Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people see a health care practitioner. It is estimated that at least half the U.S. population suffers from back pain at least once per year and as much as 90% of the population suffers from back pain at least once in their lifetime. The cost of treating back pain in the U.S. is estimated at upwards of $90 billion a year and this number does not include out of pocket expense, lost wages, and productivity.
Back pain can be anywhere along the length of the spine from the neck to the tailbone. The spine is a complex network of joints, muscles, tendons, nerves and ligaments with all of these capable of causing pain. Back pain such as that of the neck area can radiate into the shoulders and arms and lower back pain can affect internal organs and nerves through the legs all the way to the feet. Back pain is typically described as acute in which an episode can last as much as twelve weeks or chronic which is continually recurring. There is much that is understood about back pain yet much to be learned. The circumstances that can lead to back pain are many. Typical examples of what might cause back pain are a bone fracture in the spine, spinal disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, and even cancer. Still other factors such as muscle spasms, muscle strains and pulls and infection will cause pain. The common thread that connects all back pain is the release of inflammatory chemicals such as substance P, Histamine and Cyclooxygenases also known as (COX). These chemicals and others like them cause pain.
Now that we have generally outlined back pain let’s consider for a moment that much of the time, if not most of the time, back pain can exist without any injury at all. As we discussed, back pain is the result of chemicals released that cause inflammation and ultimately pain. And we know that these chemicals can be brought about by infection, possibly one that is related to some other health issue. There have also been a few studies that suggest that this inflammation can be brought about by psychological stress. Stress can tear the body down like no other and is implicated in a host of ailments and conditions. A poor diet and toxic lifestyle can easily set the stage for inflammation that can result in back pain. A person could spend weeks or months feeding their next back pain episode simply by how they live and eat from day-to-day. Too much stress, a poor diet, toxins from the environment and bad habits and then one day you jump to catch a frisbee or you simply sleep wrong and the next thing your spine looks like a question mark and you’re writhing in pain.
To deal with this type of back pain one has to think in terms of immediate treatment and relief during flare ups and a long-term plan to change diet and lifestyle to minimize, if not eliminate, the issue altogether. For treatment and prevention a great place to start is Omega-3 fatty acids. Whereas saturated and trans fats (hydrogenated fats) are known to trigger inflammation and compromise health, Omega-3’s are known to reduce inflammation and support a healthy immune system. Minerals, in particular Zinc, can support the overall immune system when infection is involved, and Magnesium is known as an analgesic and muscle relaxant. When infection is the prime suspect for inflammatory back pain Colloidal Silver can be very effective as a natural antibiotic without the harmful side affects of traditional antibiotics. Also Garlic eaten raw is a natural antibiotic and supports a healthy immune system for long-term benefit. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) aids in inflammation and pain reduction and supports overall tissue health. Herbs such as Willow bark and Horsetail have excellent anti-inflammatory benefits. Both Ginger and Turmeric also have anti-inflammatory properties, help reduce pain, and are known to aid in elimination of toxins. During a painful flare up a massage of the effected area can release toxins and other cellular debris and improve healing. A qualified Chiropractor can be helpful in getting you realigned and back in the game but also can play a role in suggesting diet and lifestyle changes that can be of long-term benefit.
For long-term relief from back pain resulting from inflammation where no injury is involved, one has to look at their overall health and a good place to start is the Immune system. To have a healthy robust immune system generally speaking one has to live a fairly clean lifestyle and have a fairly healthy diet. This also would suggest less stress and toxins in the day-to-day environment and routine and thus less to contribute to inflammation. And of course a healthy immune system is better able to deal with infection that could play a role in back pain as well. If you are one of many suffering from back pain from time to time, consider some new tactics for not only dealing with the pain itself but also some diet and lifestyle changes that may eliminate it altogether. It is very possible to overcome this type of back pain naturally and completely.
Written by DMK of Seven Grains.