The word back pain is an umbrella term that includes various problems, also linked to different causes. For example, bad posture, long walks and exertion can cause lower back pain, while sitting at a desk for a long time, anxiety and tension or sudden movements can cause pain in the neck or shoulders. But back pain can also be due to inflammation of the sciatic nerve. Natural remedies and lifestyle can help relieve pain or prevent it, let's understand better!
Arnica against stiff neck and back pain
Arnica has always been a well-known and appreciated remedy in case of muscle pain. But it's not just about tradition. In fact, scientific research has observed that arnica extracts contain substances with an anti-inflammatory action (Beg et al, Pharmacogn Rev, 2011), useful to counteract pain. However, it is important to emphasize that the action of Arnica is not immediate but the reduction of pain is observed after a couple of days of application (Pumpa at al, Eur J Sport Sci). You can find arnica-based creams to be applied directly to the painful area in herbalist’s and chemist’s shops.
Poultices of hot cabbage leaves against sciatica and muscle pain
Not just in salads! In fact, cabbage is a soothing and anti-inflammatory remedy very useful in case of muscle pain, back pain and sciatica (Messegue, My herbarium - Lee et al, Pharmacogn Rev, 2018). In addition, in the remedy that we will see, heat also plays a role as it helps to relax contracted muscles (Chenot et al, BMC Complement Altern Med., 2007). Remove the cabbage leaves and heat them with an iron. Apply several layers of cabbage leaves on the painful area. This poultice can also be used on the forehead in case of migraines.
Onion, rosemary and thyme decoction, against stiff neck
Against stiff neck the well known French herbalist Messegue, in his book My herbarium, recommends applying on the area a gauze soaked in an analgesic and anti-inflammatory decoction prepared in this way. Pour a cup of water into a pot, add a teaspoon of chopped onion, a teaspoon of rosemary needles and a teaspoon of thyme. Bring everything to a boil and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat and let it rest for five minutes, filter and wait for it to cool down, soak a gauze and apply.
Yoga and stretching
Some asanas, or yoga positions, are indicated to prevent and alleviate back pain as they help to stretch the muscles and relieve tension and stiffness, also improving mobility (Leung et al, Medicines, 2015). Not only that, yoga in general allows you to improve posture and strengthen muscles, helping to prevent back pain, and to relax mind and body, helping to deal with situations that generate anxiety with more serenity and therefore avoiding possible contractures at the level of shoulders and neck. Among the best yoga positions, able to stretch the muscles and prevent back pain and sciatica, we can mention the cross-legged seated position, which is also great for meditating. Not only that, other yoga positions are also useful (Manik et al, Int J Yoga, 2017), such as pavana muktasana, in which one lies on the back, the knees are brought to the chest and the person swings sideways or back and forth. All the asanas that require a backward bend are also helpful, such as the position of the cobra, in which one starts lying on the stomach and then raises the torso by extending the arms with the hands that press against the yoga mat at the shoulder height, or the position of the locust, in which one starts lying on the stomach and then raises both torso and legs from the ground at the same time, the arms are stretched backwards. The position of tiryaka tadasana is also excellent, you are standing, the arms are stretched over the head, upwards. With the exhale, the torso is bent to the right, then with the inhale it returns to the center, then again to the left, and so on. Finally, especially against sciatica, a help comes from the yoga position of the pigeon. You are on all fours, slide your right knee between your hands while the left leg stretches back, remains in position, then, exhaling, try to bend your torso forward by touching your forehead with the mat.