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Soothe Your Aching Back: How 5 Natural Remedies for Back Pain Can Help

12 June 2023

Key Points

  • Back pain is a major cause of disability in the UK. It can be caused by many things, from a slipped disc to poor posture, injury and inflammation.
  • Current treatment for back pain may include the use of prescription medications. While effective for short-term use, they can be expensive and don’t always provide long-term relief.
  • Back pain treatment is an area in which natural remedies are growing in popularity due to their safety and effectiveness. Some alternative therapies include physical therapy, hot and cold therapy, and medical cannabis.
  • Medical cannabis may address many of the underlying causes of back pain. Furthermore, it may also help alleviate comorbid symptoms such as sleep issues and reliance on medication.

Back pain is one of the most common ailments in the world. In the UK alone, over 2.5 million people suffer from back pain on a daily basis. The cost of clinical visits to treat the condition is estimated at around £12.3 billion annually.

The causes of back pain vary from person to person and can be attributed to a variety of factors. Lifestyle issues such as bad posture, physical trauma, accidents or even poor sleeping habits can all result in back pain. In some cases, back pain is caused by inflammation from pre-existing conditions such as arthritis or spondylolisthesis.

Treatment for back pain may include the intake of painkillers, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants and antidepressants. However, prescription medication can have side effects.

Natural alternatives are gaining popularity because they can be less invasive, plus they have fewer side effects than traditional medical treatments. From age-old practices like yoga to herbal supplements and medical cannabis, various options exist for those looking to alleviate their back pain.

At Lyphe, we help patients find a holistic treatment plan for their specific condition. Our medical cannabis experts have extensive experience treating pain conditions, including back pain. Book an appointment today to learn more about our medical cannabis treatments.

1. Medical Cannabis

In recent years, medical cannabis has gained significant attention as a potential alternative to traditional pain management methods. With the opioid crisis making headlines, patients and healthcare providers alike are seeking safer, non-addictive options to treat chronic pain conditions. Medical cannabis may offer significant relief for those suffering from back pain and other therapeutic benefits.

How does medical cannabis work for back pain?

The human body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that plays a vital role in regulating various physiological processes, including pain and inflammation. The ECS consists of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) distributed throughout the body, which respond to cannabinoids – the active compounds found in cannabis.

Medical cannabis contains two primary cannabinoids:

  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive component responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis. Studies suggest THC contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help with chronic pain conditions.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive component that’s been shown to have numerous therapeutic and medicinal properties.

When medical cannabis is consumed, THC and CBD interact with the ECS by binding to its receptors. In the context of back pain, these effects primarily involve reducing inflammation and altering pain signals transmitted to the brain.

Medical cannabis contains anti-inflammatory properties for back pain

One of the primary causes of back pain is inflammation, which can result from various conditions such as muscle strain, slipped discs or arthritis. Medical cannabis, particularly CBD, has been shown to possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce swelling and pain in affected areas.

A clinical report published in the Journal of Opioid Management found that a topical cream containing CBD helped two patients find relief from both acute and chronic back pain. Though the mechanism behind this effect is not entirely understood, the clinicians involved believed that CBD had anti-inflammatory effects on the patients.

The role of the ECS in regulating inflammation has been well-documented, with many studies showing that CB1 and CB2 receptors are involved in regulating immune responses such as those that occur during injury or infection. This gives medical cannabis potent anti-inflammatory properties, helping reduce swelling and pain in affected areas.

Medical cannabis may help relieve lower back pain and reduce the need for opioids

Both THC and CBD have analgesic properties, meaning they can help alleviate pain by interacting with the ECS. Studies have shown that medical cannabis can be effective in relieving various types of pain that are associated with back issues, including:

  • Neuropathic (nerve-related)
  • Nociceptive (injury or inflammation-related)
  • Inflammatory pain.

In a 2022 systematic review published in the Global Spine Journal, researchers concluded that medical cannabis is an effective treatment for back pain. The review also highlighted the acceptable side effect profile of cannabis use for back pain, as opposed to prescription medications.

A 2020 systematic review underscores the potential of cannabis as an analgesic for lower back pain. The review suggests that cannabis has clinical applications that could help reduce the reliance of patients on prescription medications like addictive opioids.

Medical cannabis may help muscles relax

Muscle tension and spasms can contribute to back pain and discomfort. Medical cannabis has demonstrated muscle relaxant properties, which can help alleviate muscle stiffness and spasms. Those who suffer from conditions such as muscle strains or spasms related to spinal cord injuries may find great relief in this lower back pain relief option.

