Doctor Oz did a segment on back pain, what causes you to get a sore back, and what back pain home remedies and cures can you try? 9 out of 10 people who are 50 years old have had back pain before. In fact, back pain is the main cause for disability for people younger than 45 years old. From acupuncture to surgery, doctors try lots of methods to get rid of back pain. In America we spend the same amount on cancer treatments as we do on curing back pain!
Dr. Oz’s Top 3 Causes of Back Pain:
1. Spinal Problems – Herniated Disc
We have discs between our vertebrae which act like sponges to cushion and absorb shocks to our spine throughout the day. As you get older (or if you have an accident), you can get a herniated disc where the spongy cushions between your vertebrae move, which puts pressure on your nerves that run through your spine.
2. Spinal Problems – Sciatic Pain
If you have a herniated disc, it can put pressure on your sciatic nerve which can feel like a sharp shooting pain down your leg.
3. Spinal Problems – Arthritis & Spinal Stenosis
If you get osteoarthritis in your lower back, you can get a painful condition called Spinal Stenosis.
Back surgery (or any surgery for that matter) should always be the last option you turn to, because your spine is so complex and there are so many nerves in your spine, that back surgery can be extremely risky… plus Dr. Oz said that back surgery only works around 50% of the time! Here are some home back treatments that can minimize your back pain and work about 90% of the time!
Dr. Kevin Plancher said that before considering back surgery, you should get your stomach strong, stretch out your hamstrings and try lower back patches. Dr. Plancher said that if your quality of life is bad, you should talk to doctor about surgery. There are now Robotic back surgeries that let you get back to doing normal activity almost immediately.
Back Pain Home Remedies & Treatments:
1. Strengthen Your Stomach
If you strengthen your stomach, then your back muscles won’t have to do as much work and you will apply less pressure to your spine. You should try to do stomach crunches or the “plank” exercise for a few minutes every day. The “plank” exercise is where you lie flat on the floor on your stomach, push yourself up onto your forearms, and hold the position (making sure to keep your butt down!).
2. Try Medication
There are several over-the-counter medications that work as an anti-inflammatory, or you can get prescription medications to minimize the inflammation and back spasms.
3. Physical Therapy
Some people have found physical therapy to be great at building their back muscles.
4. Epidural Injections
Your doctor can do an epidural injection, which puts anti-inflammatory medication in the form of steroids directly into your spine.
Acupuncture is where a qualified person sticks many tiny needles into different pressure points on your body, and can help back pain. In fact, a study done in 2009 by the Archives of Internal Medicine found that acupuncture relieved back pain more than other more “traditional” medical approaches.
Peggy Brill, author of Instant Relief: Tell Me Where It Hurts and I’ll Tell You What to Do and The Core Program: Fifteen Minutes a Day That Can Change Your Life, discussed the effect of emotional stress on back pain.
Dr. Oz said that if you have tried all of these back pain home remedies, and they don’t work for you – or if you have a shooting pain that starts in your lower back and goes to your knee or feet (often seen with numbness or tingling sensations) – or you really cannot live with the pain any more – then you should consult a back surgeon about the option of back surgery.
Back Pain From Emotional Stress
Did you know that when you are stressed out, you can add tension to your lower back, which can be a very painful back problem.
Back Pain Home Remedies & Treatments for Emotional Stress:
By exercising, you will get rid of your stress and build up your back muscles.
2. Apply Ointment
3. Willow Bark
Willow Bark comes from the same root as aspirin, but it often works better than pain medication or actual aspirin.
4. Get a Massage
I will definitely be sending this article to my husband! Massages can remove tension in your shoulders and back and will improve your blood flow (and thus the oxygen levels) to the area. Dr. Oz brought Alexa Zaledonis, a Thai masseuse, on his show to explain the benefits of Thai massage, because it helps to stretch your body which teaches you how to relax and get rid of your back pain.
Daily Tips to Cure & Prevent Back Pain:
1. No High Heels
If you wear 3″ heels, then you are putting 7 times the amount of pressure on your feet than if you wear flat shoes, which can ruin your posture and thus also hurt your spinal alignment. Dr. Oz said that 50% of women who wear high heels hurt their foot, which often causes back problems.
2. No Heavy Bags or Thick Wallets
If you carry a bag that is over 10% of your body weight (usually around 16 pounds), then you can also strain the muscles in your back and throw off your posture. Men also should be careful of fat wallets, which can throw off their balance between the spine and pelvis, and can actually add to arthritis in this area!
If you drive over 4 hours a day, your risk of getting back problems is 6 times greater than if you drive less than 2 hours a day.
If you have a job that requires you to sit a lot (like an office job or a job where you use a computer a lot), then you have a higher chance of getting back problems than if you are active at work.
If you slouch or have bad posture, you could be putting 100 pounds of extra stress on your lower back! Sit up and walk straight!
If you are lifting something, especially if it is heavy, do not bend or twist while picking it up! If you bend or twist while lifting something heavy, the discs in your spine have no support and can move and cause pinched nerves.
Back Pain Changes to Make Today!
1. Wear Pumps & Flat Shoes
Do not ever wear shoes with a heel that is 3 inches or higher!
2. Clean Your Bag Out Daily
Look through your bag or purse every day to remove things you do not need to be carrying around. Also, switch which shoulder you carry your bag on throughout the day. And if you are carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder, try to balance it by carrying another heavy bag on the other shoulder. Other ideas are to use Healthy Backpacks that are healthy for your back or Messenger Bags.
3. Keep Wallet Under 1/4 Inches Thick
Remove receipts, trade small bills for big bills and minimize credit cards so that your wallet is 1/4″ thick or smaller.
4. Take Driving Breaks
If you are driving long distances, stretch and walk around every hour and half.
5. Get Up and Move!
If you sit most of the day and work at a desk, stretch and move every 20-30 minutes. You can do something simple like put your hands on your waist and lean back until you feel a nice stretch.
6. Create a Healthy Workstation
Did you know that most chairs are meant for men 5’10″ who weigh 180 pounds? You can put a Lumbar Roll behind your back (or a slightly inflated beach ball) to give you extra lower back support. Your feet should touch firmly on the floor. Keep your computer monitor one arm’s length away from you. Use a head set if you talk on the phone a lot.
7. Lift With Your Knees
When you lift something heavy, keep your back straight and lift with your knees (do NOT turn!!)
8. Stretch Out – Butterfly Stretch
By doing the butterfly stretch, you will strengthen your spine and help prevent back pain. Lay down on the floor on your stomach (put a pillow underneath your tummy). Roll up a towel and rest your forehead on the towel. Keeping your elbows at 90 degree angles, squeeze back your shoulder blades and lift your chest up off of the floor. Hold the position for 3-6 seconds and repeat. You should try to get to 3 sets of 5-10 repetitions of the butterfly stretch.