Beat Lower Back Pain with Simple Home Remedies
Lower back pain is a common complaint these days. Given the modern hectic lifestyle, this problem afflicts both men and women, young and old alike. Most affected are women above 60 years or younger individuals with physically demanding occupations. A problem experienced by most people at some point or other in their lives, in most cases, the exact cause of this painful condition remains unknown. Yet, with few medical investigations and suitable treatment one can overcome this problem in no time.
The lower back includes five vertebrae- L1-L5- in the lumbar region as well as five topmost sacral vertebrae. Nevertheless, it is the resilient in vertebrae that cushion the bones during movements and act as shock absorbers throughout the spinal column. The ligaments keep the vertebrae intact while the muscles are attached to the spinal cord by tendons. Therefore, the lower back that bears a majority of the body weight leading to free movement at the waist many a times become a little too much for the ligaments, muscles and tendons supporting the body weight. As a consequence, pain develops at the lower back, owing to a mechanical problem. This leads to a disruption in the function of the joints causing inflammation and pain.
The general term referring to lower back pain is ‘lumbosacral pain’ or ‘Lumbago’. The term lumbago is derived from the Latin ‘Lumbus’ which means ‘Loins’. Thus ‘lumbago’ represents a ‘weakness in the loins’ or to be more precise ‘weakness in the lower back’.
The pain varies from mild to excruciating, causing a lot of discomfiture. It may appear suddenly in sharp jabs or as a dull nagging ache making a person incapacitated, unable to carry out normal routine chores. The pain may occur due to strenuous work like lifting heavy objects or owing to degeneration of the spine generally associated with the ageing. Another major factor for the occurrence of low back pain is leading a sedentary life. Nonetheless, in a majority of cases the pain subsides by itself within a few days/weeks, whereas in some others it may become prolonged.
- Unbearable pain after a fall or an accident
- Fever with temperature rising above 100 F
- Swelling and inflammation at the lower back or legs
- Pain while urinating or coughing
- Bladder/bowel incontinence
- Tingling or numbness in the legs
Causes of Lower Back Pain
- Disc degeneration due to loss in the cushioning effect of the in vertebrae.
- Muscle Strain/sprain owing to ligament and muscle tear while lifting heavy objects or while involved in strenuous work
- Ligament tear which is a partial or complete disruption of a ligament causing loss of function, swelling and pain
- Spinal cancer where a growth develops between the bones of the spine or on the spinal column
- Spinal fracture occurring due to a fall or accident
- Muscular tension caused by stress factors wherein the muscles remain in a semi contracted state for a long time
- Ruptured/Herniated Discs occurs when the invertebral disc ruptures or bulges out due to compression causing pain due to extra pressure on the nerves of the spine
- Radiculopathy is a problem because of inflammation, injury or a compressed nerve root
- Sciatica is a form of Radiculopathy caused due to compression of the longest nerve root running from the lower back to the leg called sciatica nerve. This causes low back pain radiating to the legs.
- Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebrae of the lower spine slips out of place, irritating the nerve taking off from the spinal column
- Osteomyelitis refers to infection involving the vertebrae
- Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine occurring before the onset of puberty
- Spinal Stenosis is the narrowing of the Spinal column causing weakness, pain, numbness and sensory loss in the leg.
- Kidney Stones cause stabbing pain at the back
- Aortic aneurysm happens due to enlargement of the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the legs, pelvic region and the abdomen.
- Inflammatory conditions of the joints like arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis
- Pregnancy related problems
- Female oriented problems like uterine fibroids, ovarian cancer, ovarian cysts and endometriosis
- Poor posture
Passing blood in the urine
Sudden weight loss
Home Remedies for Lower Back Pain
Applying heat generates healing warmth to the aching lower back. This is because heat has the ability to stimulate blood flow and also restricts the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Hence a hot water bath, heat compress or hot water bag will help provide soothing relief for an aching back.
Ice and gel packs work well for prolonged back ache as they reduce inflammation and pain, besides playing the crucial role of a local anaesthetic which diminishes pain and spasms.
Endorphins are hormones manufactured by the central nervous system and pituitary gland. These produce natural analgesic action and are released in response to brain neurotransmitters. With release of these hormones the brain stops perceiving pain as these are feel good messengers alleviating anxiety-related symptoms.