Medical cannabis may help improve sleep quality

Chronic back pain can often disrupt sleep patterns, leading to fatigue and reduced quality of life. Medical cannabis has been shown to improve sleep quality in some patients by reducing pain and promoting relaxation, allowing for more restful and restorative sleep.

Things to consider before trying medical cannabis for back pain relief

While medical cannabis shows promise as a natural alternative for back pain relief, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before trying it as a treatment option. Dosage, strain selection and method of consumption can vary depending on individual needs and the specific cause of back pain.

Lastly, consider getting your prescription from a reputable source – especially if you’re trying to avoid over-the-counter medications. There are many online retailers that sell all kinds of cannabis products, but it’s important to do your research to find a trustworthy source.

As the UK’s leading medical cannabis pioneer, Lyphe is committed to helping people find relief from back pain and other medical conditions. We make the process of getting your prescription easy and reliable, so you can focus on getting the treatment you deserve. Book an appointment with one of our experts today to learn more about how medical cannabis can help you find relief from upper and lower back pain.

2. Anti-inflammatory Herbs

Herbal supplements and topical medications can help with back pain by providing natural anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Some examples include the following:

  • White willow bark has been known to alleviate acute back pain, joint pain and osteoarthritis.
  • Capsaicin from chilli peppers can be used topically to relieve muscle pain and inflammation.
  • Turmeric is a common ingredient in many Indian dishes and has been shown to improve joint pain.
  • Peppermint oil can be applied topically to reduce pain perception.

Herbal supplements can offer natural alternatives for back pain relief. However, they may come with some side effects and risks. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using them, especially if you’re taking other medications.

3. Hot and Cold Therapy

Hot and cold therapy are methods of applying heat or cold to the body to alleviate pain and promote healing. Heat therapy helps reduce pain by relaxing and loosening tense muscles, promoting blood flow and delivering nutrients to the affected area.

On the other hand, cold therapy effectively reduces inflammation, bruising and swelling associated with muscle injuries. This method works by constricting blood vessels, which can help minimise tissue damage and numb the affected area to reduce discomfort.

Both hot and cold therapies may be beneficial for back pain relief, depending on the cause and nature of the pain. Cold therapy is recommended for acute pain or pain resulting from sudden injuries, while heat therapy is more suitable for chronic pain or pain caused by muscle tension and stiffness.

4. Movement Therapy

Movement therapy, also known as exercise therapy, uses targeted physical activity to improve mobility, strength and overall functioning. For individuals with back pain, movement therapy may include exercises focusing on strengthening core muscles and improving range of motion. In fact, regular exercise can reduce the frequency of recurring back pain attacks by almost half.

Yoga

Yoga can help manage back pain by stretching and strengthening the muscles that support the back and spine. These include the paraspinal muscles, the multifidus muscles, and the transverse abdominis in the abdomen, which helps stabilise the spine.

According to the American College of Physicians, yoga is recommended as a first-line treatment for chronic lower back pain. A review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews suggests that yoga performed regularly within three to six months may moderately improve non-specific back pain. Additionally, yoga can help reduce stress that often accompanies the condition.

Pilates

Pilates is a type of physical exercise designed to improve muscle tone, flexibility and strength throughout the body. It can also help heal injuries and improve chronic issues like back pain. Pilates provides a full-body workout that strengthens core support for the back, teaches good alignment and provides gentle stretches for tight back muscles.

One systematic review suggests that Pilates had the fastest effects on lower back pain compared to other physical interventions. To get more lasting results and reduce the frequency of flare-ups, it is recommended to get two or three Pilates workouts per week.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art practice that involves slow, gentle movements and deep breathing. It has been shown to help ease back pain by:

  • Strengthening the core muscles of the back and abdomen
  • Improving posture
  • Increasing flexibility and balance.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, tai chi is an effective self-care option for those who experience lower back pain. Research also suggests that this method may help reduce pain in people with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis – two conditions commonly associated with back pain.

5. Dietary Changes

Back pain caused by inflammation may improve with dietary changes that address the underlying cause of symptoms. A 2022 study published in Applied Nursing Research found that a pro-inflammatory diet made middle-aged persons more prone to inflammation. A pro-inflammatory diet normally consists of high consumption of processed meat, eggs, sweetened beverages and refined grains.

An anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce swelling and pain and improve mobility. The diet is ideally low in sugar, processed foods and refined carbs. For example, a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fish has been shown to reduce inflammation.

Instead of going for processed grains, consider the following options:

  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Wheat.

Additionally, red meat should be avoided as it contains the substance neu5gc (N-Glycolylneuraminic acid). Neu5gc has been shown to promote inflammatory responses, possibly contributing to worsening back pain symptoms.

