Natural Treatments for Lower Back Pain

By Dr. Mao Shing Ni

 

EIGHT OUT OF TEN ADULTS IN AMERICA have or will soon experience back pain. Lower back pain is most commonly attributed to strain and injury. man with lower back painIt is the wear and tear of living that eventually weakens the skeletal structure, causing bone loss or a displaced disk. This can be compounded by a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity. As we age we lose calcium from our bones, which can lead to osteopenia or osteoporosis. As a result our backs become more sensitive to strain and can go out with the slightest awkward movement or physical strain.

 

Lower back pain can range from mild discomfort to debilitating. Pain, stiffness, weakness, fatigue, inability to stand or sit for prolonged periods, and a sharp radiating pain to the buttocks and lower legs are just some of the symptoms of lower back problems.  Fortunately, through acupuncture, qi gong movements, herbs, and a proper diet and lifestyle, you can reduce or eliminate lower back pain.

 

Bones, the skeletal structure, and particularly the lower back, are part of the kidney-bladder network, according to Chinese medicine. Kidney energy tends to diminish as we age, more rapidly with unhealthy diet, excessive physical and mental strain, overindulgence in drugs and alcohol, and excessive sexual activity. Weakness of the kidney network can result in lower back pain as fatigue, and other symptoms well general weakness, of premature aging.

 

Replenishing kidney energy is difficult; it’s a slow process, but it is essential to preserve kidney energy. Reducing kidney depletion and even regenerating certain aspects of kidney energy is the path to resolving lower back pain. [4] [8] [9]

 

Lower back pain is one of the most common problems we treat at the Tao of Wellness Clinic. We use acupuncture and bodywork to reduce pain, and I work with my patients to identify and eliminate lifestyle and dietary factors that drain the kidney energy. I use herbs to support the healing process, ease inflammation, and relax muscle spasms. I also offer tailored stretching exercises to strengthen the lower back and strengthening exercises for the spine, abdomen, and lower back that don’t put the patient at risk of re-injury.

 

Related conditions: Arthritis, Sciatica

 

Here are some of my recommendations.

 

 

 

LOWER BACK STRETCH EXERCISES

I recommend Dao In Qi Gong exercises, which are similar to yoga –  gentle, less stressful on the body, and great to both strengthen and loosen up the lower back[14]. The lower back stretch movement called Immortal Imitating Butterfly Opening Its Wings is specifically targeted to the lower back. The instructions are challenging at first but worth the effort.

 

Prepare: Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and arms at yourDao-In exercise for lower back pain sides. Relax and breathe gently, rhythmically, and deeply, inhaling into the lower abdomen and exhaling fully. Stay in this position until your breath is calm and you are relaxed.
Begin with your left leg:

1. Inhale, and bend your left knee, folding your left leg up to your chest.

2. Exhale, and clasp your bent leg with both hands, interlacing your fingers above the kneecap. Your body should be relaxed, with your head remaining on the floor.

3. Inhale, and gently and slowly raise your head to meet your left knee. Reach as far as you feel comfortable - do not overreach or push yourself.

4. Exhale, and slowly lower your head. Your left leg should remain in the bent position, clasped by your hands.
Repeat the steps above for a total of 3 times.

5. Inhale and straighten your knee so that your leg is straight up, perpendicular to the floor.

6. Exhale and slowly lower the straightened leg to the floor.

 

Return to the beginning posture.

Repeat the exercise with your right leg.

1. Inhale and bend your right knee, folding your right leg up to your chest.

2. Exhale, and clasp the bent leg with both hands, interlacing your fingers above the kneecap. Your body should be relaxed with your head remaining on the floor.

3. Inhale, and gently and slowly raise your head to meet your right knee. Reach as far as you feel comfortable - do not overreach or push yourself.

4. Exhale, and slowly lower your head. Your right leg should remain in the bent position, clasped by your hands.

Repeat the steps above for a total of 3 times.

5. Inhale, and straighten your knee so that your leg is straight up, perpendicular to the floor.

6. Exhale, and slowly lower the straight leg to the floor.

Return to the beginning posture.

Now you’ll do the same movement with both legs together:

1. Inhale, and bend both knees, folding both legs up toward the chest.

2. Exhale, and clasp your bent legs with both hands, interlacing your fingers at the knees. Your body should be relaxed, with your head remaining on the floor.

3. Inhale, and gently and slowly raise your head to meet the knees. Reach as far as you feel comfortable - do not overreach or push yourself.

