Get Drug-Free Relief for Your Back Pain
We’re a nation in pain. And most of it settles in our backs. On any given day, 16 million American adults experience chronic back pain that limits everyday activities. Back pain is the country’s most common pain problem after headaches and arthritis.
Turning to over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription medications can be tempting when you live in pain. Some pain relievers carry the risk of addiction. Others can cause unpleasant side effects like constipation and fatigue.
You have a choice when it comes to treating chronic or occasional back pain. Drug-free relief for your back pain exists. In this article you’ll learn:
- What’s the difference between acute and chronic pain?
- What causes back pain?
- Does back pain last forever?
- How can you prevent back pain?
- What are some natural back pain relief solutions?
What’s the difference between acute and chronic pain?
When back pain strikes, it’s hard to know whether it’s acute or chronic pain. The two conditions are equally painful. However, from a medical standpoint, they are different problems. Here are some tips to help you figure out what kind of pain you’re experiencing.
Acute back pain
Acute back pain usually is triggered by mild trauma to the lower back. Maybe you were gardening for a few hours, and the prolonged bent-over position caused the pain. Maybe you decided to lift something to move it out of your way and it was heavier than you expected.
No matter how you experience the trauma, the result is the same. You suffer from short-term back pain that lasts between a few days and a few weeks. Symptoms can include:
- Difficulty standing up straight.
- Impaired range of motion.
- Loss of flexibility.
- Nagging muscle aches.
- Sharp, stabbing pain.
Chronic back pain
Chronic back pain feels like acute back pain. The only difference is it never eases up. Weeks and months pass, but you still have the nagging pain. If it’s been more than 3 months since the pain started without any sign of improvement, doctors may classify it as chronic.
Don’t be fooled if the pain seems to stop for a bit before starting back up again. Chronic back pain sufferers can have lulls in their symptoms, only to have it return with a vengeance without warning.
What causes back pain?
Several things contribute to back pain, especially lower back pain. The most common cause is an injury to a muscle or ligament. How do we get these sprains and strains?
- Being overweight.
- Improper lifting techniques.
- Lack of regular exercise.
- Poor posture.
Sometimes back pain is caused by more serious conditions like arthritis and bulging or ruptured discs.
Does back pain last forever?
Back pain can feel like the annoying houseguest that doesn’t know when it’s time to leave. The good news is that most back pain does resolve eventually. Nevertheless, depending on your individual pain tolerance, recuperation can feel like a short-term inconvenience or a drawn-out nightmare.
If your back pain isn’t getting better – or worsens – it’s time to stop toughing it out and consult with your doctor to determine the cause. Back pain can be a sign of some serious issues with your spine – disc problems, spinal tumors, spinal stenosis – that shouldn’t be ignored.
How can you prevent back pain?
Some preventative measures can go a long way toward keeping back pain at bay. While not a guarantee, these strategies significantly reduce your chances of suffering.
Be mindful of your posture. Slouching, especially when sitting at a computer or desk, can trigger persistent back pain. If your job requires you to sit for long periods, you can get a back brace that helps you maintain proper posture.
Don’t smoke. If you’re a smoker, you’re more likely to develop chronic back pain. Why? Because smoking reduces oxygen flow to your muscular-skeletal system, which can weaken your back.
Exercise daily. The American Academy of Family Physicians touts the benefits of daily exercise when trying to ward off back pain. Walking is the academy’s most-recommended low-impact exercise.
Monitor your weight. A direct correlation exists between back pain and obesity. Even carrying just a few extra pounds in your midsection can cause discomfort.
What are some natural back pain relief solutions?
When you’re experiencing back pain, you don’t have time to armchair diagnose. You want fast, safe relief. Here are some things you can do to alleviate the pain while you wait to talk to your doctor.
Apply Hot & Cold Therapy
Alternating between cold and heat therapy can bring immediate pain relief. Cold reduces the pain, while heat relaxes your muscles. The most effective approach is to go back and forth between a cold and hot compress, leaving each on your back for up to 15 minutes. Frozen veggie bags make a great cold compress because they mold to the shape of your back.
Over-the-counter pain relievers come with many risks. Aspirin and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (NSAIDs) might help with the pain, but their overuse can cause more problems than they solve.
Moving might seem like a dumb idea when your back already hurts. However, bed rest can aggravate back pain, not relieve it. Some studies have shown the benefit of engaging in low-impact exercises like walking or swimming.
Spray on Relief
Relieving pain naturally can make suffering through an episode of low back pain more bearable. Certain ingredients in nature ease discomfort, including menthol. Premiere’s Pain Spray Mist and Roll-On maximize the power of menthol and other natural ingredients to kick back pain to the curb fast.
Try Complementary Therapy
Some complementary therapies can help with pain control. Among the most recommended by naturopaths and other healthcare practitioners is:
- Chiropractic care
- Therapeutic massage
Seeking a natural solution
Whether you’re dealing with a one-time sports mishap or persistent arthritis pain, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Effective drug-free relief for back pain exists. Give it a try and then talk to your doctor if the pain persists.
A Systemic Review of the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed August 2, 2022.
Back Pain. mayoclinic.org. Accessed August 2, 2022.
Chronic Back Pain. hpi.georgetown.edu. Accessed August 2, 2022.
Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. ninds.nih.gov. Accessed August 2, 2022.
Lower Back Pain. my.clevelandclinic.org. Accessed August 2, 2022.
Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults. aafp.org. Accessed August 2, 2022.
Smoking Hurts Your Back. urmc.rochester.edu. Accessed August 2, 2022.
The Association Between Obesity and Low Back Pain: A Meta-Analysis. academic.oup.com. Accessed August 2, 2022.
The role and mechanism of action of menthol in topical analgesic products. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed August 2, 2022.