A sore, achy back is a very common ailment. In fact, 75% to 85% of Americans experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. 1 Back pain can occur for a number of reasons, but the most common causes are structural problems such as disc injuries, or excessive strain. 2
Fortunately, there are a number of simple, at-home approaches that can help alleviate back pain. If you experience an achy back on a regular basis, try the following natural remedies.
If you do not see an improvement from at-home treatments and wish to determine the root cause of your back pain, speak to a naturopathic doctor to come up with a treatment plan. NDs use manipulation, acupuncture, anti-inflammatory botanicals and nutrition, and help assess ergonomics, body mechanics, and stress in order to find a solution for chronic back pain. Some NDs also specialize in regenerative medicine, which can be beneficial for back pain in some cases.
Many people who experience chronic back pain find that massage therapy is an effective treatment. Deep tissue massage, in particular, is known for its positive effects on back and neck pain. 3 4 Deep tissue massage is a type of full-body massage where the massage therapist applies deep pressure in order to relax the tension and work through knots in your muscles.
Yoga is a great way to reduce muscle tension and improve alignment, which helps to relieve pain. One study even found that, in some cases, yoga can be just as effective as physical therapy for reducing moderate-to-severe chronic lower back pain. 5 There are plenty of free yoga video tutorials available online that you can follow along with at home, or try joining a local community yoga class. Yoga therapists can help with more targeted treatment as well.
A common cause of back pain is poor posture. Poor posture puts added pressure on the spine, which leads to strain, damage, and pain over time. 6 Be mindful of your posture and make sure that you have an ergonomic workstation set up. For example, if you work at a computer all day, make sure that your screen is at eye level and try using a standing desk to reduce slouching.
Back pain can worsen if you have the wrong sleep surface. Studies show that a medium-firm mattress is best for those with back pain. 7 Make sure that your mattress is right for you and choose an ergonomic pillow made for your preferred sleep position (side, back, or stomach). You can also sleep with a pillow placed under your knees to help reduce pressure on your spine and improve alignment.
People carry their stress and tension in different ways. For some, this can manifest in tight neck, shoulder, and back muscles. NDs will help determine the root cause of back pain and lead you to a treatment plan that will hopefully provide long-standing relief.