Natural Health Remedies for You

Natural Home Remedies for Back Pain

This page looks at natural home remedies for back pain - using nutritional supplements, homeopathy, herbs, and aromatherapy. It also looks at the symptoms and common causes of lower back pain.

Back pain is the fourth most common ailment in the United States - Low back pain affects 60 to 80 percent of all American adults.

Back problems can affect the spine's flexibility and strength, causing pain, discomfort, and stiffness.

The good news is, having back pain does not necessarily mean surgery or a lifetime of pain and agony. In fact, most back pain is highly preventable and treatable with exercise, stretching, and natural home remedies such as supplements, herbs, etc. described below.

Symptoms of Back Pain

Signs and symptoms indicating that you may have back pain include:
  • Tenderness, pain, and stiffness in the lower or middle back
  • Pain that radiates to the hips, legs, or the neck
  • Difficulty standing erect or standing in one position for a long time
  • Discomfort while sitting and difficulty sitting for a long time
  • Weakness and leg fatigue while walking
When to See a Doctor

Certain kinds of back pain can signal a stroke, osteoporosis, or other more serious problems such as cancer. See a doctor if you have:

  • Pain that lasts for several weeks
  • Extremely acute pain
  • Pain that is accompanied by numbness


Causes of Back Pain

Our back is a structure composed of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and discs (the cartilage-like pads that act as cushions between the segments of the spine). In the past, it was commonly believed that back pain was caused by the degeneration of one of the discs. While disc problems can be a cause of back pain, it is not the only cause. Today, we understand that back pain can in fact arise from problems with any of the component parts forming our spine.

A more common cause of back pain is due to strained muscles and ligaments. Bad posture, improper or heavy lifting, and inactivity can all cause the back to become weak, making it prone to injury and pain.

Other possible causes of back pain include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bulging or ruptured (herniated) discs


Natural Home Remedies for Back Pain

Natural home remedies for back pain using nutritional supplements, herbs, homeopathy, and aromatherapy can be effective for easing muscle tension, relieving discomfort, and averting long-term back problems by improving muscle strength and joint stability.

Many people have also tried acupuncture and bodywork such as chiropractic treatment with good results.

Natural Home Remedies for Back Pain - Nutritional Supplements

Various nutritional supplements that can be used as natural home remedies for back pain include:
  • Mehyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM): MSM helps to prevent joint and connective tissue breakdown. It also alleviates muscle spasms and has natural anti-inflammatory effects. Recommended dosage is 3000 mg twice a day.
  • Glucosamine/Chondroitin: A combination of these two substances have been found effective for back pain caused by osteoarthritis. They are also effective for connective tissue support.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It helps strengthen connective tissue. Take 1000 mg two to three times a day. Reduce dosage if diarrhea occurs.
  • Calcium and Magnesium: These two minerals alleviate muscle spasms. You can take a complex of these two minerals that contain 500 mg of calcium and 250 mg of magnesium.
  • Essential Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids, such as flaxseed and fish oils, help to decrease inflammation. Take one to two capsules or one tablespoon of oil a day.


Natural Home Remedies for Back Pain - Herbs

Herbs that are anti-inflammatory, or that can reduce pain, or improve blood circulation are helpful for back pain.
  • Bromelain: Bromelain is anti-inflammatory and can reduce pain. Take a product that is standardized to 2000 M.C.U. per 1000 mg or 1200 G.D.U. per 1000 mg. Take 40 mg three times daily between meals.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric is also anti-inflammatory and can reduce pain. Take a standardardized extract of the herb, 300 mg three times a day.
  • White Willow: White willow bark is a natural pain relief because it contains compounds known as salicylates which act as natural aspirin. Take a product that is standardized to contain 240 mg of salicin daily.
  • Cayenne: Capsaicin is the main component in cayenne. Capsaicin depletes stores of a substance (substance P) that contributes to inflammation and pain as found in back pain. Get a cream standardized to 0.025 to 0.075 percent capsaicin and apply the cream to affected areas several times a day. Pain reduction generally begins 3 - 7 days of use.
  • Arnica: Arnica reduces pain and spasm. Use the oil or gel of this herb and apply it to affected areas several times a day.


Natural Home Remedies for Back Pain - Homeopathy

Hoemopathic remedies are also effective natural home remedies for back pain. Choose a remedy that most closely matches your symptoms and follow the instructions of use on the label.

  • Aesculus: This remedy is for lower back or sacral pain that feels worse when standing up from a sitting position, and worse from stooping.
  • Arnica: This remedy is for pain as a result of trauma/injury.
  • Bryonia: This remedy is for lower back pain that feel worse from even the slightest motion, and that feels better when the area is rubbed.
  • Calcarea carbonica: This remedy is often useful for chronic low back pain and muscle weakness, especially in overweight people who also feel chilly and easily tired by exertion. Symptoms are worse in the cold and dampness.
  • Cimicifuga racemosa: This remedy is good for a stiff and aching neck and back. It is often helpful for back pain during menstrual periods, with cramping, heaviness, and soreness.
  • Ignatia: This remedy is for back pains and spasms that are related to emotional upsets and stress.
  • Nux vomica: This remedy is for muscle cramps or constricting pains in the back. The person may also have constipation and feel chilly and irritable. Warmth brings relief to the symptoms.
  • Rhus toxicodendron: This remedy is specific for a strained back muscle or ligaments. The pain is worse on initial movement and improves with continued motion. Symptoms get worse in cold damp weather and can be relieved by warm applications, baths or showers, and massage.
  • Ruta graveolens: This remedy is for pain and tremendous stiffness felt in the muscles or joints, especially after sprains or twisting injuries. The person feels lame and sore, and experiences relief from lying down.


Natural Home Remedies for Back Pain - Aromatherapy

Essential oils can provide wonderful relief from chronic back pain. They penetrate deeply into the tight muscles causing them to expand. They also increase blood flow to the area.

There are a lot of essential oils that make good home remedies for back pain, such as birch, lavender, black pepper, eucalyptus, peppermint, clary, ginger, rosemary, sage, and marjoram.

Here is a recipe for back pain:

  • 10 drops of Lavender
  • 10 drops of Eucalyptus
  • 10 drops of Ginger
  • Diluted in 2 tablespoons of carrier oil

Use the oil mixture to massage your back.

You can also add a few drops of any of the oils mentioned above to a hot bath and soak for a while, inhaling the steamy vapors.


Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004)
J.A. Duke, The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. (St. Martin's Paperback, 2002)
V.A. Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, (New World Library, 1991) (

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