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Home Remedies for Back Pain

Can you really save money by curing your back pain at home?

It's a back attack! There you are, just going about your day than all the sudden there's a little bit of pain and stiffness in your lower back. You stand up or reach over to pick something up and the pain increases - a lot. You may even have pain running down your legs.

You just had the back attack. Don't worry though. It's not necessarily time to go under the knife or even see a doctor. There's a lot you can do right there at home to both alleviate the pain and get yourself back on track to a pain free back.

It's important though, that before you try to use home remedies for back pain that you know what to look for, and how to determine when it is time to go see a professional.

So when should you see a professional for your back pain?

If any of the below circumstances sound familiar to you, it's time to go see your doctor, or get to the emergency room:
  • You become incontinent. If you simply can't control defecation or urination it's time to see a Physician or go to the emergency room immediately. To be a little more specific, one of the following is occurring: you cannot stop or reduce urination or bowel movements.
  • You have numbness or no feeling it all and your rectal or genital region
  • You are a man and are unable to achieve or maintain an erection. if you are a woman and CAN achieve one, you need a different website.
The above conditions indicate a possibility that you have Cauda Equina Syndrome. The defining characteristic of Cauda Equina Syndrome is that the nerves that control the bowels, bladder and some other functions can become compressed. If this is not corrected within 24 to 48 hours these problems can become permanent because the nerves are damaged.
  • Your legs feel weak. Or you have a weakness in one or both of your feet. You may also have trouble walking because your foot is weak and tends to drag. If you experience these symptoms you need to see a spinal specialist or go directly to the emergency room.
  • You have night back pain and cannot get a full night's sleep.

Back pain that occurs late at night or during sleeping can be an indication of a spinal infection or even a tumor. This is known as resting back pain and is usually presented by a throbbing or pulsing that worsens the longer you rest.

Please do not confuse this with regular lower back pain that occurs all the time and then simply continues for the night - regular back pain is different from this throbbing feeling. Although this may not be quite as urgent a situation as Cauda Equina Syndrome, you still need to see someone the next day or go to the emergency room.

  • You have a significant injury from an event such as an automobile crash, a sports accident or a fall. If your body's really been knocked around and your back hurts afterwards then you need to see a Doctor. This is not something to play around with, you could have a fractured vertebrae or other interior damage.
  • Your back pain is absolutely unbearable. If your back pain is intense to the point that you cannot function of all or maintain your daily schedule it's time to see a professional.

This is no time to try and tough it out - it is time to take care of yourself for your sake and the sake of your loved ones. Don't forget that sometimes back pain can be the result of something completely unrelated to your back. In my own experience, this usually means a kidney stone.


Home remedies for backache

The following natural home remedies for backache relief will help you manage your pain during a normal episode. Remember however that the warning symptoms in this section above must be kept in mind, and if you feel that you need to see a doctor or go to the emergency room, you probably do. If despite trying all the techniques listed below your back pain seems to be getting worse it's time to see your doctor or a spine specialist. We're not trying to cure back pain completely here, or even diagnose the causes of backache, we are simply getting a respite from this common problem. If it goes on and on, that could be an indication of a chronic underlying condition. Some of the things you might want to consider would be braces, Ben Gay or a similar sport cream, or getting a light - emphasis here on light - massage and stretch or engaging in deep breathing or chanting. You can also use back exercises, or an inversion table for back pain relief. Just remember not to put pressure directly on your spine.


Rest your back - but not too much

When your back pain first begins or if you're having a standard episode of chronic back pain, your back is telling you what's going on. You could be having a muscle spasm, you could've sprained a back muscle or you have a mild sports injury. Let your body tell you what to do. It's like the old joke:
Man: Doc, It hurts when I do this! Doctor: So don't do that.

If it hurts to lift anything over 10 pounds, don't lift anything over 10 pounds. Give yourself a break. This is especially important for a man whose jobs involve physical activity. None of us wants to take time off when we don't really need to, but it's worse not to take time off when we do need to.

You'll feel pretty silly if you force yourself to work through pain, and turn something that could have been fixed with a few hours of rest into a nagging back injury that impacts your job and leisure time for months to come. In the past, physicians would prescribe weeks of strict bed rest for simple lower back pain.

Now bed rest is considered to be contraindicated, meaning that it is the opposite of what you should be doing. Try to limit bed rest to just a few days. Bed rest for very long periods of time will promote weak muscles, reduce flexibility, and give you digestive problems. The end result is an actual increase in your back pain - the opposite of what we're trying to achieve.

You can bypass the problems created by too much rest if you'll try to be sort of active even in the initial stages of pain. For example maybe you can only get to the toilet and back because it hurts just too bad to do anything else in the first couple of days. But as soon as possible you should force yourself out of bed and walk around some more even if you're just making circles around your bedroom, anything is better than nothing.

Again listen to your body, and let the discomfort you feel be your guide, along with your doctor of course.

So how should we rest our back?

Well you've got to get up and go to the bathroom and take a few laps around the house. Since it most likely is very uncomfortable when you're doing this, you may want to set up a schedule, treating the short walks as many-workouts.

Well meaning relatives may come over to visit with extra pillows and the even so called "TV pillows". Avoid this like the plague. Propping yourself up in that position with your legs flat and stretched out in front of you, and your spine in a curved position will actually put more pressure on the discs. There are two positions that will work well for pain relief and will not exacerbate your condition. These are the only two positions you should use when you're trying to rest up from your back pain episode.

  1. Lie on either left or right side and bend at your hips and your knees to 90°. In other words, your hips should be the corner of a right angle and so should your knees. Also, place a small pillow between your knees
  2. Lie flat on your back and put a couple of large pillows or rolled blankets under your knees. The angle of your upper leg, lower leg, and the bed surface should be roughly equal to an equilateral triangle. This keeps stress and pressure off of your spine and serves to help tilt the pelvis forward a little bit further opening up the vertebrae.

