As we’ve evolved as a species, a number of new physical ailments have arisen as an unintended result of our lifestyle upgrades.
But there’s nothing new about back pain. This chronic problem will affect 85% of human beings in their lifetime and has been around since the beginning of our existence. How do we know?
Because there are a number of effective remedies for it that date back to ancient times. Although, the cause of back pain in the old world probably had nothing to do with sitting at a desk, hunched over a computer all day…
Did you know that back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work? In fact, it is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office (next to upper-respiratory infections).
The good news is that in most cases, this pain is mechanical in nature – and is not caused by a serious medical condition.
Today, I’m going to give you 5 remedies for back pain, each from different schools of natural medicine, that you can put into practice right now. (I know, for us Americans, we’re shaking off the cobwebs after a long Thanksgiving weekend, but there’s probably no better time to give your body a little attention!)
When checking out the remedies below, it’s important to be willing to move out of your comfort zone. Some of these exercises and herb preparations may seem unusual or “not you”, but when we’re trying to make a shift in our reality, we sometimes need to venture into uncharted territory.
Let’s dive in!
1) Hip Circles
How good of a dancer are you? The greats all know that the secret to moving fluidly with grace, flexibility, and style is all in your hips. Yet most of us are blocked there, not using our hips and pelvis the way the were meant to be.
If you spend a few minutes making a full circle with your hips, pushing your butt out farther than it feels appropriate to, and rolling around to push your front out, in a hula-hoop motion, there can often be a huge release of lower back pain.
This may feel a little quirky or uncomfortable for the lumberjacks out there, but I promise there is magic in this motion.
Hip circles show up in a variety of different cultures stemming back thousands of years, whether it’s in traditional dance, stretching, or meditation practices.
It takes a little technique, so we’ve included 5 pictures below (compliments of Tristan Truscott) that show us this hip circle movement beautifully:
*I listed hip circles first because I’ve personally found them to have an immediate and positive impact on any lower back pain that I might be experiencing. It might take a couple of times around to really start feeling into the stretch, but when you do, oh boy. There are muscles in there that never get worked and it feels wonderful.
2) Comfrey Root
This herb has been used since Roman times and beyond for its anti-inflammatory effects. It was and still is turned to in folk medicine across Europe to treat muscle sprains, strains, and pulls.
The most popular comfrey preparation for back pain is in the form of an ointment. Scientific research shows that moderate doses of comfrey applied directly to the affected muscles can lower pain significantly.
This remedy comes with a warning though – make sure you get your comfrey from a reputable source because some strains contain potentially toxic alkaloids.
ALSO: this treatment can have negative side effects if used extensively over a long period of time, so keep usage to no more than 10 days in a row.
I know, we’re always hearing about yoga in the alternative health world, but it’s for good reason. This ancient art has been proven to benefit all types of health challenges – including back pain.
According to Mercola.com, “People suffering from low-back pain who took one yoga class a week had greater improvements in function than those receiving medicine or physical therapy.”
If you visit The Yoga Journal, they have a specific page with various poses that may be helpful for back pain.
4) Hot / Cold
I recently shared an article entitled “What Being Naked In The Snow Taught Me” that was about my wintery rite of passage with a shaman a few years ago. I am not suggesting that you run out and try that for your back pain, BUT the power of hot and cold should never be underestimated.
Used in the right proportion, controlled hot and cold therapy is proven to be very effective in treating a variety of muscle pain, including back pain.
For most people with back pain, doctors recommend using cold for the first 48 hours — and then switching to heat.
You can go as basic or sophisticated as you’d like. I’ve used a bag of cold peas before, in place of the pricey synthetic Velcro ice wraps. You can do the same with heat – sometimes a simple hot bath with epsom salts can work wonders.
A quick warning – ice therapy should be avoided by folks with rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud’s Syndrome, cold allergic conditions, paralysis, or areas of impaired sensation.
