No one wants to deal with pesky back pain. If pain pills aren't helping your aching lumbar, you're not alone: Harvard Medical School reports that drugs such as acetaminophen don't actually relieve back pain any better than a placebo! What is science-proven to work? These simple natural tips from Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., and author of Pain- Free 1–2–3 ($5.95, Amazon) and Michelle Ebbin, author of The Touch Remedy: Hands-On Solutions to De-Stress Your Life ($19.41, Amazon). Read on for their expert hacks for fast back pain relief.
Walk Around the Block
The simplest prescription for back pain is to take a 20- to 40-minute walk a few times a week. “Back pain is usually caused by muscles being tight and shortened,” explains Dr. Teitelbaum. “Walking not only stretches muscles, it strengthens the back and abdominal muscles that support the spine, so they are less likely to seize up on you.”
In fact, research published in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation found walking to be just as effective at eliminating back pain as some forms of in-office physical therapy.
Release Your Tension
Back pain can trigger a vicious circle, as discomfort can cause the body to tense up, amping up your pain even more. Luckily, new Italian research finds that just 10 minutes spent practicing a simple relaxation technique can break the cycle, causing pain scores to plummet. “Progressive muscle relaxation is an easy process in which you tense a group of muscles as you breathe in, and then you relax those muscles as you breathe out,” explains Ebbin. “This eases physical tension responsible for chronic back pain.”
Try a free tutorial from this list.
Try a Comfrey Cream
British research reveals that folks who rubbed a comfrey cream (an ointment made from a perennial shrub native to Europe and some parts of Asia) on their backs decreased the intensity of their pain by 95 percent in five days. “A variety called traumaplant is so powerful that research has shown it to be even more effective than pain medications,” says Dr. Teitelbaum. Not all creams are created equal, however: He advises choosing one “free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids,” which are toxic to the liver, like Terry Naturally Traumaplant ($19.96, Amazon).
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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