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Back Pain Home Remedies

Although there are modern therapies like virtual reality devices and lasers, the old remedies used by parents and grandparents can be quite effective too. Not to mention some are free or inexpensive. Some are readily available, right in your kitchen. Which home remedies work for back pain? Let’s review the best back pain home remedies in this article. 

 Cold and hot therapy

Cold and/or hot compresses. Cold and hot therapy is effective for short-term relief of back pain.  Many people want to know which works best- ice packs or hot compresses? During the following days, either hot or cold compresses can help. Some alternated hot and cold compresses. Ice relieves pain by numbing the area and decreasing inflammation, thus is recommended at the onset of the back pain. After a couple of days, heat applications may work better, as heat increases the blood flow, relaxes the muscles, and thus promotes faster recovery. For others, cold compresses will still work better. Alternating cold and hot compresses are another way to use cold/hot therapy. Try all these options and see which one makes you feel better. Do not use cold or hot packs for more than 15 minutes at a time. There are special pads available in pharmacies that can be placed either in the freezer or microwave. Alternatively, a bag of frozen vegetables can replace ice pads, or a hot water bottle can be used instead of a heated pad. 

Bed rest – but not for too long!

Bed rest for back pain was advised by doctors for a long time. However, this is no longer recommended, as research studies show that bed rest can make the pain worse, decondition the muscles, and can also lead to constipation and increase the risk of blood clots. Furthermore, too much bed rest can also have a negative impact on your mood and well-being. Get some extra rest, stay in bed for a few hours when the pain is severe. No more than one-two day.  Find a comfortable sofa or bed, use some pillows under the head. Place a pillow between the knees if lying on the side, under the knees when lying on the back, or under the hips when lying on the abdomen. After a day or two, try to get active as soon as possible. 

breathing exercises

Get moving

Exercise is a key component of back pain management. Exercise improves strength, flexibility, range of motion, function and helps prevent future back pains. Exercise also improves blood flow and lymphatic flow, both leading to less inflammation and faster recovery. A good exercise routine for back pain includes aerobic exercises, flexibility exercises, and core strength training. More details are in this article. A physiotherapist can create a custom program and provide different variations for back pain problems. 

Take a bath, add  Epsom salt and essential oils

Epsom salt is an excellent source of magnesium, which has muscle relaxant qualities and also promotes emotional relaxation. This mineral is absorbed well through the skin. Simply soak for 20 minutes in the bath, preferably before bedtime. Add a few drops of lavender oil, peppermint oil, or camphor oil- they all have documented painkiller, anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxant qualities. You can also apply diluted essential oils directly to the back area or use them in an air diffuser. 

Cabbage Leaf Wraps 

Cabbage leaf wraps are popular home remedies. But do they really help? It’s worth trying them for mild back pain, as this is a safe and inexpensive remedy. This practice has been around for centuries. In addition to anecdotal evidence, there are a few research studies suggesting they seem to be effective to relieve pain and inflammation. For example, one study found cabbage leaf wraps are more effective than usual care for knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. However, the anti-inflammatory diclofenac gel was found superior to both cabbage wraps and usual care. Cabbage is a nutrient-rich food that contains plenty of anti-inflammatory substances including vitamins, minerals,  anthocyanins, and sulfur-based compounds. Red cabbage seems may be a better choice for making these leaf wraps. 

How do you use these cabbage leaves for pain relief? Simply wrap the cabbage leaves in foil, place them in the oven for a few minutes. They should be warm (not hot) to touch when using them. Use one layer of warm cabbage leaves on the painful area of the back, and cover them with a self-stick wide bandage. You can add plastic wrap on top. Keep this wrap on your back for at least one hour. Repeat as needed. 

Not all home remedies will work for everyone. You may try a few and see which one helps you relieve the pain. Additionally, these home remedies should be considered for minor aches and pains. See medical advice and treatment for more severe back pain.