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Back Pain Remedies?

With the myriad of back pain remedies available, how do you know which ones to use? When your neighbor suggests to you what helped his sciatica symptoms, should you try it? Knowing what to try and what to avoid can mean the difference between getting out of pain or feeling worse.

What Back Pain Remedies should you avoid?

Let’s start by addressing those back pain remedies that have a chance of making your lower back pain worse rather than better. We’ll focus on those remedies that do not require a doctor as they are the one’s people have a tendency to trying.

Hot Tubs/Hot Packs

As soothing as a nice soak in the tub sounds, it is more likely that it will either prolong your pain or make it worse than make your pain better. Why? Whenever there is pain, there frequently is inflammation. Heat is associated with signs of increased inflammation. Thus, if you are experiencing pain, adding more heat to the area can increase the inflammation. So, as long as you are experiencing pain, it is safer stay away from the heat.

Analgesic Creams

You know these creams; Ben Gay, Icy Hot, and Aspercreme are the most common. The use of the creams themselves will not actually make your pain worse. The issue is that while these creams are effective in reducing pain, they do not address the cause of the pain. These creams work by stimulating superficial nerve endings, providing a sense of warmth and for some, temporary pain relief.

While that might initially sound good, focusing your attention on using remedies that mask the pain rather than address the cause of your pain will only prolong your symptoms.

Back Pain

What Remedies Work?

Let’s move on to those back pain remedies that can both help relieve your pain and address the cause of the symptoms.

Ice therapy

By far the safest and most effective thing you can do to help relieve lower back pain and sciatica symptoms is to use ice. Ice therapy reduces the inflammation that is associated with painful conditions. Lower back pain has both an inflammatory component (increased swelling and tissue irritation) and a mechanical component (tightness, stiffness, or weakness). Utilizing ice helps to address that inflammatory component.

In addition, ice helps to relieve pain by decreasing nerve impulses that transmit pain signals to your brain. Ice is by far your best lower back pain remedy.


Research indicates that one of the best means of reducing lower back pain is initiating a walking and exercise program. That being said, the research did not classify the type of lower back pain that walking best serves. Some lower back conditions such as facet joint pain, spinal stenosis, and some times degenerative disc disease can be aggravated with extended standing and walking. To learn exercises for specific back conditions, click on this link: back pain treatment. What is the take home message? If walking feels good, do it frequently.

In addition to walking other forms of exercise have also been supported by research in reducing back pain. Forms of exercise includes: yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi. Find a type of exercise that feels good and that you enjoy so it can be easier for you to be consistent. Studies show that participating in some form of regular exercise program will assist in reducing back pain.

Stress Reduction

As vague as this sounds, studies indicate a strong associated between stress and lower back issues. The onset and recurrence of lower back pain most often occurs in times of stress.

This is especially true of work related back pain. Those that suffer a back injury while working at job they do not enjoy take twice as long to get better.

How can you reduce stress? It depends on you. If you need to go to the beach, pet your cat, or listen to relaxing music, do what you like to relax. Reducing stress is one of the best back pain remedies.

Acupuncture/Physical Therapy/Chiropractic

Research has indicated that all of these therapies can be effective in reducing lower back pain and improving function. The limitation is that they can be expensive if you have to pay for them on your own.

Joint Supplements

There is some research that supports the use of supplements for chronic (not acute) lower back pain. Glucosamine sulfate, vitamin B12 injections, and vitamin D have all shown to be effective in managing chronic low back pain. The limitation with the vitamin B12 is that it must be delivered via an injection.

There is some research that indicates vitamin D deficiency can be associate with chronic back pain. If you have chronic back pain, consider having the your vitamin D levels evaluated.

As back pain is commonly associated with inflammation, reducing inflammation can be a key component in reducing back pain. Research indicates that taking 1200 mg of Omega-3 (fish oil) is an effective alternative to NSAIDS in the treatment of back pain. Being that fish oil does not have the side effects associated with NSAIDS (namely stomach upset), fish oil may be more appropriate choice for many.

With the high incidence of lower back pain, the search for more back pain remedies will continue. Take caution with who is giving you advice. What works for one may not work for you. Follow the proven recommendations and you’ll be on the road to recovery in no time.

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Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain.Maroon JC, Bost JW.

AAOHN J. 2011 Aug;59(8):355-61; quiz 362. doi: 10.3928/08910162-20110718-01. Epub 2011 Jul 25.Yoga to treat nonspecific low back pain.Carter C, Stratton C, Mallory D.

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2010 Apr;24(2):193-204.Exercise therapy for chronic nonspecific low-back pain.van Middelkoop M, Rubinstein SM, Verhagen AP, Ostelo RW, Koes BW, van Tulder MW.

Spine J. 2008 Jan-Feb;8(1):70-9.Evidence-informed management of chronic low back pain with herbal, vitamin, mineral, and homeopathic supplements.Gagnier JJ

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