Sunday, 1 September 2013

Preventing or Getting Relief from Back Pain

Many people suffer from back problems in the form of mild to severe pain and aching, usually in the lower back, sometimes accompanied by muscle spasms. This condition can be severely restrictive of a person’s movements, and sometimes result in compete immobilization.

The causes of back problems are as follows: osteoarthritis; accidents and injuries; degeneration of the joints, ligaments or muscles; heavy lifting; inactivity; structural defects such as swayback, scoliosis, or a difference in leg length; poor posture; sports involving twisting, lifting, bending, jumping, or sudden starts and stops; exercising before muscles are warmed up; getting up from bed or a seated position the wrong way; and the wearing of high heeled shoes.
Conventional treatment for back problems has involved the following methods: traction and/or bed rest; surgery such as laminectomy or fusion of the spine; injection of the intervertebral disc; medications; and braces. All of these methods have low success rates, and medications can have serious side effects.
Most back problems are caused by weakened muscles, ligaments and tendons which have lost their ability to support the back. Specific back-strengthening exercises can be learned under the supervision of a physical therapist, physiatrist, or from a video put online by a professional authority in this area.
Engaging daily in physical exercises such as swimming, cycling, rowing, stretching, yoga and walking are generally good ways to exercise the crucial supports to the back and thereby prevent problems. It is equally important to avoid things that can lead to back problems such as the failure to keep the knees above the hips when seated for long periods, and the wearing of high-heeled shoes.
Avoid foods such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers if the problem is caused by arthritic changes. Animal foods and sugar-laden foods should be avoided during the treatment of back problems as they cause the loss of oxygen in the bloodstream which will slow healing. The herbs valerian root, yucca, liquorice root and ginger all have positive effects for different reasons on back problems.
The following food supplements, for the reasons stated, can help with back problems: Bromelain, 500mg twice daily, acts as an anti-inflammatory; Vitamin B1, 250mg twice daily, acts as a muscle relaxant, Vitamin B12, 1,000 mcg twice daily, cuts down nervous tension enabling the back to relax; Vitamin C, 1,000mg three times daily, builds up the collagen that strengthens and rebuilds the back muscles.
About six months ago, I got talking to a 74 year old man called Joe who lives on the same road as me. Joe revealed to me that he had been suffering from back problems for years. I asked him if he was computer literate to which he replied that he wasn’t but he lived with his daughter who owned a computer. One Saturday morning, when I was clear of other chores such as trading, I went along to Joe’s house and took him to an online video on back problems put there by the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK.
As Joe was already suffering from back pain, I advised him to start with the least onerous methods outlined in the video which were The Kneeling Stretch  and The Knee Rotation exercises, and to gradually introduce the more difficult ones. Joe’s progress was as follows: after three days, he felt some relief; he felt much better after seven days; all the pain had gone after 14 days; he now only uses The Superman exercise 3-4 times a week as a preventative measure but doesn’t expect the problem to reoccur.
The NHS video, which anyone can use as a preventative or treatment measure, can be accessed here. A good video is worth more than a 1,000 words when it comes to describing back-strengthening exercises !
Other methods which have had some success with back problems include acupuncture, acupressure, massage, reflexology treatments, chiropractic adjustments and bed board treatment.  
If you have anything to say on this post, use the comments below for that purpose. 


  1. Great information for all of us on back issues. My husband has avoided back surgery for years by employing the services of a doctor of chiropractic medicine. They have a more holistic approach to medicine. As well as the adjustments he has also taught him the stretching exercises necessary to perform each day to stay mobile. Diet is always such an important component to a healthy lifestyle I appreciate your information on this. He has also used massage therapy which he would recommend.

  2. Thanks for your comment Nuala. Yes, anyone can use the diet information above and the exercises outlined in the video to get relief from back problems.

  3. From Thad Turner-

    That was a very informative article, Kieran. Good use of examples as well as facts that back up what you have to say. Keep up the good work.

  4. Thanks for your comment Thad. Joe, who I referred to in the above post, was so grateful for my advice that he treated me to a selection of beers at his expense.

  5. This is a very good post. A few years ago, I had a back problem and my doctor referred me to a therapist who recommended an exercise similar to the " Superman" which cleared the problem up quickly.

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  7. Many people suffer from back problems in the form of mild to severe pain and aching, usually in the lower back, sometimes accompanied by muscle spasms. no more back pain

  8. I could delete this as it isn't commenting on my post and your website has nothing to do with back problems.