With nearly 80% of the North American population suffering from back pain, it is the most common reason for work absenteeism and second most common reason for doctor visits. Usually problems are in the lower back, of an acute or chronic nature. Acute pain starts all of a sudden and is usually the cause of improper lifting, a fall, lack of exercise, weight gain or stress. Chronic back pain is that which persists for a period of more that 3 months. It often increases in severity over time.
Fortunately over 90% of back pain gets better by itself without major treatment. Self care remedies can often speed up the recovery time. You should always take the pain more seriously if any of the following ‘red flags’ appear: trouble urinating, loss of control of bowel or bladder, numbness, tingling or shooting pain in your legs or buttocks, weakness in your legs, fever, weight loss or night sweats. In any of these cases, seek immediate professional care. This may be a qualified acupuncturist, chiropractor or medical doctor.
Often the conventional therapy for acute backache is ice, along with some form of analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Ice is good for the first 48 hours. Bags of frozen peas or corn often work the best, as they will conform to the shape of the injured area and can be easily re-frozen. We apply Trauma Ointment as soon as possible to soothe the area. It can be reapplied as often as desired. Heat is better after 48 hours. Rest on a firm bed is often the best cure. Even though we don’t want to rely on aspirin or ibuprofen, they can be very useful for short term relief. Homoeopathic Arnica 6 – 30x taken orally, or Arnica/Cayenne tincture rubbed into the area as a liniment, is often even more beneficial.
The most significant function to prevent back problems is weight-bearing exercise including: walking, Tai Chi, Qi Chong, dancing, running and light weight lifting.
Single Herbs: Bromelain and Curcumin, Arnica tincture, Capsicum cream, Kava Kava.
Nutritional Supplements: B-complex, B12, Vitamin C (3,000 mg throughout the day), Bioflavonoids (up to 1,000 mg daily), Calcium (1,500 – 2,000 mg daily), Manganese (50 mg), Zinc (30 mg daily), Boron, Multiminerals, Glucosamine Sulphate (up to 1,500 mg daily), MSM (1000mg, twice), DL-Phenylalanine, Essential Fatty Acids.