In a surprising start to 2017, a new report from the American College of Physicians revealed updated recommendations in the treatment of low back pain, and the big takeaway? Try natural and homeopathic methods!
Back pain in itself seems almost natural with back pain being one of the most common reasons people see a doctor. Whether it’s tense shoulder muscles, inflamed lower back muscles, back pain when coughing, or general strain and pressure on the spine, back pain has many people clamoring for the medicine cabinet daily. The consensus is to ditch the pills. Back pain naturally goes away on its own overtime, but low-impact exercise and therapies can help expedite that process.
The backwards thing about exercise and back pain is that those experiencing back pain mistakenly fear that added strain or movement from exercise will exacerbate the problem, so they avoid it at all costs. Turns out, like for most ailments and illnesses, exercise is the key to healing process.
Don’t go running a marathon right away, but consider low-impact fitness activities that help stretch and strengthen muscles, boost blood circulation, and condition the spine. Swimming, yoga, brisk walks, appropriate stretching, light weight-lifting, even dancing can be the workout that helps address ongoing back aches. How does that help?
Moderate, regular movements of your back muscles help relieve tension and inflammation which means relief for you. Scientifically speaking, active back exercises done routinely and with gradual progress help deliver much needed blood, oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and disc space in your back, helping keep them, along with joints and ligaments, healthy.
The mind-body approach to relieving back pain is no more evident than with yoga. Gentle stretching, guided relaxation, deep breathing techniques, and meditation make yoga (and other mindfulness practices like tai chi) a go-to practice for addressing the issues which cause back pain.
Like exercise, yoga gets you out of your chair or off the couch where people spend more time than they should, applying too much pressure on the spine. Spine lengthening and stretching, muscle release, increased blood circulation, and the mindful stress-relief of yoga all facilitate healing in the back muscles and tendons. Yoga can be an even more basic restorative activity as well, like lying on your back and placing both legs vertical against a wall for fifteen minutes, grounding yourself, clearing your mind, and practicing deep breathing.
Want to try yoga but don’t know where to start? Join a Beginner’s class at a yoga studio or YMCA near you, or search on Youtube for Beginner’s instructional videos.
The 2500-year-old Chinese practice of acupuncture can be a far fetched back pain solution for many, but study after study have illustrated its ability to relieve chronic low back pain, even if just in the short-term. With acupuncture, very thin needles are inserted into the body’s tissue at various points and are believed to both stimulate the central nervous system as well as boost the production of ‘feel good’ hormones (endorphins) and trigger the release of natural opioids.
When administered by a licensed and trained acupuncturist, this type of therapy is just as safe as any nsaids you might take for pain, and might just be the alternative back pain solution your body is yearning for. Speak with your doctor prior to seeking out acupuncture treatment to see if they have a referral for you, as well as to discuss any medicines you are taking or implants you have that could have interactions with acupuncture therapy.
The key to alleviating back pain is non-invasive, non-pharmacological solutions – in addition to acupuncture, yoga and exercise, massage and the application of heat and ice are also go-to natural remedies that will have you breathing a sigh of relief in no time. And with a reduction in back pain, you will notice improved mood, less stress, and a better overall quality of life too. So what are you waiting for?
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