15 Natural Back Pain Remedies

Try these expert-approved answers for natural relief.

ByABC News
April 23, 2014, 1:55 PM
Group of people practicing yoga in yoga studio
Group of people practicing yoga in yoga studio
Getty Images

April 23, 2014— -- intro: Achy back? You're not alone: back problems send more Americans to the doctor annually than nearly any other medical problem, according to a 2013 Mayo Clinic study.

Whether you're recovering from misjudging a heavy load (we've all been there), dealing with a lingering injury, or have a chronic problem, you don't necessarily need to resort to popping tons of pain relievers.

Talk to your doc about these 15 expert-approved natural back pain remedies, and find out if they are safe and appropriate for you.

quicklist: 1category: Natural Back Pain Remediestitle: Yogaurl:text: Just say om.

In a British study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, low-back pain sufferers who took one yoga class a week for three months saw greater improvements in function compared to those receiving conventional care like medicine or physical therapy.

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quicklist: 2category: Natural Back Pain Remediestitle: Stretchingurl:text: The same study found that stretching is just as effective as yoga in treating back pain. The 52-minute stretching classes consisted of 15 exercises that stretched all major muscle groups, but emphasized the trunk and legs.

quicklist: 3category: Natural Back Pain Remediestitle: Massageurl:text: Two words: Treat yourself.

Chronic low back pain sufferers who got weekly massages reported less pain after 10 weeks than those who didn't, according to another Annals of Internal Medicine study.

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quicklist: 4category: Natural Back Pain Remediestitle: Acupunctureurl:text: If the idea of having needles inserted into your skin gives you the heebie-jeebies, try to have an open mind—it may be the key to relieving your chronic back pain. In a study, people who received acupuncture treatments were more likely to find back pain relief than those receiving conventional care.

quicklist: 5category: Natural Back Pain Remediestitle: Talk therapyurl:text: Talking about your back pain with a therapist may bring some relief.

In a UK study, back pain sufferers who had 90 minutes of group cognitive behavioral therapy a week for six weeks reported less pain during the treatment. (Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on solving problems by changing thoughts and behavior.) A year later, 59 percent said their pain was totally cured, compared to just 31 percent in the group that did not go through therapy.

quicklist: 6category: Natural Back Pain Remediestitle: Strength trainingurl:text: Celebrity fitness trainer Kathy Kaehler has a test for you: "Stand with your back to a wall, shoulder blades pressed against it. Can you hold the position for the length of the song 'Happy Birthday'? If not, you'll need to strengthen your back and core." Building strength in those areas can help prevent and relieve back pain. Try these four moves:

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quicklist: 7category: Natural Back Pain Remediestitle: Physical therapyurl:text: Good things come to those who wait—except perhaps when it comes to back pain treatment.

Starting physical therapy within two weeks of back pain onset was associated with less risk of need for subsequent medical care as well as lower overall health costs, according to a study published in the journal Spine.