Lower Back Pain - Symptoms, Treatment, Homeopathic Remedies
Using Homeopathy for Lower Back Pain
Debilitating to some, disheartening to many, lower back pain (also called lumbago) is one of the vexing and near-universal afflictions that humans are prone to. Experts claim that roughly 80-90% of the population will experience back pain some time in life. Each year half of all working Americans acknowledge having back pain symptoms, and it is the second leading cause for both doctor visits and lost days at work - following only upper respiratory infections. We all know people whose back periodically "goes out" on them due to chronic conditions or other factors. In fact, about 40% of the population have recurrent back problems.
Pain can be either neuropathic (caused by damage to nerve tissue) or nociceptive (caused by an injury or disease outside the nervous system). Neuropathic pain is often burning or stabbing, while nocioceptive pain is felt as a dull ache or pressure. Sometimes back pain radiates, sometimes it's very specifically situated; sometimes it migratory, sometimes it's fixed. Some complain of stiffness and tightness, others of numbness and weakness. Back pain can be referred to and from other parts of the body, due to the huge network of interconnected nerve pathways in the lower back, hips, and thighs. Back pain can manifest as a result of abdominal problems such as appendicitis, aneurysms, kidney diseases, bladder infections, pelvic infections, and ovarian disorders. Even pregnancy can be the source of lower back aches.
For most people suffering from lower back pain a cause cannot be discerned; only about 15-25% of the time can a specific reason for the pain be determined. The vast range of possible reasons or origins for lower back pain include sciatica, muscle spasms, lumbar muscle strains, sprains, fractures, arthritis, degenerative disk disease, slipped or herniated (ruptured) disks, discogenic problems, pinched nerves, spinal stenosis, osteoporosis, osteomyelitis, fibromyalgia, shingles, and spondylolisthesis. (And that's a very partial list.)
As difficult and frustrating as back pain can be, most episodes resolve within several weeks. Of course, sometimes it takes far longer, as back problems are particularly notorious for their slow pace in healing. The nerves in the spine, once aggravated, recover at their own gradual pace.
Conventional Treatment Treats the Symptoms Not the Cause
There are many treatment options for back aches, beginning with resting the spine. Actual bed rest shouldn't last too long - just a couple of days - and afterwards the sufferer should avoid twisting, lifting, or any back exertion. There are basic pain medications such as aspirin and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Anti-inflammatory medications, or NSAIDs, both over-the-counter (such as ibuprofen and naproxen - Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Naprosyn) and prescription, can alleviate some of the back pain and the associated inflammation, but their side effects include GI bleeding problems. Applying warmth, in the form of heating pads, baths, or water bottles, can prove helpful. (The application of ice can be useful immediately after an injury but not, generally, after that initial phase.) Back muscle strengthening exercises can be useful too, as can basic physical therapy.
For more serious or intractable back pain, narcotic pain medications are often prescribed, but these have a host of ill side effects and dangers of abuse and addiction. Muscle relaxants such as Flexeril, Soma, and Valium, can be very helpful, but usually induce drowsiness too. More advanced physical therapy techniques include aquatherapy, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation. Another potential aid, epidural steroid injections are heavy-duty medications that require the use of an x-ray apparatus to ensure they're delivered with pinpoint accuracy. Finally, some people opt for spine surgery, which can entail a lot of pain, long convalescences, and, frankly, a limited chance of success and a significant probability that the problem will be worsened or new ones introduced.
With conventional back-pain treatment often unpleasant, dangerous, or ineffective, many people turn to alternative medicine modalities including chiropractic manipulation (this is a huge field), osteopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, massage, neuromuscular therapy, herbs such as boswellia or a tonic such as ginger, vitamin treatments, yoga, and "energy medicine."
Homeopathy Matches Your Individual Symptoms to a Homeopathic Remedy So You Feel Better Right Away
The homeopathic approach differs radically from that of conventional medicine. A homeopath will treat the entire person, by assessing every level of physical and mental function. Instead of suppressing the symptoms, the goal is to address the root cause, the imbalances that are producing the symptoms. The goal is for the patient to actually be healthier after treatment than before the malady arose.
A skilled homeopathic practitioner will select an individualized remedy or series of remedies that will lessen back pain's severity and frequency. Some of the most effective homeopathic remedies for persistent back pain include Rhus toxicodendron [Rhus.t], Calcarea fluorica [Calc.f], Nux vomica [Nux.v], Oxalic acid [Ox-Ac], Sepia [Sep], and Cimicifuga. For back injury trauma (as opposed to chronic back conditions), Arnica is the first line of homeopathic treatment, followed by a combination of the following remedies: Hypericum (Hyp.), Natrum Sulphuricum (Nat-S.), Magnesia Phosphorica (Mag-P.), Bryonia (Bry.), Bellis Perennis (Bell-P.), Cicuta (Cic.), Aesculus (Aesc.), Lycopodium (Lyc.), Agaricus (Agar.), Tellurium (Tell.), Tarentula Hispanica (Taren.)