chi reduced acute lower back pain in males in their 20s.
Tai chi also was more effective than stretching for low back pain in young males.
While this doesn’t help all of us, in the general community, tai chi showed greater reductions in pain intensity, how much pain symptoms affected the patients’ lives, and pain-related disability than the control intervention.
This means that embracing these combo exercises and mind-body interventions could deliver big benefits when it comes to pain relief and a better quality of life.
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In addition to yoga, tai chi, and qigong, other options that can help naturally include:
Clearly, I’m a big fan of chiropractic.
After treating patients for over 10 years, I got to see the power of chiropractic to get people, moving, walking, and living again personally.
If you’ve never been to a chiropractor before, your first visit is likely to include an exam, x-rays, and an adjustment. You may also be treated with modalities like heat, ice or ultrasound.
Scientific studies support using massage to alleviate low back pain. In fact, it’s been found that 50 percent of people with low back pain report significant relief thanks to massage.
What a great reason to relax!
Certain supplements can help you feel better, faster.
Dr. Michael Cutler, a graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine and a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience, recommends the following options:
- SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine) 750 mg twice daily – According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that SAMe provides the same relief as anti-inflammatory drugs with fewer side effects.
- Systemic proteolytic enzymes between meals – These are to help modulate you’re the action of your immune system to balance inflammation.
- Arnica topical – Arnica may help with the pain and inflammation caused by the arthritis that’s driving your back pain.
- Devil’s Claw – According to Dr. Cutler, this herb helps improve circulation to your joints.
- Ginger root tea – Ginger is great for helping to alleviate stiffness and aches, so drink up.
Related: Put your back pain behind you
So, if you’re living with low back pain, go for the natural options above from yoga to supplements to feel better, get back to your life, and simply get out of bed easier.
Editor’s note: Nature’s pharmacy comes well-stocked with remedies for pain. If you suffer from chronic pain and conventional medicine has let you down, or you just want to escape the potential dangers of OTC and prescription drugs, you should read Conquering the Pain: An Alternative Doctor’s Fresh Look at the Newest and Oldest in Alternative Pain Therapies. Click here for a preview!
- Low back pain: What role does medication play in the treatment of non-specific back pain? — InformedHealth.org [Internet].
- Oh my aching back: Do yoga, tai chi or qigong help? — EurekAlert
- SAMe — Mayo Clinic
- Arnica — WebMD