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Upper and lower back pain

Most people suffer from upper or lower back pain at some time during their lives that needs treatment. The majority of backaches are not symptoms of serious disease, but are a variety of disturbances in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones or underlying organs. 70% of sufferers will have recovered within a week and over 90% within a month. Very few back problems become serious, however they are debilitating when they happen.

Vital to a healthy back are the midsection of the body, good posture, weight control, spinal alignment, rest and stress management.

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What causes upper or lower back pain?

The many underlying causes of upper or lower back pain may be one or several conditions, such as

  • Arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Infection and fever
  • Tumours
  • Weak stomach muscles
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Emotional tension or stress
  • Female problems
  • Gallstones lodged in the common bile duct
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Slipped or ruptured disks or other spinal cord injuries
  • Abnormal curvature of the spine
  • Disorders of the urinary system.
  • Muscle strain or sprain results from excessive or improper physical exertion, incorrect posture, sleeping on soft beds or incorrect lifting.
  • Obesity or simply carrying too much weight
  • Flat feet and unequal leg length are other factors that may be responsible for back pain. Muscles can contract together in spasms that are very painful

Back pain that is accompanied with fever or a headache should receive medical attention.

The spine is a very complex structure which is never still...

The slightest movement, including breathing, involves the spine. Man's upright posture puts additional stress on the neck and lumbar regions, which are the commonest sites of back pain.

Back pain may be sharp and sudden in onset, or an ache may develop gradually over several hours or overnight. There is often an obvious cause such as unaccustomed activity, or a strain during strenuous movement (lifting, digging, twisting the trunk), but back pains may come on without relation to any particular activity.

Treatment of acute attacks consists traditionally of rest, local heat and simple pain killers.

Treating back pain naturally...

Natural treatments that may help include:

Massage  - around the vertebrae is relaxing and relieves muscle tension

Relaxation techniques - will lessen pain and aid healing

Chiropractic or osteopathic treatment can also help

Natural pain killers -  include the herb White Willow, and the amino combination DL Phenylalanine.

Inflammation can also be relieved by the use of herbs such as Wild Yam, Turmeric, Boswellia and the herbal product Yucca. We always recommend a supplement of anti inflammatory oils in a combination such as Efamarine (contains fish oil and evening primrose oil).

If pain is severe enough to keep you on your back, or if it hasn't improved considerably in two or three days, consult your back care provider. Early treatment on your back often speeds recovery, and your back care provider will recommend exercises, postural correction and care in movements to prevent or reduce further back problems.

Certain nutrients are essential for maintaining a healthy back...

Protein is necessary for firm supporting tissue, however animal sources will contain uric acid and are best avoided until your back is healed.

Spirulina and chlorella are excellent natural sources of protein, as are soy products.

Magnesium is essential for the proper contraction of muscles in the body and a deficiency of this can cause muscles to become tense, which could lead to back problems. Magnesium Complex is a good supplement.

Nutritional and Herbal support for back pain includes:

DL Phenylalanine - extends the life of endorphins (natural pain killers) naturally occurring in the body.

Magnesium - Essential for neuromuscular system and connective tissue, especially bone. Essential for the proper contraction and relaxation of muscles in the body.

Turmeric and Boswellia, all treat inflammation.

You can get both herbs in the one product.
Pain Relief is our strongest natural anti inflammatory and pain reliever.

Mineral Power - a great mineral complex for the health of your bones. May be used to treat or retard the progression of Osteoporosis.

Glucosamine - essential for the health of your joints. Assists cartilage health and repair - useful for both osteo- and rheumatoid-arthritis

Some interesting points about upper and lower Back Pain

  • Avoid meat, animal protein products, gravy, oils, fats, sugar or rich highly-processed foods. These place an extra load on the kidneys, and increase the acid content of the body.
  • Drink 8 large glasses of water daily to avoid dehydration.
  • Apply heat to the sore area. Either by having a hot bath, or by using a heat pack. Reduce stress with effective relaxation techniques.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, the higher the heel of your shoes the greater the risk of backache.
  • Regular moderate exercise strengthens muscles. In particular your abdominal muscles are extremely important to protect your lower back.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. This lessens the strain on the spinal column and muscular system.
  • See an osteopath or a chiropractor. They can help to realign any spinal problem, that may contribute to back pain.
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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

If you need help or advice, please email our naturopathic team with your health question.  Please allow 48 hours for a response.

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