Natural Pain Relief for Back Pain

Eight out of 10 adults in America have—or will soon experience—back pain brought on by the wear and tear of living. It seems simple to pop a pill for the pain, but why not avoid the side effects by trying natural possibilities first? You can turn to natural healing practices and herbs to alleviate back pain. 

The Chinese medical perspective

According to Chinese medicine, the skeletal structure, bones, and lower back are part of the kidney network. Kidney energy tends to diminish as we age, more rapidly with unhealthy diet, excessive strain, and youthful indiscretions such as drug and alcohol use. Weakness in the kidney network results in symptoms of lower back pain, as well as general weakness, fatigue, and other signs of premature aging. Replenishing kidney energy is a slow and difficult process; that is why it is essential to preserve kidney energy. Fortunately, through qigong exercises, herbs, proper diet and lifestyle, you can slow down its depletion and even regenerate certain aspects of kidney energy, and in the process, ease some of your back pain. Try these tips!

1. Eucommia for your aching back

Eucommia is a traditional ingredient in herbal formulas for back and joint pain and helps to strengthen your bones, tendons, and ligaments. Western studies with rats have discovered that both the leaves and the bark of eucommia contain a compound that encourages the development of collagen, an important part of connective tissues like skin, tendons, and ligaments. A typical dosage is 350 mg twice a day. You can also try the traditional Chinese Arthritis/Joint formula, which includes eucommia and other herbs that support a strong back.

2. Press here for relief

Lower back pain is one of the most common problems that we treat at the Tao of Wellness. We use acupuncture and bodywork to reduce pain, which has proven quite effective. Like acupuncture, acupressure is the art of acupuncture without needles, where you use your own fingers to stimulate a specific acupoint. The combination of the following two acupoints is good for strengthening the kidneys and alleviating back pain:

• Find the acupoint: Forceful Torrent (Ki-3), which is in the depression between the inner anklebone and the Achilles tendon of the right foot. Apply steady pressure with your right thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 3 minutes. Repeat on the left foot.


• Find the acupoint: Supporting the Core. It's in the middle of the popliteal crease behind the knee of the right leg. Apply pressure with your right middle finger until you feel soreness. Hold for 3 minutes. Repeat on your left leg.

You can also massage the parts or your back that are in pain. Tonic oil, which consists of oils of camphor, peppermint, eucalyptus, fennel, and wintergreen, can be massaged into your back for relief from minor aches and pains. For a traditional blend of tonic oil in a pure sesame oil base, click here.

3. Tasty treats for back pain

Make a delicious anti-inflammatory cocktail by mixing equal parts of unsweetened black cherry juice with dark grape juice and drink 3 to 6 glasses a day until the pain has eased. Also, feature more pineapple in your diet. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps with back pain, as well as muscle and joint pain.

4. Exercise can ease your back

Most back pain is caused by the wear and tear of living, which over time weakens our skeletal structure, in the form of bone loss or a displaced disk. Research conclusively shows that exercise early in life builds bone mass and strengthens the skeletal structure, helping to prevent injury down the road. The good news is that if you are advancing in age, regular exercise can slow the progress of degenerative bone disorders. Generally for a healthy back, I recommend a combination of exercises: a 30-minute daily walk, moderate weight training to strengthen muscles and bones, and tai chi or qigong to build endurance and flexibility. A good form to choose is Dao-In qigong, which is gentle on the body and great for loosening up the back. You can look for a local tai chi practitioner to teach you or learn from an instructional DVD. During acute back pain, exercise may be difficult or too painful. Until you are mobile, bed rest is the best.

I hope you have found some natural ways to alleviate your back pain! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

-Dr. Mao

This blog is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

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