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A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.

Back Pain

Most backaches are not considered to be serious disorders though the level of discomfort they cause may be immense at times. The area most likely to be affected is the lower back; this area of the spine bears most of the body's weight and this area is the region that will hurt the most. Pain in the back is brought on by a number of factors, thus the presence of any sort of inflammation or even a minor injury in any bones that make up the spine-the vertebrae, or a sprain in any of the muscles, the cartilage, the nerves, or any of the other tissues connected to the spine will all bring discomfort and different kinds of aches; collectively called back pain.

Muscular strain is the most likely cause of back pain in the vast majority of individuals. Discomfort and pain in the spine can be brought on by improper body posture, a weakening in the bones or the cartilage can also result in pain. Other causes for discomfort and pain can include a slipped disk, the pain due to a pinched nerve, or pain that is linked to some stress and emotional upset, that is psychosomatic pain. Chronic back pain usually develops in people with a disease such as arthritis or osteoporosis - such disorders predisposes the person to developing back pain and can be regarded as risk factors.

Supplements and herbs

The need for medical or surgical treatment must first be established or negated in consultation with a doctor, before the patient is put on a therapeutic supplemental program to treat symptoms of back pain. The aim of most supplements is the eradication of the painful sensations, the building up of strong bones and muscles and the reduction of the inflammation. All the positive effects of the supplementation will begin to be felt within a week's time.

Supplemental minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamins such as the vitamins C and D, and trace minerals like manganese restore strength to bone and cartilage and these supplements should be the first ones that a person with back pain consumes. Used in singular doses or in combination forms, the use of other various other supplements are then suggested. The use of a compound called bromelain, which is an enzyme found in pineapple, has been successfully tried out on patients in certain hospitals - the use of the enzyme succeeded in bringing about a reduction in the inflammation and pain arising from surgery, from trauma, from different types of sports injuries, and those from arthritis related issues. The underlying mechanisms of how bromelain works within the body remains unknown. It is still not decided whether the enzyme bromelain is directly absorbed into the bloodstream when it enters the body. The tissues that support the spinal disks are known as cartilage and a compound called glucosamine helps build cartilage within the body-supplements of this compound can also be used in the treatment of back pain. Though it is said to have some side effects, the supplemental form of the white willow bark possesses excellent pain-relieving characteristics similar to those induced by aspirin in the body. The oil of the flaxseed may also possess healing analgesic and anti-inflammatory abilities and can be used as a supplement in the treatment of back pain in patients-along with this property; it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are excellent nutritional molecules. Except for the bark of the white willow which must be taken alone, the following supplements can be taken in conjunction with other conventional pain relievers and they will all help in the alleviating the pain felt by the patient.

200 mg tablets of the S-adenosyl methionine - SAMe supplement can also be taken thrice daily as treatment for back pain, this compound is one form of the muscle-strengthening, collagen-building essential amino acid methionine; it is available in capsules or tablets and makes an excellent supplement. The anti-inflammatory properties of the boswellia herb can also be made use of-at doses of about 150 mg boswellic acid taken thrice daily. Another excellent supplement is the compound known as niacinamide, which is a form of the vitamin niacin, taken at dosages of 500 mg thrice every day, this supplement can be very effective against arthritic back pain in patients who suffer from this condition. In case of degenerative spine disease or the inflammatory pain that arises from arthritis, supplements of the devil's claw taken at dosages of 400 mg thrice daily may prove to be very useful.

Aromatherapy

Commonly used essential oils for back pain:

Homeopathy

All the homeopathic remedies can be taken for acute pain, once every hour or so and as and when it is needed by the patient. A single dose of the homeopathic remedy at 30th potency can be used on a daily basis for chronic problems and the remedy should be continued for several weeks to gauge its effects, alternately it can be used as to treat the patient symptomatically. The potency of the remedy used must be continually evaluated and changed during the treatment of any chronic condition; this is so even if the initial potency prescribed was correct for the problem. To optimize the healing process, abstention from the use of the remedy must be done for short periods of time or alternately the remedies used themselves may be changed, as treatment progresses.

