The Most Important Skills
You Must Learn
In Order to Overcome Back Pain
Did you develop back pain in the military?
Here is how you can help relieve back pain and begin your road to recovery
Did you know…?
Almost everyone has back pain at some point in his or her lives. According to the National Institutes of Health, back pain is the second most common neurological disorder in the United States—only headache is more common.
If you have back pain, the first step is to be properly assessed by your primary care provider. Back pain has many causes, from muscle strain to more serious conditions such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, spondylosisthesis, osteoporosis, or a tumor, so it is important to find out what is causing the back pain.
Research: A study conducted at Sheffield University in the United Kingdom looked at the long-term symptom reduction and economic benefits of acupuncture for persistent low back pain. Averages of eight acupuncture treatments were given to 159 people, while 80 people received usual care instead.
After one year, people receiving acupuncture had reduced pain and reported a significant reduction in worry about their pain compared to the usual care group. After two years, the acupuncture group was significantly more likely to report that the past year had been pain-free. They were less likely to use medication for pain relief.
How does acupuncture work?
According to traditional Chinese medicine, pain results from blocked energy along energy pathways of the body, which are unblocked when acupuncture needles are inserted along these invisible pathways.
A scientific explanation is that acupuncture releases natural pain-relieving opioids, sends signals that calm the sympathetic nervous system, and releases neurochemicals and hormones.
An acupuncture treatment generally costs between $60 and $120. Acupuncture is tax-deductible (it is considered a medical expense) and some insurance plans pay for acupuncture.
If you want to try acupuncture, plan to go one to three times a week for several weeks initially.
Capsaicin Cream: Although you may not have heard of capsaicin (pronounced cap-SAY-sin) before, if you have ever eaten a chili pepper and felt your mouth burn, you know exactly what capsaicin does. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers.
When it is applied to the skin, capsaicin has been found to deplete substance P--a neurochemical that transmits pain--causing an analgesic effect.
Research: In one double-blind study, 160 people were treated with capsaicin for 3 weeks, while another 160 people used a placebo. After 3 weeks, pain was reduced by 42% in the capsaicin group compared to 31% in the placebo group. Investigators rated capsaicin significantly more effective than placebo.
Dosages:Capsaicin cream, also called capsicum cream, is available in drug stores, health food stores, and online. A typical dosage is 0.025% capsaicin cream applied four times a day. The most common side effect is a stinging or burning sensation in the area.
If possible, wear disposable gloves (available at drugstores) before applying the cream. Be careful not to touch the eye area or open skin. A tube or jar of capsaicin cream typically costs between $8 and $25.
- Capsaicin cream profile
- Vitamin D
Chronic muscle pain can be a symptom of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is found in fish with small bones, fortified milk and cereal, and exposure to sunlight.
Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency are:
· darker pigmented skin (e.g. Hispanic, African American, Asian) does not convert UV rays efficiently to vitamin D
· digestive disorders, such as celiac disease
· use of glucocorticoid medications for conditions such as lung diseases and allergies
· minimal sun exposure (elderly, institutionalized, homebound, veiled or heavily-clothed individuals)
· latitude and season - for example, people in Boston do not produce vitamin D from sun exposure between November and February
Research: A study by the University of Minnesota looked at the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in 150 people with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Researchers found that 93% of patients had vitamin D deficiency. All people with darker pigmented skin (African American, East African, Hispanic, and Native American origin) had vitamin D deficiency.
Another interesting finding was that the majority of people with severe vitamin D deficiency were under 30 years of age. Season was not a significant factor.
The researchers concluded that all people with persistent, non-specific musculoskeletal pain should be screened for vitamin D deficiency.
Music therapy is a low-cost natural therapy that has been found to reduce the disability, anxiety, and depression associated with chronic pain.
A study evaluated the influence of music therapy in hospitalized patients with chronic back pain. Researchers randomized 65 patients to receive, on alternate months, physical therapy plus four music therapy sessions or physical therapy alone.
Music therapy significantly reduced disability, anxiety, and depression. Music had an immediate effect on reducing pain, although the results were not statistically significant.
Vitamin B12 has been found to relieve low back pain. A double-blind Italian study examined the safety and effectiveness of vitamin B12 for low back pain. People who received vitamin B12 showed a statistically significant reduction in pain and disability. They also used less pain medication than the placebo group.
Besides pain, other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are numbness and tingling, irritability, mild memory impairment, and depression.
Risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency are:
· pernicious anemia
· medications (stomach acid-blocking medications)
· inadequate intake of meat or dairy products
· infection (small intestine bacterial overgrowth, parasites)
· Digestive diseases (stomach removal surgery, celiac disease, Crohn's disease
Vitamin B12 muscle injections are the standard treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency.
Studies have found vitamin B12 sublingual tablets (placed under the tongue for absorption) and nasal gels are effective.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:
- muscle spasms
- premenstrual syndrome
- irritability, depression
- insulin resistance
- high blood pressure
- irregular heart rhythms
- heart disease
Research: A German study found that mineral supplements increased intracellular magnesium levels by 11% and was associated with a reduction in pain symptoms in 76 out of 82 people with chronic low back pain.
Alternative medicine has become extremely popular worldwide. Long-term use of medications can cause wear and tear on your body and in some cases, it can harm the body, if you can avoid using medications and cure it naturally – you are better off.