Conclusion – Natural Back Pain Relief

Various natural remedies and lifestyle changes can make a significant impact on alleviating back pain. From the anti-inflammatory benefits of an improved diet to the therapeutic properties of medical cannabis, these lower back pain treatments offer a holistic way to address the root causes of back pain and promote overall well-being.

Before trying any new natural remedy, always consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it’s safe and appropriate for your specific needs. They can guide you in making informed decisions and effectively incorporating these natural remedies into your pain management plan.

Integrate these home remedies for back pain with conventional treatments when necessary. By doing so, you can create a comprehensive and personalised strategy for managing your back pain. Embrace the healing power of alternative treatments, and take control of your back to enjoy a more comfortable, active and fulfilling life.

Let Lyphe help you get the relief from back pain that you deserve. Our medical cannabis experts will work with you to develop a customised treatment plan to help you manage back pain and other conditions. Book a call today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you get rid of back pain naturally?

Stretching, exercise and heat and cold packs are some ways to alleviate back pain naturally. Medical cannabis, herbal remedies and even stress management can address underlying inflammation triggers for back pain.

What is the best herbal treatment for back pain?

Several herbs have been shown to help ease back pain, including white willow bark, Boswellia, medical cannabis, turmeric and ginger. However, it’s important to note that these herbal treatments may interact with other medications.

What is the fastest way to relieve back pain?

The fastest way to relieve back pain depends on the underlying cause. Some common first aids for quick relief from back pain are exercise, massage and heat therapy.

What drink is good for back pain?

Studies suggest that tart cherry juice can help combat inflammation and muscle pain, which could benefit individuals experiencing back pain. Other infused-herbal drinks, such as ginger-green tea, can also potentially provide pain-relieving benefits.

What foods should I avoid with back pain?

If you are experiencing back pain, it is best to avoid red meat and foods with chemicals. Red meat contains a substance called neu5gc that promotes inflammation, which can worsen back pain.

References

Eskander, J. P., Spall, J., Spall, A., Shah, R. V., & Kaye, A. D. (2020). Cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment of acute and chronic back pain: A case series and literature review. J Opioid Manag, 16(3), 215-8.

Hebert, P. R., Barice, E. J., & Hennekens, C. H. (2014). Treatment of Low Back Pain: The Potential Clinical and Public Health Benefits of Topical Herbal Remedies. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(4), 219-220. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2013.0313

Hself. (2022, May 5). How your diet may be causing back pain. Physician Partners of America | Pain Relief Centers in Texas & Florida. https://www.physicianpartnersofamerica.com/health-news/health-wellness/how-your-diet-may-be-causing-back-pain

Lucas First, William Douglas, Behnum Habibi, Jaspal Ricky Singh, and Michael T. Sein.Cannabis Use and Low-Back Pain: A Systematic Review.Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.Dec 2020.283-289.http://doi.org/10.1089/can.2019.0077

NHS. (n.d.). Back Pain. NHS choices. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/

Price, R. L., Charlot, K. V., Frieler, S., Dettori, J. R., Oskouian, R., & Chapman, J. R. (2022). The efficacy of cannabis in reducing back pain: A systematic review. Global Spine Journal, 12(2), 343–352. https://doi.org/10.1177/21925682211065411

Shin, D., Hong, S. J., Lee, K. W., Shivappa, N., Hebert, J. R., & Kim, K. (2022). Pro-inflammatory diet associated with low back pain in adults aged 50 and older. Applied Nursing Research, 66, 151589. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apnr.2022.151589

Solan, M. (2018, April 30). Yoga for people with back pain. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/yoga-and-back-pain-2018041413652

Wieland, L. S., Skoetz, N., Pilkington, K., Vempati, R., D’Adamo, C. R., & Berman, B. M. (2017). Yoga treatment for chronic non-specific low back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2017(1). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd010671.pub2

Yamato, T. P., Maher, C. G., Saragiotto, B. T., Hancock, M. J., Ostelo, R. W., Cabral, C. M., Menezes Costa, L. C., & Costa, L. O. (2015). Pilates for low back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2015(7). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd010265.pub2

Author: Bojan
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Bojan Ambrus, Head of Marketing & Digital Product at Lyphe Group, is a data-driven growth marketing professional with over 15 years of rich experience. His background includes roles such as Head of Marketing at Vaping.com and growth marketing roles in various enterprises, startups, and scale-ups. His expertise in building and positioning businesses is particularly valuable in the cannabis sector, where he navigates its complexities and regulatory challenges. His strategic marketing insights make Bojan a key player in shaping Lyphe Group's marketing and digital product strategies.

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