  • Aesculus
    Aesculus is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of patients with pain in the lower back, in the region of the sacrum, and sacroiliac pain. The patient may complain of stiffness in the back and a weak back that tends to give out suddenly, the physical symptoms can include persistent dull, aching, and constant pain in the affected region. The painful sensations may sometimes radiate along the nerves and travel to other regions of the body. The legs of the person may feel heavy at most times. The condition of the patient tends to worsen when he or she is in motion of any sort, when he or she is walking, when he or she is standing, and when the patient undergoes certain motions such as stooping and rising up suddenly, or when he or she is lying down. The condition of the patient tends to improve when some heat is applied to the affected area of the body. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the use of Aesculus as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
  • Berberis
    Berberis is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of patients with a lower back pain where the symptoms can include the presence of stitching types of pain that seem to radiate from the affected area, to the hips, to the front of the thighs, and generally in an up or down direction along the spine. The symptoms are very changeable in intensity. The patient often appears very weak, and complains of lame legs, which are numb and stiff at most times. Other physical symptoms can include the presence of painful sensations in the balls of the feet, and the feeling of tenderness in the abdominal region around the kidneys. The condition of the patient tends to worsen when the person is under any sort of motion, and the symptoms are aggravated by jarring motions, by suddenly rising up, when standing, lying or sitting down, and in the nighttime after 12 a.m., constant physical fatigue is another typical symptom. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Berberis as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the patient.
  • Calc. fluor
    Calc. fluor. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals suffering from back pain, who complain of an aching and stiff back-they are also tired most of the time. The patient also complains of a burning and grinding type of pain in the affected region of the spine. The patient is given to a lot of restlessness. The patient may have cracking joints and will complain of these symptoms when and where the symptoms act up. This form of pain typically results from and is identical to the symptoms seen in chronic low back, and in those form of the disorder produced from repeated back sprains, and from physical overexertion. The condition can also arise from a "slipped disc" and a weakening in the ligaments of the body. The condition can also result because of the complications due to arthritis, from hard nodes around the spine, and from bone spurs. The condition of the patient often worsens from exposure to the cold and damp weather, and from drafts, or during the first motion of the day. The condition of the patient tends to improve from exposure to the warmth and in dry environments, and when the person limbers up. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Calc. flour as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
  • Nat. mur.
    Nat. mur. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of patients suffering from back pain where the affected area is bruised or extremely painful. The patient may complain of a pain that is so severe that he or she feels weak and numb at most times of the day and night, the patient may feel lame, as if he or she was paralyzed or had a broken spine. The spinal region of the patient also tends to be very sensitive at all times. The patient also complains of stiffness, and cramping, cracking joints in the body. The person has a stoic depression at most times of the day and the night. The condition of the patient tends to worsen whenever he or she undertakes some stooping, sitting or rising up movements. Alternately the condition of the patient tends to improve when he or she lies down on a hard surface, and when he or she is out in the open air. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Nat. mur. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
  • Nux vomica
    Nux vomica is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of patients with back pain who complain of stitching pains in the back along with bruises, the pain may be so severe that it can actually drive the patient from bed at around 4 a.m. the patients movement may be restricted by the pain and the person may actually need to sit up to turn over on the bed. The person displays typical psychological symptoms such as great irritability, and is often greatly stressed and seems extremely driven. The person may also experience extreme spasms in the muscles. The person is also affected by a dull, numb and heavy pain in the affected region. The person often complains of lameness in the affected part. The condition of the patient tends to worsen when undertaking extreme motion or movements of any kind; he or she is also sensitive to the cold, and to being touched, especially after midnight. The condition of the patient may greatly improve when he or she is placed in a warm place, if some pressure is applied onto the affected area, and when he or she has taken a short nap. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Nux vomica as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
  • Rhus. tox.
    Rhus. tox. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of patients who complain of a back pain which produces symptoms such as the presence of tearing, drawing and burning pains in the affected region of the spine. The person may feel a sudden "crick" sound when he or she is lifting something. Some typical physical symptoms can include a feeling of heaviness and stiffness in the affected area. The person may have a lot of restlessness. The person at most times of the day and night will feel a need to stretch and move about to relax the muscles and the spine. Psychological symptoms include the presence of a fear of misfortune and failure. The condition of the patient often worsens when the person is undertaking the slightest initial motion, when he or she is sitting down. The condition of the patient is also aggravated by being exposed to cold and damp places, especially during storms and after midnight. The condition of the patient tends to improve when he or she is limbering up, if some pressure is applied on the affected area of the body, the condition of the patient also improves when he or she lies down on a hard surface, when he or she is bending backward, and on the application of some heat on the affected region of the spine. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Rhus. tox. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
  • Ruta
    Ruta is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of patients who complain of a back pain from a spraining in the ligaments at the back and the ones arising from damaged joints. The patient has symptoms that include the presence of bruising and aching sensations on the body, along with a sever pain in the back. The patient often suffers from a very weak back, and has a great weariness in the body. The person suffers from some form of restlessness at most times of the day and the night. Some psychological symptoms that are typically observed in the individual include feelings of anxiety, and the development of phobias, the person is dissatisfied at most times of the day and night. The condition of the person worsens at the first motion, when he or she is touched, and if he stoops sits or turns and bends suddenly. The condition is also aggravated if the person steps on hard areas, and in cold and damp places. The condition of the patient often improves if the person is in continual motion, and when he or she lies on his or her back, and when the person puts even the slightest pressure on the affected region of the back.
  • Sepia
    Sepia is to be used as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of patients who complain of a dull pain in the back which seems to radiate to the areas of the sacrum, the pelvis and even into the legs. The person may feel that most of the pain stays in the back. The patient may experience the appearance of sudden painful stitches that feel as if "a hammer" were pounding the affected area. The other physical symptoms include complete physical exhaustion at most of the day and night, the patient may also feel tiredness and weakness in the back at most times of the day and the night. The psychological symptoms of the patient include feelings of sadness, and constant weeping, indifference. The patient may want solitude and will prefer to be alone at most times of the day and night. This form of back problem may deliver from the normal back pain that is felt during pregnancy and after menstruation. The condition of the patient greatly worsens when the person is sitting down, when undertaking the slightest motion, and in the cold and damp of the evenings. The condition of the patient can greatly improve if the affected area is subjected to some pressure, and if the person is allowed to lie down for extended periods of rest and relaxation. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Sepia as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.

