We’ve all experienced sitting in a car or office chair for too long. The slouched posture that slowly curves deeper and deeper as the day wears on making us creak and groan. Or perhaps waking up from a bad night’s rest with a kink in your spine is more your thing?
Experts estimate that 80% of Americans will experience some degree of back pain over the course of their lives (1). That’s a huge issue, and the net result isn’t just back pain, but widespread financial pain as well.
Back pain is the leading cause of missed work worldwide and represents a $50 billion dollar burden in health care costs every year, which doesn’t even begin to factor in lost wages for the individual and decreased productivity for employers (1).
Thus, it’s in EVERYONE’s best interest to understand all there is to know about their lumbar spine and how to keep them healthy in a natural way.
You’ll find out:
- How back pain begins and how to prevent it.
- What warrants seeing a doctor and taking action, and what are the best natural ways to manage pain?
And, even if you’re pain-free right now, putting in a little extra work in to keep your posture straight and spine strong could make a big difference in the long run.
Back Pain Signs and Symptoms
The back and spinal column are a complex system of bones, disks, ligaments, muscles, and tendons all working in tandem (2). Problems with any one of the components can lead to back pain, making the problem difficult to diagnose and isolate specific causes.
Sometimes the precursors to pain manifest as tightness or as muscle spasms.
A few more common culprits include:
- sleeping on bad mattresses
- heavy or unsupported lifting
- single sudden movements in awkward directions
Regardless of how the injuries occur, keeping good posture while you sit, stand, and sleep, is a good place to start.
Posture, Posture, Posture
Keeping good posture and having the core strength to support the lumbar is key. Tightness and muscle spasms are often caused by poor posture.
Listening to your body and being honest with yourself is vital to identifying problems early.
When it comes to good posture, Harvard Health recommends the 6 following tips (3):
- Keep your chin parallel with the floor.
- Keep your shoulder blades rolled up and back.
- Keep a neutral spine without any flexing or arching.
- Keep your abdominal muscles supported.
- Keep your hips even.
- Evenly distribute body weight on both feet.
The other side to good posture is a strong core. Simple calisthenics, crunches, sit-ups, and other abdominal exercises can keep your core strong and injury-free.
When to See a Doctor
If you are experiencing any sort of severe pain or any prolonged or ongoing pain, especially if accompanied by other symptoms like numbness or tingling in your extremities, that would be an indication you need to see a doctor (4). That could mean a chiropractor, a physiatrist or orthopedic physician. Don’t wait.
Lower Back Pain and Cancer
Articles seem to pop up every few years about how back pain can sometimes be associated with tumors on the spine (5). But these cases are rare, with the group most vulnerable being cancer patients where cancer has spread or metastasized onto the spine (5).
Tumors on the spine cause back pain when pressure from the tumor is applied to the nerves of the spine. Ultimately, The World Journal of Orthopedics found that “spine tumors comprise a small percentage of reasons for back pain and other symptoms originating in the spine (6).”
Basically, unless you already have cancer, your back pain is most likely not a sign of cancer. It’s only worth noting because the most important thing is catching a spinal tumor as early as possible when surgery is still a safe option. And that’s definitely not to say you shouldn’t consult your doctor if any pain or symptoms persist.
5 Natural Remedies for Back Pain
Below are five natural remedies to help you prevent and manage back pain.
1. Diet, Stretching and Exercise
This is, by far, the cheapest and easiest way to keep your spine loose, straight, and strong.
Take it slow and work up to harder postures over time. That’s how you build strength, and rushing a stretch is the exact thing that can lead to injury.
Exercising and managing weight is another huge component of the back pain problem. We don’t have to rehash the laundry list of health benefits associated with even light to mild exercise in tandem with a semi-healthy diet, but benefits span a wide range from disease prevention to increased libido.
As a rule of thumb, it’s always good to get your nutrition from raw foods, but if you want to save yourself some time and money, checking multiple boxes at once, you can try using a superfood health shake like Natural Wellness’s UltraNourish to make sure you’re getting everything you need at once. This also circumvents the seasonal aspect that makes consistently finding some ingredients difficult.
2. CBD Oil
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabis compound that has natural anti-inflammatory properties (8). It is totally separate from the more popular cannabis compound, THC, which is the psychoactive component which gets you “high” or “stoned.”
CBD oil is an inexpensive way to manage your back pain. Additionally, it can reduce your stress levels, not to mention provide a body-wide sense of calm. Who doesn’t want that?
Just make sure you get CBD isolate which is the purest form of CBD out there.
CBD Pain Relief Cream is another amazing option to relieve back pain. You can place it directly on the area causing you the pain to reduce inflammation, and soothe your muscle and joint pain.
3. Fish Oil
As long as we’re talking oils, it’s definitely worth mentioning fish oil. Another natural anti-inflammatory agent, fish oil, rich with omega-3 fatty acids, has been shown effective at managing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including joint pain (9).
But the benefits don’t stop at back pain relief; fish oil also helps prevent against coronary heart disease.
4. Hot and Cold Therapy
Heat has been shown to provide cost-effective, short term relief for lower back pain. However, in the event of an injury, some experts recommend cold therapy in the first 48-72 hours to reduce swelling, followed by heat to keep the injured area loose and relaxed (10). This could be as easy as using heat pads, hot showers, and ice packs.
5. Limited Bed Rest
While it may seem counterintuitive, limited bed rest is the leading suggestion from medical professionals (11). Reason being, if you’re too sedentary, it can lead to more stiffness and perpetuate any preexisting pain.
Hopefully, by now you feel a little more supported in the battle against back pain, even if it’s the simple reminder to roll your shoulders back and sit up straight.
As always, remember to consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet or routine, and especially consult your doctor if back pain becomes a chronic issue or you experience any of the above symptoms.