Stretching the hamstring at least twice a day also helps as a tight hamstring exerts a lot of pressure on the sacroiliac joint and back.
The medicinal properties in Turmeric is one of the most effective time-tested formula for treating inflammatory conditions. A potent antioxidant, turmeric contains cur cumin offering natural analgesic properties. According to Research, Cur cumin inhibits and regulates a protein that triggers an abnormal inflammatory response from the body. Therefore, drinking a glass of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of turmeric powder helps relieve stiffness and pain. Another remedy is to regularly massage the aching area with a paste consisting of two tablespoons each turmeric and milk along with a teaspoon of honey for about 5 to 10 minutes for a couple of weeks to ease inflammation.
Ginger contains Gingerols, a chemical component with anti-inflammatory properties. Besides this, the medicinal constituents in the spice obstruct the biosynthesis and prostaglandins, the main culprits for occurrences of inflammatory conditions. The spice also promotes free blood flow to the legs relieving problem related to sciatica nerve. A natural analgesic, ginger makes an excellent alternative to aspirin. Therefore preparing a concoction by boiling a small piece of ginger in 250 ml water for half an hour and consuming the liquid twice provides immense relief from stiffness and discomfort of the lower back.
Garlic is one of the most effective remedies for treating lower back pain. Being a natural antibiotic, anti inflammatory, antiseptic and a nerve tonic, consuming 2 to 3 cloves of garlic every morning proves effective for pain and inflammation. As an alternative, prepare garlic oil by heating 60ml of sesame/mustard/ or coconut oil along with 10-12 cloves of garlic. Massage the painful area with the oil gradually allowing the oil to seep into the skin for a couple of hours. Follow this treatment with a nice hot bath.
One of the major factors responsible for certain inflammatory conditions like arthritis is high acid levels in the body. However, in some cases it is mainly due to crystallisation of uric acid that is responsible for aches and inflammation. One of the best solutions to relieve the body of excessive acid accumulation is by way of drinking lemon water mixed with a pinch of salt, twice a day for desired results. Since lemon is alkaline in nature it works effectively well to relieve the body of acids.
Cayenne contains capsaicin which acts as a natural analgesic alleviating pain. This unique substance impedes specific neurons that distract the nerve from painful sensations. Furthermore, according to several studies, topical application of cayenne relieves tension from stiff joints and muscles. Due to this effect topical application of an ointment prepared with two teaspoons of cayenne pepper along with coconut oil provides respite from problems related to the lumbar region.
Herbs that have a direct effect on the nerves are known as nervines and holy basil belongs to this category of herbs. Eugenol a substance that provides basil with the distinctive aroma offers natural anti-inflammatory and healing properties. A natural muscle relaxant boiling 10- 12 leaves of basil in a cup of water and consuming the liquid with a pinch of salt, twice or thrice a day helps relieve inflammation.
Betel leaves contain polyphenol substances that offer anti-inflammatory benefits. Combined with their analgesic and coolant properties they act as a natural pain reliever and provide respite from a stiff painful lower back. Heat betel leaf and make a poultice or combine betel juice with coconut oil and massage the area thoroughly
Preventive Tips for Lower Back Pain
- Shed weight as being overweight puts a lot of pressure on the back.
- Lift heavy objects by bending the knees and not by bending over the waist. Distribute weight evenly on all sides of the body and taking some weight off from the shoulders.
- Avoid high heels as they cause a great deal of strain on the back, especially while standing. Wear heels that are less than an inch to prevent back problems.
- Adjust sleeping position and avoid sleeping on the back as it can aggravate lower back pain. Lie down placing the feet on an elevated position or prop a few pillows under the knees to avoid pain.
- Avoid sitting for prolonged period and remember to move around once in every twenty minutes to release pressure from the back.
- Have a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D substances. The best source for vitamin D however happens to be sunlight. Basking in the sun for 15 minutes every morning provides the required vitamin D elements. Include calcium and vitamin D enriched foods like yoghurt, milk, cheese, egg yolk, liver(beef), green leafy vegetables and fatty fish
- Quit smoking as nicotine restricts blood flow to the spinal disc making them dry crack or rupture.
- Reduce stress levels by practising yoga and meditation
Stay healthy and Happy!