“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” – Anonymous

Back pain can poke at you daily or incapacitate you from a simple action such as a sneeze or cough. It accounts as one of the major reason for individuals under the age of 45 to withhold physical activity, is the second cause of a doctor’s office visit, the third leading reason for surgery and the fifth common requirement for hospitalization. Even race can be a factor regarding back problems. According to The National Insitute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS),

“African American women, for example, are two to three times more likely than white women to develop spondylolisthesis, a condition in which a vertebra of the lower spine-also called the lumbar spine-slips out of place.”

Loss of productivity and 30% to 40% of workplace absences are due to back pain. This has prompted some countries to set up programs to combat this affliction. In Australia and England for instance, the Health and Safety’s Better Back Campaign has created public awareness on types of back pain and remedies for each.

Pain in different locations on the spine, can mean different things. It can indicate more serious conditions besides muscular and skeletal challenges. These may include problems with the kidneys, liver, appendix, std’s, mental stress and more. Medications for spine pain, whether muscular or structural, do not often deal with specifically located discomfort.

Step Out and Tune In
Confronting back pain, through Naturopathic Medicine is to choose to tailor specific remedies to specific pain. It can also be a proactive approach that staves off an otherwise foreseeable future challenge. From chronic to acute pain, there are immediate natural remedies that can be administered and taught.

Water
Something as simple as hydrating your body with clean, filtered water may be all you need to get up and running again. A large percentage of Americans are dehydrated. When muscles do not receive enough nutrients and oxygenated blood due to low water intake, they will soon call for help. These calls can manifest as an initial tap of pain, an aching pound or a full blown seizing of the muscle. Cramps, spasms, stabbing and hardening are all possible signs of dehydration. Six to eight glasses of eight ounces of water per day is the general recommendation.  Many studies suggest that you drink water before you are actually thirsty. When thirst occurs your body is most likely already dehydrated. In addition, many people think they are hydrating when they simply drink liquids such as soda, fruit juice or coffee. This is untrue as the actual water content in these products is not as beneficial as if directly consumed.  Soft drinks and coffee actually dehydrate you while simultaneously zapping your body of beneficial nutrients and minerals. When attempting a transition from reaching for processed beverages and choosing water instead, try adding wedges of lemon, lime, orange and even peach to enhance the taste. Also, the body optimally assimilates water consumption when it is room temperature. This may take some getting used to at first but in the long run it can be something you yearn for. Speak to your Naturopathic Doctor for suggestions on water consumption as well as filtration systems that best fit your budget and health concerns.

Breath
Shallow breathing means low oxygenation which in turn affects muscle health. Like dehydration, the muscles will let you know when they need more oxygen. To avoid this painful alarm you can work on proper breathing techniques with your Naturopathic Doctor. These techniques can also enhance alertness and increase energy.

Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM)
Yao Tong is the CCM definition for the most common pain which targets the lumbar or lower region of the back. Although keeping with the CCM practice of ‘whole body approach’, lower back pain accounts for almost 40% of the entire spectrum when assessing a patient’s concern. CCM considers one of the major causes of back pain to be blood stagnation. Blood stagnation can result from trauma, heavy lifting or sports injury. It can, however, be substantially alleviated with the proper remedies.

Meridians and Materia Medica
Acupuncture and homeopathy is an excellent twofold approach for chronic and especially acute back pain. Acupuncture points associated with wind, heat and dampness open stuck qi and within days to weeks can eliminate discomfort. Points may be administered at the actual site as well as other locations like the inner groin where the iliopsoas muscle, also known as The Great Pretender, resides. This muscle has gained its reputation for tightening and pulling on the lower back and never being treated due to its intimate, inconspicuous location. Other helpful points on either side of the spine are BL 23, 25, 28 and DU (Governing Vessel) 2-8

As the meridians are opening and releasing through acupuncture; homeopathy’s materia medica addresses the deep vibration that may also be impeding a healthy back.

  • Pellet remedies: arnica montana (arnica cream is a good topical solution as well), bryonia, rhus tox, ignatia and ruta
  • Cell salts: mag phos – spasms; calc fluor – elasticity; calc carb – low back and calc phos – stiffness

Herbs and other extracts such as fruits and berries can be used for back pain as well. These remedies may include:

  • bromelain, cherry juice, rosemary, valeria, licorice – anti-inflammatory
  • feverfew, willow bark, burdock root – pain relief
  • extracts of mustard seed, peppermint and spearmint – topical pain relief
  • angelica, cramp bark, celery seed, black haw – antispasmodic/muscle relaxant

Prevent or relieve back pain and schedule your naturopathic or acupuncture
appointment with Dr. Fred Lisanti of Integrative Med Solutions (IMS). It’s with the intention of inspiration and integrity that our highly trained doctor creates customized health plans that synergize the best of healing arts with contemporary natural medical science. IMS is located in
Eastchester, Westchester County, New York with close proximity to New York City (close to the Metro North railroad Tuckahoe stop), Southern Connecticut, and parts of New Jersey. Please call us at 914.337.2980 to make an appointment or feel free to email appointment queries.

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