Archive for May 2010

Alternative Treatments For Back Pain

Back pain can be such a life changing malady. So what are you to do? Alternative treatments for back pain, also known as complimentary therapies, are gaining legions of fans as they are quickly becoming a new method of working to get rid of pain and problems found all over the body. There are many followers who trust in the many options of alternative treatments that supposedly relive that aching back.

They weren’t just invented yesterday. Alternative therapies have been around for ages. In fact this school of complimentary medicine has been around oodles longer than the medications we use today to treat everything from a sore throat to a nail fungus. But don’t be mistaken, there is still such a taboo surrounding those who preach the use of alternative medicine. As more and more research is being conducted the complimentary therapies are gaining fans and are becoming more acceptable.

So just what can be done in the avenue of alternative therapies to treat back pain? One of the easiest complimentary therapies that you can try is the use of aromatherapy. Essential oils such as Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and Horse balm are thought to help reduce all types of pain as they contain natural compounds like thymol that help your muscles relax. Doesn’t relaxing sound wonderful to your aching back!

In order to get the complete benefit of aromatherapy it is important that you mix the appropriate quantity of oils together and massage them into the painful area after you have had an opportunity to soak in a warm bath. It is important to use the essential oils after bathing in warm water since after that yummy bath your pores will be open and your muscles relaxed. It will make the essential oils work more efficiently.

Another easy choice for alternative therapies for back pain include the use of certain herbs. For example, Camomile has a natural calming affect on muscle tissue, while other herbs like Bromelain, which is a pineapple extract, has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Proponents of complimentary therapies explain that if you ingest these herbs at a high enough quantity they can help to eliminate the back pain you are experiencing.

Trigger point therapy is another option of an alternative therapy which works on the premise that the body has trigger points for pain deep within the muscles. The muscles are then joined with the autonomic nervous system. Normally the trigger point will be centered on areas of knotting in the muscles and the point can radiate pain to other parts of the body.

Trigger point therapy treatment involves tiny injections of local anesthetic into the trigger point which is thought to scramble the electrical signals that send the painful sensations. It is important to remember that this type of therapy typically requires a few sessions before the therapy is fully effective.

Meditation, while still an alternative therapy, is more main stream these days. Meditation is thought to wash your body and mind of impurities including pain and tension giving you relief from the pain. The course of treatment for meditation intended to treat back pain is at least thirty to sixty minutes every day while lying on your back with pillows placed under your knees and thighs so the stress on your back is alleviated.

It takes a while to “learn” to meditate but it is important to keep at it for this to be an effective therapy. While meditating keep a clear mind, free from all thoughts, regardless if those thoughts are happy or sad, good or bad…just get rid of them all.

Finally, while we are still waiting for the hard cold facts that prove that alternative therapies for back pain work better than traditional medicine, there is also no conclusive evidence that these therapies don’t work! So after you’ve gotten approval from your physician, why not give them a chance. What do you have to lose except that horrific back pain that is making you feel ancient!

Jeff Foster

Back Pain During Pregnancy: 6 Tips For Pregnant Women

Pregnancy brings back pain in many cases. So much so that it has been found to affect as many as 50 % of all pregnant women, which is quite a sizeable number. Here are a few tips that can help you have pregnancy free of back pain.

1.Since back pain during pregnancy is the result of changing shape of the body and increased body weight that the spine has to support, it is important that you keep the posture right and use a belt to support the belly. So, no slouching any more.

2.Sometimes urinary infection also causes back pain. So, if the back pain is acute and it is the early stage of pregnancy, you must visit a doctor so that if there is a urinary infection, it could be taken care of at the earliest.

3.One thing that you must avoid as far as you can and littler farther is medication. There is an additional responsibility of the well being of your child on you. Therefore, do not resort to medication unless absolutely necessary and never without consulting a doctor.

4.Exercising has been found to be a great natural remedy for back pain. You are not required to strain yourself. Just perform moderate exercises meant for pregnant women. Consult your doctor in this regard and he or she will be able to help you make a list of exercises that would suit you depending upon the stage of pregnancy. Do not, however, go on for a rigorous exercise regimen because that may do more harm than good.

5.Another thing, you are not supposed to stand for extended periods of time because due to the additional weight you are carrying, it puts extra pressure on your spine and may thus result in back pain. Therefore, avoid working in the kitchen for long hours. If you have to work, keep taking short breaks frequently.

6.High heels have to be shunned at all the costs because they play havoc with the posture and strains the back.

Take good care of yourself and back pain would not come anywhere near you during pregnancy. A child is a great responsibility and you are supposed to shoulder it months before he or she actually steps into the world.

Ashish Jain’s-issues-articles/back-pain-during-pregnancy-6-tips-for-pregnant-women-120508.html

Physical Therapy for the Lower Back: How to Prevent and Treat Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common causes of job-related disability and why some people miss work. It is also the second most common neurological ailment in the United States, second only to headache. In fact, approximately 80% of adults in Western countries have, at some point, experienced lower back pain.