Additional things you may do

Consider the use of orthotics as therapy, and in order to correct faulty body posture, make sure that you put on only the most comfortable and well fitting footwear around. Some other techniques that you can pursue for the alleviation of a chronic back pain can include therapeutic massage on a regular basis; acute cases can be handled through regular physiotherapy sessions. Other techniques such as chiropractic-spinal alignment methods, acupuncture techniques, and the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can bring about immense relief from the pain of an injured back. When lifting something heavy, try to bend your knees first before bending from the waist-this bad lifting technique is the primary cause of back ache in a number of individuals. Make sure to take frequent breaks and stretch your back as often as possible and always sit in a chair with a good lower-back support; the ergonomics of all furniture you use must be suitable to you, bad furniture ergonomics is a major cause of spinal problems these days.

Usual dosage

  • Flaxseed oil, one tbsp (14 gr) daily. Flaxseed oil can be mixed with meal. Should be taken in the morning.
  • White willow bark, one or two pills thrice daily.
  • Vitamin D, 400 IU daily. Doses above 1,000 IU daily should be avoided (may be toxic).
  • Vitamin C, 1,000 mg thrice daily. If diarrhea develops, reduce the dose.
  • Magnesium / Calcium, 250 mg magnesium and 600 mg calcium a day.
  • Manganese, 60 mg daily for 14 days. Reduce the dose to 20 mg daily after two weeks.
  • Glucosamine, 500 mg glucosamine sulfate thrice daily. Take with meal. Diabetics should avoid it.
  • Bromelain, 500 mg thrice daily on an empty stomach. Discontinue after two weeks, if there is no effect.

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