How to get out of bed

OK, this may seem a little silly but it's not. Using proper technique to get in and out of bed after resting your back will prevent re-injury or new trauma
  • Pick the side you'll exit your bed from. Lie on your side facing that side of your bed.
  • Now scoot way over to the edge of the bed while remaining on your side.
  • Keep your back straight, use the arm you are laying on to push yourself up, with the palm of your hand. Go slowly until you are in and operates sitting position.
  • As you are making the transition from horizontal to vertical let your legs fall off the edge of the bed and down to the floor now, your are you should be an upright sitting position with both of your feet flat on the floor.
  • OK, all we have to do now is from sitting to standing. You may feel unsteady, or too weak to make the transition by yourself. That's fine, just get another person to help you or use a cane or walker, or use a stable piece of furniture to steady yourself. While you're doing this, be careful not to twist from side to side or to bend over. It helps if you keep your core muscles engaged and do not let your belly simply hang loose.
  • When is time to get back into bed, simply do it all again in reverse.

Remember, you don't want to become the bed slug or a couch potato. You can only watch Harry Potter movies over and over again so many times. (my personal record is 4, for The Half-Blood Prince) While in bed, you should try to get at least a little exercise or movement in during the day. Try gently pulling your knees to your chest, striving to increase your range of movement on a daily basis.

Once you are up and around, you may want to try some back stretches as a way to increase flexibility and strength - but go slow and easy! There are some special back exercises elsewhere on the site that you may want to look at. Simply follow the links in this article to read about them. If you been in bed for 2 to 3 days and you don't feel that your level of pain is decreasing or that your range of movement is getting any better is time to call your doctor.

Temperature control for back pain relief

Any of you who have had anything to do with athletics during your life, will be familiar with the coaches recipe to fix any and all injuries: RICE
  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

That's fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough especially when it comes to the ice. Ice is fantastic as an initial treatment because it reduces inflammation and provides some measure of pain relief.

To use ice properly simply do the following... I like to use a bag of frozen corn. I'm not joking! Corn, peas or mixed vegetables are perfect. If they're frozen into a solid block, simply smack the bag on the counter top two separate individual kernels or peas and go to town. Of course you can also use any of the many commercially available ice packs, or even ice cubes in a bag.

There is a danger connected with using ice or extreme cold for pain relief and reduction of inflammation: soft tissue damage. For this reason, never put ice directly on your skin for more than 5 minutes and stretch.

A better technique is some rap your cold pack, vegetables or eyes and that's how. This will also enable you to use the cold pack for about 20 minutes are so every couple of hours.


Turning up the heat on back pain

You've probably seen a number of different ways to apply heat to your back. But you might be asking yourself, "If a cold pack reduces inflammation and pain why would I want to apply heat?" The answer is that heat can be a better solution if your goal is rapid healing.

Not only will heat warm up and thereby limber up the affected area, but it encourages increased blood flow to the injured region which promotes accelerated healing. Heat can be applied in a number of ways depending on the resources at hand, and how often you want to get up and get a new heat pad.

Some people like to put a slightly wet towel into the microwave for 30 seconds or so, others use a standard electric heating pad and still others use pain relief pads that can be applied directly to your sore back. These not only generate heat, many of them contain a topical analgesic to relieve pain and they usually have some sort of adhesive so that they will stay in place.

Go slow and easy when first trying your heating device whichever it may be. Start with warm and work your way up and take your time. Don't risk getting burned.

So which one do I use, cold or heat?

Most sports Physicians, coaches and many general practitioners recommend that you apply cold or ice for the first 48 hours and then switch to heat. The ideas that the ice will give you some pain relief and reduce swelling.

Then, once the initial drama is over the heat will encourage more rapid healing of your back injury. If it makes you feel better, you can also alternate cold and hot. You may want to experiment here and see what works best for you.


Anti-inflammatory drugs for back pain relief

We're all familiar with the many anti-inflammatory drugs available over local drugstores. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. Any of these OOC medicines will help, but they can upset your stomach or have other side effects.


Don't fall victim to the " laundry detergent syndrome"

Remember when you are 12 and decided to do your own laundry for the first time? You probably figured that if 1/4 cup was good, an entire cup of detergent would get your close super clean! As I'm sure you remember, it doesn't work that way.

The same thing applies the medication weather over the counter or prescription. Always followed the directions on the bottle or from your doctor Exactly. On the flip side, don't stop taking your medication whether over the counter or prescribed, just because you feel better. When you take medicine over time it builds up in your body.

This gives you long term pain relief and fights inflammation as your back problem runs its course. Think about it - you're feeling better, and it is because you have the proper level of medication and your body. If you stop taking it now, you may find yourself waking up at 3:00 AM because your back hurts.

Again, always always always follow the label and read any warning information on the label or in the box. The common side effect of over the counter anti inflammatory is an upset stomach, additionally with aspirin you can get abnormal bleeding or ulcers. Check with your doctor before taking any of these medications.

In fact, check with your doctor before taking any medication that is new to you. If you been following the suggestions above and your back pain is not getting better after a week to 10 days you should go see your doctor. Even if the pain is not chronic, and you can return to work, the pain is telling you something. Go see your doctor.

A message from Backgadgets:
I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet! I have had my share of back pain, and have done a LOT of reading on the subject. All I am doing here is sharing what I have learned. You should ALWAYS check with your doctor before trying any medication, technique, or device you find on the internet or in a magazine. The information on the website is for informative and entertainment purposes only, and is not to be taken as a prescription or medical advice in any way shape or form. Again, always consult your medical professional before trying any new medicine, device or therapy!