For some fortunate people, pain in the lower back may be resolved by itself or with the aid of medication within two to four weeks. However, there are some cases of lower back pain that may last for more than a few weeks, during which case the condition is termed as “chronic” and “progressive,” meaning it can only grow worse over time.

Moreover, 60-80% of those patients who suffer their first episode of lower back pain may experience recurring pain within one year.

According to current research, there are certain muscles in the back that work to stabilize the spine. When the spine or the back suffers an injury, these muscles are reflexively inhibited or shutdown. Worse still, these muscles do not spontaneously recover, and this is true even if patients do not feel pain and are able to return to normal activity levels.

As a result of the inhibition of these muscles, called lumbar multifidi and the transversus abdominus, lower back pain occurs. However, there are steps you can take to prevent the same thing from happening to you.

Lower Back Pain and Physical Therapy

One way to prevent the inhibition of the lumbar multifidi and transversus abdominus is through a series of physical therapy exercises.

Designed to strengthen the muscles of the lower back and keep the spine healthy, these physical therapy exercises may range from back stabilization exercises to muscle strength development and several wide variety of techniques.

In addition, a physical therapist may also recommend such methods as heat therapy, ultrasound, massage, mobilization, and education about posture and body mechanics in order to prevent lower back pain from recurring.

Some of these methods will be discussed later on. You will also find some practical self-help tips provided by experts to help you avoid lower back pain or prevent the condition from worsening.

However, before we head on to learning how lower back pain is treated through physical therapy, it is important that we first understand what causes lower back pain.

Lower Back Pain: CAUSES

There are actually many types of back pain, but the most common is pain in the lower back. Why? You might ask. The reason is simple: you carry most of your weight in the lower back. Thus, it is highly likely that a person would suffer pain in that area.

There is no definitive cause of lower back pain. Sometimes, the causes of the condition are so complex that it is difficult to pinpoint just a single one.

However, physical therapists and other healthcare professionals have observed that lower back pain is often a result of strained back muscles and ligaments due to any of the following activities:

Improper posture
Heavy lifting
Sudden awkward movement
Muscle spasm

We could all be guilty of the above activities. We may not suffer any back pains now, but it is likely that as we get older and the degree of inhibition of the back muscles as a result of these activities increases, back pain becomes a very distinct possibility.

In addition to these common activities, lower back pain may also result from specific conditions, such as:

Herniated disk (when the disk material presses on a nerve)

Sciatica (when a herniated disk presses on the sciatic nerve. The condition causes sharp, shooting pain through the buttocks and the back of the leg.)

Spinal stenosis (when the space around the spinal cord and nerve roots becomes narrow. This is caused by arthritis and bone overgrowth, the pain resulting from when a nerve gets pinched in the narrow space.)

Spondylosis (a type of arthritis affecting the spine due to degenerative changes brought on by aging)

Spondylolisthesis (when one vertebra in the spinal column slips forward over another)

Lower Back Pain: TREATMENT

The treatment of lower back pain depends on several factors, including the specific type of lower back pain (whether it is chronic or acute) and the purported cause.

For instance, acute lower back pain is commonly treated with pain relieving drugs, such as analgesics, or some forms of exercises that can help relax the muscles.

On the other hand, chronic back pain or one that lasts for more than two weeks and is progressive may be caused by some underlying condition, during which case the treatment plan may consist of resolving the underlying condition to treat the back pain.

Lower Back Pain and Physical Therapy Exercise

Physical therapy exercise is one of the most common methods of treating lower back pain. In fact, many home remedies for lower back pain consist of exercise, because the general theory is that if you remain active, you remain healthy. This is true in most cases.

However, for purposes of this article, the exercises featured here will be those that are practiced by physical therapists to treat patients with lower back pain.

Generally, in physical therapy exercises, the exercise program for back pain should encompass a set of stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, and low impact aerobics. Read below for more on these exercises:


The back of a person is composed of the spinal column and contiguous muscles, ligaments and tendons. All these are designed to move in consonance with each other so that any limitation in the range of motion in any of these components of the back result in back pain.

Stretching for lower back pain specifically targets soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments and tendons, found in the back and around the spine. By stretching, the spine and soft tissues are mobilized, increasing motion and thus, relieving pain.

There are many kinds of stretching exercises employed by physical therapists. One is the Hamstring Stretching Exercise which works to relax tight hamstrings, a common symptom of lower back pain. This exercise is said to help decrease the intensity of lower back pain among sufferers.


Physical therapists generally use two forms of strengthening and back pain relief exercises, usually depending on the specific condition of the patient. These are the McKenzie exercises and dynamic lumbar stabilization exercises. However, the two forms of strengthening exercises may also be combined should the therapist find it appropriate to do so.

-McKenzie Exercises

Named after a physical therapist in New Zealand, McKenzie exercises are primarily extension exercises that could help reduce pain generated from the disc space and also may help reduce the symptoms of herniated disc by reducing pressure on a nerve root.