5) Rest and Time
According to studies, about 90% of back pain episodes will dissipate over time. What matters most is that you allow yourself some time to put your feet up and relax. The hidden beauty of functional aches and pains is that they remind us that we need to love and care for ourselves, looking out for our body’s needs.
This is your time to do that. Let your loved ones know that you need a little space to take care of yourself. If they argue, well, send them to us for a little lesson on compassion 🙂
One last bit of general healing wisdom before I go:
Many times, the physical symptoms we’re experiencing are linked to patterns of thought and corresponding behavior that are not serving us. The way we think about ourselves and the reality around us can actually affect our posture and other points of our physiology. So while we’re taking self care measures externally, we should also be working with some sort of meditative practice to bring peace and clarity internally.
Director, The Sacred Science
Just go see a chiropractor!
Chiropractor is good if you can find a good one but you still need to change your lifestyle or it won’t do you any good.
Go deliberately slow with hip circles at first, emphasising the stretch and feeling the movement in your body. Be sure to do it in both directions “Your hips don’t lie”
While listening to the Holistic Oral Health summit, I heard that sometimes back pain can be due to a jaw cavitation caused by improperly pulled wisdom teeth (or other teeth). If the ligament holding the wisdom tooth to the jaw is not removed completely during extraction, an infection can occur in the jaw. You can test this by putting anbesol (or another numbing agent) on the gums where the wisdom tooth/teeth once were. If the back pain goes away, that may indicate a cavitation in the jaw bone.
You’re obviously completely ignorant of all issues. Why not tame your useless shit [worthless insight] and ask questions of those who actually have a back problem that makes most of your pain issues look like a broken finger nail in comparison, you gay wimpy fag piece of shit. Wake up you materialistic moron, or die worthless, faggot
Now here is a person who lives in fear or he wouldn’t be throwing the abuse he is. If you don’t like the info – that’s fine – keep off the website and go read some chemical related garbage that is professed to be good for you – it would be more to your liking.
I think your advice is spot on all the way. What I never realised was that you were subject to abuse – I just read one of the comments that – at first – I found hard to believe…
Nick, keep on doing what you are doing! There are those of us who appreciate all the wonderful advice and remedies and work that you do. Namaste!
Hi, thank you for suggestions they are great. But free book offer doesn’t feel right, as this days free download is most free way of offering and bonus is there is no shipping cost.
Keep backs moving!?
Nick Thank you for this great information. Can you tell me if there is a recipe to make the comfrey ointment.
I grow my own comfrey and would love to be able to make some ointment. Trust you will have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.
Thank you again
Terry, where did you get the seeds from, please? I haven’t seen it growing wild for years. We used to feed it to pigs because it is high in proteins as well as it’s healing properties.
As for ointment. Why not try drying the leaves, crushing them and mixing with coconut oil – which is more like Vaseline than oil. if you are in the UK or Europe Aldi sell it at a very reasonably price. Also Manuka honey. Hope that helps.
This is really a question. Are herbal remedies likely to work if you take too many different ones at the same time? The reason I ask is that i’m 70 and have slight short term memory loss. IE words come to me given time! And childhood is clearer in my memory than last week. There is a long history of dementia in my family and I have to care for a Blind husband as well. I also have big problems with my lumbar spine particularly the Cauda equina. I have 2 joint replacements and a fused neck. Gall bladder removed at age 17. Thyroid ‘nuked’
at age 65 and have mulitiple joint osteo-arthritis and gastroparesis a food allergies. EDS type 2 makes my hips, shoulders and fingers 7 toes unstable and I get extremely tied and sleep for 10 hours. From this you will realise that I’m a wreck but have to keep going so am taking a bucket of supplements twice a day as well as physio exercises and hydrotherapy, but nothing will stop the pain even Fentanyl patches.
I already take the mushrooms talked of in the video I just watched, but is there anything natural that can cope with severe pain.
Thanks for this wisdom!
I ordered the book but didn’t see how to get the complimentary items.