4. Exhale and slowly lower your head. Your legs should remain in the bent position, clasped by your hands.

Repeat the steps above for a total of 3 times.

5. Inhale, and place your hands on top of your kneecaps. Straighten your knees so that your legs are straight up, perpendicular to the floor.

6. Exhale, and bend your knees, keeping your hands on your kneecaps.

7. Inhale, and straighten your legs so that they’re again perpendicular to the floor.

8. Exhale, and gently lower your legs to the ground.

Return to the beginning posture.

Practice this exercise regularly, upon waking and before going to bed.

 

Research conclusively shows that exercise early in life builds bone mass and strengthens the skeletal structure, helping to prevent injury. Regular exercise as we age can slow the progress of degenerative bone disorders.[3] I recommend a combination of weight-bearing exercises in the form of 30- minute daily walks, moderate weight training to strengthen muscles and bones, and tai chi or qi gong to build endurance and flexibility.

During a bout of acute back pain, exercise may be difficult or too painful. Until you are mobile, bed rest is best.

 

 

 

SELF ACUPRESSURE FOR LOWER BACK PAIN

  1. Acupressure point 1 for lower back painFind the acupressure point Forceful Torrent (KID-3), 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.
  2. Find Acupressure point 2 for lower back painthe acupressure point Balance the Core (BL-40), located in the middle of the 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 the left leg.

 

 

 

 

HOME REMEDIES FOR LOWER BACK PAIN

  1. Epsom salt: Take a hot Epsom salt bath for 20 minutes a day until the pain is substantially reduced.
  2. Cherry-Grape Juice for lower back painIce: For acute back injury, apply an ice pack to the painful area 2 or 3 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time for the first 24 to 48 hours.
  3. Cherries and Grapes: Make a natural anti-inflammatory nonalcoholic cocktail by mixing equal parts of unsweetened black cherry juice with dark grape juice. Drink 3 to 6 glasses daily until the pain has eased.
  4. Calcium: Make a calcium broth by making an oxtail or thighbone stew cooked with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and ginger to strengthen bones and stimulate bone growth. Drink a large bowl of the broth daily for 1 month.[10]

 

 

 

DIET FOR LOWER BACK PAIN

  1. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and organic animal protein. The skeletal structure has additional nutritional requirements, as the bones are made of calcium and other minerals.
  2. saltwater fish and brocolli: diet for lower back painFoods high in calcium and vitamin D (required to enhance calcium absorption) include broccoli, chestnuts, clams, dark green vegetables, saltwater fish (such as flounder, salmon, and sardines), shrimp, mussels, and soybeans.
  3. Kidney beans, black beans, garlic, onions, kale, tempeh, pineapple, grapes, mulberries, anise seeds, cinnamon, cloves, almonds, walnuts, and prunes are also beneficial for the bones.
  4. Salt in small quantities can help strengthen the bones, but it should be used in moderation.[1]
  5. Avoid carbonated soft drinks, alcohol, and smoking. Yeast and sugars, especially processed, bleached sugars, should be eliminated as well.

 

 

 

 

DAILY VITAMINS FOR LOWER BACK PAIN

  1. Bromelain and B Complex for lower back painThe enzyme bromelain (500 milligrams) found in pineapple, is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help ease muscle and joint pain.
  2. Vitamin B complex and folate (400 micrograms) can be depleted from stress and pain, so supplementation can help ease symptoms.
  3. Glucosamine (1,000 milligrams), chondroitin sulfate (400 milligrams), and MSM (1,000 milligrams) taken together can help support healthy bones and joints.
  4. Calcium (1,000 milligrams), combined with magnesium citrate (500 milligrams), vitamin D (400 IU), and boron (3 milligrams), can help strengthen the bones.[11]

 

 

 

HERBAL THERAPY FOR LOWER BACK PAIN

Some herbs can be found online, others at the offices of Chinese medicine practitioners. Herbs should be used according to individual needs. For a customized formula consult with a licensed practitioner.

