Published: 11/11/2014 - Updated: 10/18/2018
Thousands of people around the world suffer from chronic lower back pain, known as lumbago. Analgesics are frequently prescribed for treating it, but even though the pain improves, it does not disappear.
There is no specific cure for lumbago, however there are alternative treatments that can help diminish or alleviate the pain. The key is to find what works for you through trial and error.
Endorphins, a natural relief
Endorphins are neurotransmitters that produce an analgesic effect on the body, helping fight pain, depression, and even anxiety. Our bodies produce them through certain stimuli, such as:
- Cardiovascular exercise
- Sleeping sufficient amount of hours
- Doing fun activities with friends
Natural remedies for lumbago
Lumbago could require several types of treatment, which is why it is important to identify which factors contribute to the worsening of pain.
1. Sleeping enough: Lower back pain could be caused by sleeping poorly or insomnia. A lack of regular sleep aggravates the pain, which is why it is recommendable to fight insomnia. In order to do this, it is important that you avoid drinking beverages with a lot of caffeine, like coffee and tea. Also, try to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Drinking teas can be helpful for getting to sleep, like valerian.
2. Strengthen back muscles: Back muscles provide the best support to your spine, making toning them a good idea. Swimming is one of the best exercises for spinal health.
3. Apply cold: Cold helps reduce inflammation and also reduces local pain. Apply a little bit of ice, covered with a dish cloth in order to alleviate intense pain. You could also use frozen gel bags.
4. Apply heat: Heat helps stimulate circulation to the painful area, promoting healing and reducing pain. We recommend apply heat with compresses or taking a hot bath. Submerge yourself in the tub in warm water. You could also use hot water bladders. Both heat and cold could be useful; it’s recommendable to use whichever brings you more relief. Try to protect your skin and do not apply anything directly.
5. Improve your posture: Back tension could be the result of bad posture. That’s why it’s recommendable to correct your posture; avoid leaning forward all the time or hunching over. Try to keep your shoulders and ears in line. Yoga is a well-known practice for improving posture and could undoubtedly help alleviate your pain.
6. Care for your posture while sleeping: Rest is important, but it’s also important that you sleep in a proper posture. If you’re used to sleeping on your side, try to place a pillow between your legs to level out your spine. Wrap your legs up to lay in the fetal position. Another recommended option is to sleep face up, placing a pillow under your knees to improve posture and to keep you back relaxed.
7. Consider changing your mattress: A lot of experts agree that changing your mattress could alleviate back pain. It’s recommended to change your mattress every 5 to 7 years, but if that’s not a possibility, you could then place an orthopedic mat over your mattress, which is a less expensive option, and is just as effective.
8. Support yourself with relaxation techniques: Meditation, breathing, yoga, and other practices are good alternatives for learning to relax and to keep your mind calm. Limiting the effects of stress can help reduce back pain.
9. Acupuncture: Applying needles in energetic points in the body can help alleviate muscular pain. Usually more than one session is needed in order to see noticeable improvement.
10. Keep moving: Even though you may feel like doing just the opposite, it is proven that more inactive people suffer from chronic back pain that those that are more active. It is not very advisable to rest for long periods of time. It’s best to stay active, do some sort of regular physical activity like walking, or low impact exercises that help strengthen the muscles in your back.
11. Stretch: Stretching your muscles helps alleviate pain. One exercise that can help fight rigidity in the back consists of getting on all fours, keeping your spine straight, and then suck your abdomen in and curve your spine upwards. Hold the posture for a few seconds, then lower your back, this time curving your back downwards. Hold and repeat 8 times.
12. Consult a therapist: Chronis pain can be exhausting. You could fall into a bad mood and you could even develop depression. That’s why seeing a professional could be appropriate for overcoming those feelings. You will then be able to move your thoughts away from the pain. Optimism is very important.