Natural Ways to Relieve Back Pain Inflammation

Woman with back pain
Exercise and weight loss can help alleviate back pain and inflammation (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

The causes of back pain and inflammation can be hard to pin down, so many people feel locked into a cycle of using medicinal remedies for pain relief. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs, however, cause serious side effects if used for long periods of time. Trying natural ways to manage and alleviate pain can shed some light on your underlying condition. For instance, a back condition created by poor posture habits may be corrected with exercise, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. Whether your discomfort arises from an acute muscle strain or a chronic condition, these home treatments can help.

Rest

Take the time to rest. This easiest home treatment brings instant pain relief. Diminished muscular function or joint mobility in the back can be debilitating. Working through it won’t help, and it may greatly slow your recuperation. Specialists at the University of Maryland (UM) Medical Center recommend resting for a few days after a muscle strain or chronic back pain flare-up. Placing no further demands on the affected area will allow inflammation to subside and your body’s natural healing mechanism to do its job.

Ice

While you rest, temper any sharp pain, throbbing or deep aches with a cold compress, as suggested by the American Pain Society. Even people who find an ice pack uncomfortable are fine with a reusable gel pack that has been chilled in the fridge. The large sizes are strong and pliable enough to lie on. The temperature is mild enough to rest directly on skin, yet it effectively addresses inflammation. For immediate pain relief, apply a cold pack for up to 20 minutes, repeating if inflammation returns. As your condition improves, take a cold pack to work with you: this home treatment is portable.

Support

When you regain some mobility, support your back as you move around to avoid or reduce further back pain and inflammation. Pillows tucked on both sides can help you sit up straight in an armchair, and a cane or crutches will take some of the stress off your back when walking. Individuals with osteoarthritis in the vertebral area may especially appreciate a back brace, although UM doctors recommend using one with medical supervision.

Exercise

It may seem contrary, but exercising is a natural way to break the cycle of inflammation and back pain. Doctors and chiropractors agree that gradual home treatment with stretches followed by swimming or walking as your body heals is good therapy. Gentle exercise loosens tense muscles, bringing local pain relief or easing joint discomfort by releasing the surrounding muscular tension. The American Chiropractic Association suggests beginning with passive stretches and gradually increasing your level of activity on the advice of your health care provider.

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