For acute pain, the McKenzie exercises should be done frequently, at least once every two hours. In addition, patients are advised to avoid flexing their spine when exercising.

-Dynamic Lumbar Stabilization Exercises

Using this back exercise technique, the first thing that a physical therapist does is to look for the patient’s “neutral” spine. This refers to the position that allows the patient to feel the most comfortable.

Afterwards, when the patient is in that position, the back muscles are then exercised in order to “teach” the spine how to stay in this position.

Performing these exercises on a regular basis can help strengthen the back muscles and keep the spine well-positioned.

Low Impact Aerobic Exercises

The purpose of low impact aerobic exercise is to recondition the back. Patients who undergo reconditioning of the back through low impact aerobic exercise will have fewer episodes of lower back pain.

In addition, whenever an episode of lower back pain does occur, the pain is less intense and lasts only for a short period.

Another benefit of low impact aerobic exercise is that patients tend to stay functional that is, they can continue with their regular work and carry on with recreational activities. In contrast, patients who do not undergo low impact aerobic exercises typically experience the gradual loss of their functional abilities.

For low impact aerobic exercises to achieve their desired results, they should be continuous. This will increase the heart rate and keep it elevated as well as increase the production of endorphins, which are pain fighting hormones released by the body.

Here are some examples of low impact aerobic exercises that you may want to try in order to lessen or reduce lower back pain:


One of the simplest forms of aerobic exercises, walking is generally considered as very gentle on the back. To get the maximum benefit from walking as a form of low impact aerobic exercise, walk two to three miles three times per week.

-Stationary Bicycling

This form of aerobic exercise is less painful on the back since there is lower impact produced. This is beneficial for patients with lower back pain who may find walking too painful.

-Water Therapy

Sometimes referred to as aquatherapy, water therapy is simply doing exercise in the water. The buoyancy works to provide effective conditioning at the same time stress on the back is reduced.

Nishanth Reddy

Back Pain Treatment

Back pain treatment is a huge and profitable industry within the healthcare system.  Back pain is an epidemic condition which affects the lives of countless souls.  Treatment for chronic back pain demonstrates some of the worst curative results in modern medicine and is also perhaps the most unenlightened and misguided of all healthcare specialties. 

Back pain is traditionally treated by orthopedists and chiropractors, although many other care providers have gotten in on the action, as well.  Rheumatologists, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, massage therapists, physical therapists, reiki practitioners, Bowen therapists, Alexander therapy practitioners, herbalists, doctors of traditional Chinese medicine, osteopaths, physiatrists, acupuncturists, pain specialists, fitness trainers, psychologists, psychiatrists, nutritionists, alternative medicine providers, yoga instructors and orthotic makers are among many of the specialists who have profited greatly from the dorsopathic suffering of others.

There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to help a person cure their pain and there is also nothing wrong with profiting from your good work.  However, the back pain industry is paid far too well for a healthcare specialty which seems to rarely score a bullseye when it comes to accurate diagnosis and successful treatment.  In fact, most care providers are lucky to even hit the target at all, since many therapy options are ill conceived, poorly executed and not even indicated for the diagnosis, given of course that the diagnosis is correct to begin with…

Statistics for back pain treatment are alarming.  Chronic symptoms are reported in back pain patients more than any other type of health complaint.  Up to 85% of adults will have moderate to severe back pain at some point in their lives.  Back pain is the second most common reason for a person to visit a doctor or emergency room.  Back pain is also the primary excuse given for worker absenteeism.  Back pain sufferers, whose symptoms do not resolve within 6 months of treatment, have a better chance of agonizing for the rest of their lives, than they have of ever finding a permanent cure.  These stats are simply unacceptable, considering the vast amount of care providers and resources available to back pain patients.  So what is wrong with the system and more importantly, how can it be fixed?

Back pain is typically viewed as being sourced from a defect, deficiency or injury to the spine or one of its supportive tissues.  This is typically called structural or mechanical pain, meaning there is a physical reason for the symptoms relating to an anatomical condition.  The Cartesian philosophy embraced by most modern medical providers is the single more damaging influence on back pain treatment statistics.  It has been well established by an ever growing number of respected medical research projects, clinical studies and therapy programs, that back pain, or any chronic pain, is far more often the direct result of the complex interactions between the emotional mind and the body.  Being that most back pain care givers do not address this basic fact explains why so many treatment options fail miserably.  After all, these treatments are trying to cure a physical structural condition, while all along, the pain is either completely psychogenic or psychosomatically worsened or perpetuated. 

In order to fix this great injustice and end the seemingly endless suffering of back pain patients the world over, a paradigm shift in care must occur.  Doctors must stop blaming purely coincidental and generally asymptomatic structural concerns and start acknowledging the common link between ongoing pain and the emotional mind.  In essence, doctors must stop treating the human body like it was some sort of complicated machine and start treating human beings for what they truly are…People who live with the constant and ever-present interactions between body and mind, creating all conditions of health and disease.

Sensei Adam Rostocki