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This guest post was written by HerbAffair.com. You can read more great posts about herbs here

In the United States, as many as 80 percent of people experience back pain at least once in their life. This is often results in the need for prescription medications to ease the pain. Certain prescription medications carry the potential for addiction and all of them carry the risk for potentially serious side effects.

Because of these issues, many people are starting to look at the various herbs that can be beneficial for back pain. There are a number of options and science supports their ability to effectively relieve pain.

Using Herbs to Relieve Back Pain

When you are using herbs, you have a few options for how to take them. The following describes the three most common methods of administration:

  • Pills and capsules:

    This is the fastest and most convenient way to use herbs.

  • Powder:

    You mix this with water or another liquid to drink it.

  • Tea:

    You typically purchase the dried herb and then steep it into a tea to drink.

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Think about the method that you will like most and choose the herb that works with it. If you are not used to using herbs, pills and capsules are typically the easiest to start with. Some herbs can also be applied topically and will come in the form of a cream.Regardless of the administration method that you choose, make sure that you follow all dosage instructions exactly.

You never want to take more of an herb because there is the potential overdose. You also want to make sure that you take enough so that you reap the full benefits.

  1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is commonly used when someone is trying to alleviate arthritis-related back pain. This herb comes in liquid form and you drink it as you would any type of juice. You can find this already prepared at a health food store. Some people also state that applying fresh aloe directly from a plant to the affected area and massaging it in is beneficial.

Just make sure to never drink aloe straight from the plant because this can cause gastrointestinal problems and high blood sugar.

  1. Boswellia

This herb has strong anti-inflammatory properties and it helps to block a substance called leukotrienes. This substance can attack the joint, including those in the spine, resulting in pain and reduced range of motion. Most people use this orally and it is easy to find in a tablet form. However, there are also creams available that you can apply directly to the affected area.

  1. Cat’s Claw

This anti-inflammatory herb helps to reduce swelling, which in turn, helps to reduce any pain. Back problems like spinal arthritis, sacroiliac joint inflammation and herniated discs often respond well to this herb since the root cause of the pain in these instances is intense inflammation. This is an herb that you will take orally, either with a pill or capsule, or you can make a tea.

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Due to the power of this herb, it is critical that you dose it exactly or else there is the risk of over stimulating the immune system.

  1. Eucalyptus

When you think about eucalyptus, your first thought is probably cold and flu. While it is effective for these conditions, when you use it topically, it can help to alleviate back pain similar to how ice does. It has a cooling sensation and eucalyptus leaf contains a substance called tannins. This substance is able to reduce pain by alleviating inflammation and the associated swelling.

One of the best ways to use this herb is to apply it to the painful area and then follow up with heat to simultaneously dull pain and relax the muscles.

  1. Ginger

Ginger is most popular for its ability to calm nausea and promote a better appetite in those with digestive problems. However, one of the oldest uses for this herb is helping to alleviate pain by calming inflammation. It contains compounds that have the ability to calm inflammation nearly as effectively as over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

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Like most anti-inflammatory herbs, this works best when the back pain is related to inflammation, such as with muscle injuries and spinal arthritis.

  1. Turmeric

This is one of the most popular options when it comes to herbal remedies for back pain. Studies show that people get the most benefit from this herb when they take it orally. This means making a tea or taking it in pill or capsule form are the best options.

  1. White Willow Bark

This herbal remedy goes back to the days of Hippocrates when it comes to treating pain associated with inflammation. During that time, patients chewed on the bark to reap the benefits. Today, you can take it in tablet form or make a tea and drink it. It is important to dose this herb exactly because overdose can be dangerous and actually increase inflammation levels, worsening your pain and causing other potentially serious health issues.

  1. Valerian Root

Many people take valerian root for insomnia and anxiety because it is a very relaxing herb. The relaxing properties extend to the muscles and help to reduce nerve sensitivity. This makes this herb ideal for those who are experiencing muscle-related pain, such as muscle spasms, muscle tightness and muscle injuries, such as strains and sprains.

It is best to take this at night because it often causes drowsiness. Since back pain can be difficult to completely avoid, it is ideal to be prepared just in case it occurs. Now that you know about these herbs, you can quickly grab the one that best fits your needs should you experience back pain. Keep in mind that herbs can be powerful and because of this, not all herbs are good for all people.

You should talk to your doctor to help you choose the pain-relieving herb that is going to be the most effective and safe for you. Your pharmacist can aid you in choosing a high-quality brand.

Resources

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/low-back-pain

http://www.cochrane.org/CD004504/BACK_herbal-medicine-for-low-back-pain

http://www.spine-health.com/blog/6-overlooked-remedies-lower-back-pain-relief

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