  1. Turmeric, white willow bark, and valerian work in conjunction to alleviate inflammation and pain.
  2. Black haw, wild yam, and Jamaican dogwood are good muscle relaxants, and devil’s claw and St.-John’s-wort have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.[13]
  3. arthritis pain herbal formulaTo relieve lower back pain and promote healthy function of joints, our traditional Chinese herb formula contains: Loranthus Stems & Leaves, Notopterygium Rhizome & Root, Large-leaf Gentian Root, Siler Root, Astragalus Root, Peach Seed Kernel, Safflower Flower, Corydalis Yanhusuo Tuber, Myrrh, Eucommia Bark, Achyranthes Root, Cassia Bark, Dong Quai Root, Ligusticum Wallichii Rhizome, Rehmannia Root, Chinese Peony Root, Chinese Lovage Root & Rhizome, Poria Root, Licorice Root & Rhizome.
  4. bone, tendon, ligament herbal formulaTo strengthen bones, tendons and ligaments, our traditional herbal formula contains Rehmannia Root Tuber, Dong Quai Root, Drynaria Rhizome, Siegesbeckia Stems & Leaves, Eleuthero Root & Rhizome, Sichuan Teasel Root, Eucommia Bark, Loranthus Stems & Leaves, Fo Ti Stems & Leaves and Astragalus Root.
  5. Other traditional Chinese herbs used for back pain and back health include angelica root, red peony, notoginseng, gastrodia, clematis, corydalis, myrrh, frankincense, and achyranthes.

 

 

 

 

LOWER BACK PAIN: WHAT TO AVOID

  1. Steroids, blood thinners, thyroid medication, diuretics, and aluminum-containing substances, which can deplete bone mass and speed up osteoporosis. Consult your doctor about alternatives.
  2. High doses of vitamin A (including retinol-A and the medication Acutane used for acne), which can speed up bone loss and weaken the back.
  3. Stress, worry, and tension, as they tighten the back muscles.
  4. Smoking and excessive use of coffee and alcohol, as they can deplete the body of vital nutrients needed for bone health. Coffee consumption can cause calcium to be excreted through the urine, and nicotine reduces blood flow to the spine.
  5. Excess sexual activity.

 

 

 

References:

  1. Balch, P.A. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 4th ed. New York: Avery, 2006.
  2. Beers, M.H., and R. Berkow, eds. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. 17th ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research, 1999.
  3. Benskey, D., and R. Barolet. Chinese Herbal Medicine Formulas and Strategies. Seattle: Eastland, 2000.
  4. Cherkin, D.C., D. Eisenberg, and K. J. Sherman, et al. 2001.  Randomized trial comparing traditional Chinese medical acupuncture, therapeutic massage, and self-care education for chronic low back pain. Arch. Intern. Med. 161:1081-88.
  5. Gruenwald, J ., T. Brendler, C. Jaenicke, et al., eds. PDRfor Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics, 1998.
  6. Kaatz, D. Characters of Wisdom: Taoist Tales of the Acupuncture Points. London: Petite Bergerie, 2005.
  7. Koopman, W. J ., ed. Arthritis and Allied Conditions. 13th ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1997.
  8. Smith, L., A. D. Oldman, H. J. McQuay, and R. A. Moore. 2000. Teasing apart quality and validity in systematic reviews: an example from acupuncture trials in chronic neck and back pain. Pain. 86:119-32.
  9. Snider, R.K., ed. Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon, 1997.
  10. Murray, M.T., and J. E. Pizzorno. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. 2nd ed. Rocklin, CA: Prima, 1998, 338.
  11. Levine, M., S.C. Rumsey, R. Daruwala, J.B. Park, and Y. Wang. 1999. Criteria and recommendations for vitamin C intake. JAMA 281(15):1415-53.
  12. Morrison, R. Desktop Guide to Keynotes and Confirmatory Symptoms. Albany, CA: Hahnemann Clinic, 1993, 36-39, 59-61.
  13. Mowrey, D. The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine. New Canaan, CT: Keats, 1986, 223-27.
  14. Ni, H. Attune Your Body with Dao In. Los Angeles: Seven Star, 1989.
  15. Ni, M. Chinese Herbology Made Easy. Los Angeles: Seven Star, 1986.
  16. --. The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine. Boston: Shambhala, 1995.
  17. Ni, M., and C. McNease. The Tao of Nutrition. Los Angeles: Seven Star, 1987.

 

 

 

©2015 Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Read Secrets of Self-Healing: Harness Nature's Power to Heal Common Ailments ... By Maoshing Ni

Natural Treatments And Remedies For:

This website is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The website user 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. The names of organizations, products and alternative therapies appearing in the content are again given for informational purposes only and not necessarily as an endorsement.

About Us                                                       Contact                                                    Privacy Policy

© Copyright 2016, Natural-Treatments-For.com, All rights reserved