Try these simple natural healers to soothe your bad back today
Do you suffer from back pain? You’re not alone – a whopping eight in 10 of us experience it at some stage in our lives. From straining a muscle trying to move a box of clothes to putting your back out playing sport or even just low-level pain from sleeping in the wrong position, we’ve all been there.
Chronic or long-standing back pain is extremely common and can be caused by a variety of factors, explains top back expert Dan Worboys (highwoodshealthclinic.co.uk). These range from bad posture and muscle strain to lifting heaving objects and even childbirth – but thankfully you don’t have to suffer in silence. While it’s important to see a doctor if your pain continues, going down the natural route can also help to support your healing. “Drugs and medication are not always the answer,” says Dan, who specialises in soft tissue and sports injury therapies. “There are some great home remedies and complementary therapies you can try to help manage the pain and get to the cause of your issue.” So read ahead for our top picks!
This ancient Chinese technique is one of the best therapies for a sore back, providing pain relief, reducing inflammation and improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility. Practitioners use needles, moxibustion or cupping to stimulate acupoints on the yang channels that flow down the back and legs to relieve pain and restore the circulation of qi or ‘life energy’.
While you can’t go around sticking needles in to yourself willy-nilly, you can try a spot of acupressure by pressing the B54 points, which are behind your knees. This can help move pain and pressure away from your back. To do this follow the steps below:
• Lie on our back with your legs up and your knees bent.
• Place your fingertips in the center of the crease behind each knee.
• Holding on to these points, gently rock your legs back and forth for one minute as you breathe deeply.
• When you’re done, let your feet rest flat on the floor, with your knees bent, and relax.
Bodywork encompasses all the various forms of massage, deep tissue and movement awareness therapies. It includes hardcore practices such as rolfing and Hellerwork, which use strenuous manipulation of the muscles, connective tissues, and joints, and gentler movement awareness therapies such as the Feldenkrais method and the Alexander technique, which are great for realigning your posture. Other hands-on bodywork techniques treat back pain through energy healing – these include acupressure, shiatsu and reflexology.
Self-massage can be a helpful tool in alleviating pain, says Dan. “The key to this technique is making sure that the area you are working on is relaxed. Generally for the back, some areas can not be reached with your own hands so tennis balls or foam rollers are extremely helpful.”
Apply direct pressure to the area causing pain and hold it for 10 seconds. This will help release trigger points and restore the muscle back to its optimal length. Always make sure you are not pressing directly onto a boney structure, such as the spine itself.
Bowen therapy is a series of very specific gentle moves that can have a powerful effect on the body, helping it to heal itself.
For pain in the upper back, a simple exercise is to stand straight, lift both your shoulders and push your arms back simultaneously. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and then drop your shoulders. Repeat several times as comfort allows – and remember to keep breathing normally.
Yoga and Pilates strengthen the muscles in the back, as well as the core abdominal muscles, helping to support the spine. Everyone can do one very simple yoga posture to help a bad back.
• Lie on a yoga mat or carpet, looking up at the ceiling.
• Bend your knees with your feet on the floor and hip-width apart.
• Keep your arms wide, in line with your shoulders.
• Place your right foot on top of the left knee.
• Exhale and twist your hips and take the right knee towards the left elbow.
• With the right toes touching the floor, reach with the left hand and help the knee go towards the floor. Hold for 10 breaths. Come back and then do the other side, with your left foot on top of the right knee
Do not try this posture if you have had any kind of surgery.
This gentle self-help therapy can have a hugely beneficial effect on back problems. A method of postural re-education, it works under the theory that poor posture is at the root of many health problems.
This Alexander technique is a great preventative measure. Imagine that you have a string attached to your head and shoulders (like a puppet on a string) and someone is pulling you upwards as you walk, so you are stretching up to the sky.
Save over £11
when you subscribe today
Exclusive prizes from our Heaven Skincare, Senspa, Green People and more...