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Back Pain and Herbal Remedies
Back pain is described as any discomfort, stiffness or soreness in the back. There are many causes of back pain. Chronic or acute pain in the back can be due to a herniated disc, muscle strain, injury to the intervertebral disc, osteoarthritis and aging. The treatment of back pain depends upon the cause and type, severity of the condition, age and occupation. The commonly used measures used in treatment include pain-relieving medications, immunosuppressants and corticosteroids, and, in severe cases, surgery is advised depending upon the cause.
These conventional methods provide temporary relief from the pain and are also associated with several side effects. Hence, many people turn to natural and herbal remedies, which are safe and effective in alleviating the pain in the back. The use of herbs is a time-honoured approach to strengthening the body and fighting disease. Herbs consist of natural anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties that give the similar effect as that of NSAIDs used for back and joint pain. Some of the commonly used herbs for natural back pain relief are:
Willow bark is known as a natural painkiller that possesses anti-inflammatory properties. It contains an active ingredient, salicin, which has a powerful analgesic effect on the body. When ingested, our body converts salicin into salicylic acid, which has similar action as that of aspirin. It works by acting as a cyclooxygenase inhibitor (COX), which helps in decreasing inflammation.
Those who are severely allergic to aspirin should consult a physician before using willow bark.
The gummy resin of the boswelia tree has a long history of use in traditional Indian medicine as a treatment for joint and back conditions. Also known as Indian Frankincense, Boswelia is known to be effective in treating pain and inflammation. It especially helps with chronic lower back pain and helps to repair blood vessels damaged by inflammation.
According to a study, Devil’s claw provides similar relief in back pain as synthetic pain medicine, Vioxx, but without its side effects. Also known as Devil’s claw root and Grapple plant, this herbal remedy contains an active ingredient - Harpagoside, and beta sitasterol. These two ingredients help in relieving inflammation and pain, and eases muscular tension. This makes Devil’s claw a good choice for joint, ligament, tendon and back problems. It is mainly effective for people who have sharp, radiating pain in the back with numbness in the extremities.
Capsaicin is the active ingredient found in hot peppers. It works by manipulating the body’s pain status. It does so by stimulating the release of pain-relieving endorphins and providing analgesic effect. It comes in the form of commercial topical products that are applied externally to the back for pain relief.
Though herbal medicines are safe, they should not be taken without medical supervision for a longer duration and in high doses. If you are suffering from any existing heart or medical conditions, consult your physician before using these remedies. Herbal remedies may not be safe in children, pregnant women and nursing moms.
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