Thirty-one million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time. One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Nearly everyone at some point has back pain that interferes with work, routine daily activities, or recreation.
As many as 80% of us will experience a back problem at some time in our lives and yet if you look around at the medical literature and even at alternative sites, including chiropractic and osteopathic sites, one does not get a clear picture of what one can do for this common problem, which does land many in bed with excruciating pain.
Back and neck pain can be miserable. Injury, herniated disc, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, vertebral compression fracture—even a simple back sprain—can cause life-altering pain. Yoga, massage and physical therapies help patients to get back on their feet but often do not address the biochemistry of back pain.
The field of medicine has always been weak in dealing with back pain and that gave rise to the large chiropractic field. The most pathetic excuse for medical science I have ever read came recently with research that said, “people who suffer from lower back pain may have spines that are similar to chimpanzees.”
Magnesium & Back Pain
Soft tissue and joint manipulation, whether it be in the form of varying massage techniques, physical therapy or chiropractic, do not take into consideration the biochemical needs of the cells which constitute the tissues being manipulated. While there are many biochemical necessities that may come into question, none can be considered more essential to normal cellular function than that of the magnesium ion, especially when it pertains to the health of muscles, joints, and the nervous system. Magnesium deficiency is often associated with muscle pain, especially back pain.
Topical magnesium chloride is most widely known as “magnesium oil” which is actually a supersaturated solution of magnesium chloride and other trace elements. Other convenient forms include gelled magnesium chloride for massage, and bath flakes for soaks with each product offering its own unique advantages depending on the application.
Every back patient should be applying magnesium transdermally and use either magnesium oil or magnesium bicarbonate concentrate added to water to treat the fundamentals of inflammation and pain. When it comes to back pain one can be assured that applying magnesium locally and systemically is going to help, even in the worst conditions where physicians are already recommending surgery.
Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous
system so it can be used quite effectively to
calm irritated and over-excited nerves.
Transdermal Magnesium Therapy shines in the area of pain management often bringing instant relief when applied liberally to painful areas. Magnesium penetrates into the source of the pain bringing healing and relief, not only because it addresses the inflammation, but also because magnesium deficiency is a basic cause of back pain as much as poor posture is. Next time you walk into a public place where people are waiting on line for something notice how many stand favoring one leg. This throws out the hips and people end up with one leg being longer that the others. Always stand with equal weight on both legs for good back health.
A German study found that mineral supplements increased intracellular magnesium levels by 11% and were associated with a reduction in pain symptoms in 76 out of 82 people with chronic low-back pain. In cases of acute pain, magnesium given intravenously is widely recognized to have powerful analgesic effects—so much so, that it has been the subject of numerous clinical studies examining the extent of its ability to attenuate post-operative pain following major cardiac and lumbar surgeries.
Heat & Back Pain
Heat is often applied with a pad to areas of the back that are painful and/or inflamed. The Biomat is just perfect for back pain sufferers. There is nothing like laying on a far-infrared mattress when one has back or any kind of pain. This treatment method is effective because heat makes blood vessels expand, which in turn increases blood flow and oxygen levels.
Using sodium bicarbonate and magnesium orally will increase oxygen transport and will further dilate the vessels bringing even more blood to the area. Heat increases blood flow and makes connective tissue more flexible. It temporarily decreases joint stiffness, pain, and muscle spasms. Heat also helps reduce inflammation and the buildup of fluid in tissues (edema). Heat therapy is used to treat inflammation (including various forms of arthritis), muscle spasm, and injuries such as sprains and strains.
A hot magnesium bath is a great treatment choice for most people’s low-back pain and is more indicated than icing.
Trigger Points, Shiatsu & Acupuncture
There is no shortage of evidence that acupuncture is good for lower-back pain. A study in the British Medical Journal found that it offered a small but significant benefit to back pain sufferers and is cost-effective in the long-term. Researchers at the University of Sheffield measured the pain levels of two groups of adults over two years. They found that those who had acupuncture were significantly more likely to be satisfied compared to those having just conventional care.
The great majority of low-back pain is essentially muscular in nature, contrary to the popular and mistaken medical view that it is usually caused by something “mechanical” like an intervertebral disc herniation. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture; the difference between these two techniques is that acupressure uses thumbs instead of needles. A good shiatsu practitioner will easily find the points where the energy is blocked. Shiatsu is a traditional form of bodywork originating from Japan. Based on the acupuncture energetic system, the aim in Shiatsu is to wake up and rebalance the body’s natural flow of energy or chi. This is achieved through a combination of stretching, holding and gently manipulating the receiver’s body, focusing on the classical meridians (energy channels) and acupressure points.
Helping someone suffering from back pain can be a challenge. Many states have now made it legal to treat pain and inflammation in the back with marijuana. In my book Medical Marijuana, I write extensively about the excellent combination that marijuana and magnesium make in dealing with pain.
By resting painful joints and muscles you give your spine time to heal. Common sense would also tell you to eliminate any movements or activities that cause your pain. Ice is often used successfully to reduce inflammation, spasms, and pain in the back because ice makes blood vessels get smaller. Alternating hot and cold packs is often recommended by professionals.
Wooden Back Massage Roller
This is one of the best back tools that money can buy! Just lie on it and let it dig like a shiatsu expert onto both sides of your spine. When one is suffering from back problems, one should also be mindful of the level of stress one is dealing with. When the weight of the world is upon us it weighs heavily on our backs and that is why rest is often essential for recovery. My bottom line recommendation for sufferers of back pain for the long term is yoga and the Biomat, with constant supplementation with high levels of magnesium.
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