A person’s back must support the weight of his or her entire body, and most physical activity involves most or all of the back, therefore, it is subject to many types of strain. An individual can experience back pain along any part of the spine; however, low back pain is the most common. Various factors such as poor general health, obesity and strenuous physical exertion are major culprits regarding back pain and injuries.
Treating Back Pain with Natural Remedies
More and more people are seeking natural remedies in lieu of prescription muscle relaxers and narcotic painkillers when over the counter medicines prove ineffective for their back pain. Narcotics, when used long-term, can result in damage to one’s neuroreceptors as well as the host of negative side effects associated with addiction. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies that certain individuals find highly effective for this condition. Those looking for such remedies may wish to consider the following:
Capsicum Cream–also referred to as Capsaicin Cream–is a topical remedy made from chili peppers and is commonly used to treat back pain. When rubbed into the skin, capsaicin decreases an individual’s production of substance P–a neurotransmitter that sends pain signals up and down the spine–resulting in an analgesic effect. The standard dose is 0.025% cream applied three times daily.
Positive Research Results
In a recent double-blind controlled study, 145 individuals were treated with capsicum cream for 21 days, while a second group of 145 individuals were given a gelatin cream. When the 21 days commenced, the capsicum group experienced a reduction in their pain of over 40%, compared to 21% for the placebo group.
Vitamin B12 has recently come into the spotlight as an effective back pain treatment. A double-blind study conducted in Italy examined the effectiveness and safety of vitamin B12 for those suffering from chronic low back pain. Those who were given vitamin B12 supplements evidenced a significant reduction in their pain and immobility and needed less traditional medicine than the group to which the placebo was given.
Perhaps one of the most effective natural remedies for back pain is white willow bark. The bark of the white willow tree has analgesic properties which are similar to aspirin. A substance called “salicin,” is contained in its bark, which the body converts to salicylic acid—the active ingredient in aspirin that relieves pain and inflammation. Many studies have turned out favorably concerning white willow bark as a back pain treatment, and this remedy is currently awaiting evaluation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is available in capsule or tea form from most health food or vitamin stores.
Many holistic practitioners recommend oils for back pain relief and these include marjoram, ginger and lavender oil. Almost all individuals in the holistic field agree that such oils are more effective when heated before their use. In addition, some recommend rubbing the oils into the skin during therapeutic back massage for optimum results.
Those seeking natural remedies to ease back pain may also wish to consider devil’s claw. This is a herbal product available in most health food or vitamin stores and has been used for centuries to ease back pain. Devil’s claw is frequently recommended by herbalists for those whose back pain is due to arthritis, as its benefits seem most effective on pain caused by inflammation. Many prefer to take the supplement in capsule form, but it can also be purchased as herbal tea.
Natural Cures Versus Prescription Pain Relievers
Taking prescription pain-relievers on a regular basis is an undesirable situation for many reasons. While such drugs certainly have their place when used appropriately, their continual use can result in lifelong addictions that often prove excessively difficult to break.
This is especially true concerning narcotic pain killers such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet, as well as synthetic narcotics such as Tramadol. The latter is sometimes touted as a non-narcotic, but in reality it is a strong synthetic narcotic and contains an anti-depressant of which most individuals are unaware, as the medication is classified as a drug for pain, not a medication for depression.
Every person who uses narcotic pain killers will not develop an addiction or dependency. However, it is an unfortunate fact of life that no one knows who will be susceptible to addiction and who will not. Therefore, the only way to guarantee the prevention of such an occurrence is to opt instead, for natural cures. How many alcoholics would have taken that first drink had they known a substance addiction would develop?