With so many people suffering with back pain and the recent attention to opioids, many are not sure where to turn for relief. You can manage and even eliminate back pain, naturally and safely. Imagine, getting back to the activities you love, being able to play with your kids or grandkids without the fear of bending down or picking them up only to encounter pain. Here are five ways you can relieve your back pain. Sometimes one of these will suffice but often a combination is the best way to get lasting relief.
Yoga - Exercise in general can often help but many of the exercises we do in this country tend to be hard on our bodies and may be counterproductive. Yoga is a nutritive exercise and has many benefits. Yoga can help maintain a healthy weight or help you lose weight and this can be a key when dealing with back pain. Stretching and strengthening will also help alleviate pain and Yoga utilizes your own body weight to do this. Yoga is also a meditative exercise, helping you alleviate stress which will often exacerbate pain syndromes. Three to four days a week is a good target to shoot for and simple walking on the other days will do wonders.
Heat - Using heat (in the form of heating pads, wraps, bead or rice pillows, Epsom salt baths, etc.) helps to alleviate back pain in several ways. Relaxing the muscles in the area, increasing blood flow, promoting circulation and even inducing the release of endorphins are some of the ways that heat can help not only alleviate your back pain but promote healing. Patients often ask about using ice or cold. While this will numb the area, and relieve pain in the short term, it will not promote healing and can short circuit the body’s natural healing response.
Diet & Supplements - The proper diet (along with supplements) can help you heal your back pain in more ways than one. Excess weight can contribute to back pain and a balanced diet can help you lose that extra weight. Additionally, there are foods that are inflammatory in nature (mainly heavily processed foods and foods high in sugar, flour and simple carbohydrates). It is best to avoid these types of foods. I have listed some other foods and supplements below that can help reduce inflammation and even help heal damage.
• High fiber foods will help reduce inflammation and can help with weight reduction
• Foods high in potassium and magnesium have anti-inflammatory properties
• High quality fats are essential
• Bone broth soups
• Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and can be added to foods or used as a supplement.
• 5 HTP is a precursor to serotonin which is often deficient in pain conditions
• Glucosamine and chondroitin help provide building blocks to repair tissue
Acupuncture - In most cases, we see an immediate improvement in back pain during the very first visit! Often the pain will come back over the next day or so, but with continued treatment, longer and longer periods of relief can be achieved. Acute conditions can often be resolved completely and quickly while chronic conditions can take more time.
Chinese Herbal Medicine - Topical solutions and customized herbal formulas, in the form of poultices, wraps and plasters can help reduce inflammation, increase blood flow and act as analgesics to relieve pain.
As I noted above, the best results will be achieved by using a combination of the above. Not everything works for everyone, but we have found that patients who are active and involved in their healing process respond best to treatment. If you want to find out more about what acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine can do the treat your back pain, call today for a consultation.
Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!