What is Backache?
Backache is known to be a common issue faced by many individuals. Backache can be defined as a kind of pain that occurs in the back and starts from the nerves, bones, muscles and joints of the spine. In many cases, backache may also spread to the arms and legs. states that in the U.S, backache is known to be the fifth most common reason for doctor's visits. It has also been noted that almost nine out of ten adults suffer from backache at some point of time in their life.

Symptoms of Backache

People who suffer from backache normally experience severe discomfort when the back is strained. In such cases, the back area of the affected person often becomes very stiff and even the slightest exertion triggers pain. Inflammation is also common in such cases. The affected area becomes bright red in colour and is sensitive to touch. Burning is also a common symptom of this condition. It is important to rest the back until these symptoms disappear completely. Avoid any type of strenuous activity till the pain subsides.

Causes of Backache

Muscle spasms are known to be one of the most common reasons for backache. The American Medical Association indicates that muscular back pain is known to be second-most common reason for work leave. The first reason was common cold. Muscle spasms may occur as a result of injury due to lifting heavy objects, weakness of the hips and lower back as well as poor posture. In most cases, muscle spasms may wear off after a period of time and the affected individual may not experience recurring symptoms. However, in rare cases, an individual may experience mild pain from time to time. Discogenic back pain is another common cause of back pain. This pain occurs as a result of a damaged intervebral disk. Damage to the disk is known to cause pain as well as irritation in the surrounding areas of the back. This pain is usually triggered as a result of slight tears that may occur in the outer ring of the intervebral disk. Dr. Stuart McGill, spine biomechanical researcher says that research studies have indicated that repetitive postures, such as sitting or standing for long periods of time may result in disk degeneration due to age.

Home Remedies for Backache

Dong Quai

Dong Quai is an herb that may prove effective in reducing back pain. The University of Maryland Medical Centre states that this herb has been used for centuries in countries such as China, Korea and Japan as a tonic, medicine and spice. The root of this herb is used extensively for medicinal purposes. Author of the book ' Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth' Dr. Sharol Tigner states that dong quai is known to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic and sedative properties. These properties of dong quai indicate that it might be effective in the treatment of backache. This herb is also known to be beneficial in promoting circulation of blood and can be used to treat conditions such as sciatica and arthritis. Before making use of this herb for treating backache, it is highly recommended that you consult your physician regarding the correct dosage as well as possible side effects.

St. John's Wort

St. John's wort is another herb that may prove effective in treating backache. The National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that St. John's wort is a yellow-flowered plant that has been used for medicinal purposes in ancient Greece. This herb has proven effective in treating conditions such as mental disorders, malaria, wounds, burns, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and nerve pain. According to Dr.Sharol Tigner, this herb exhibits anti-inflammatory, antiviral, astringent and sedative properties. Therefore, this herb may also prove beneficial in treating the symptoms of back pain. Before using this herb, consult your physician regarding any drug interactions, especially if you are taking any pain-relieving medications for back pain.


Bromelain is another herb that may prove effective in treating backache. This is due to the fact that it exhibits anti-inflammatory properties. It has been found effective in the treatment of conditions such as sinusitis due to its strong action against inflammations of any kind. Bromelain can also be used to treat mild and severe cases of back pain as it helps to soothe the inflamed muscles of the patient. According to Medline Plus, the effectiveness of this remedy in the treatment of arthritis and knee problems is yet to be studied. People of any age group can use Bromelain. However, it is important to consume this remedy only under the guidance of your physician, as it is capable of causing side effects such as nausea and breathing problems.

Peppermint Oil

According to Medline Plus, which is a website of the National Institutes of Health, peppermint oil is very effective in the treatment of a wide range of health conditions. These include cough, cold, intestinal problems and inflammatory conditions. The oil of this herb is very effective in its action against back pain. It must be applied locally to the affected portion of your back. However, you must be careful while making use of this remedy as it is capable of causing side effects such as nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

White Willow Bark

This herb has been used extensively in the treatment of a wide range of inflammatory conditions. It has brought relief in many cases of back pain as well. Its effectiveness is due to the fact that it contains salicilin. Salicilin is very powerful in its action on inflammations. It is just as effective as aspirin tablets. White willow bark is also a very powerful and effective analgesic and is devoid of any serious side effects.

Kava Kava

According to the University of Michigan Health System, the people of the South Pacific Islands originally used this herb. These people used this herb extensively in the treatment of a wide range of health disorders. Kava kava is a very powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent. It can be used to treat very severe back pain as well. Topical ointments containing kava kava can be used in such cases. This herb is highly effective in treating any pain, which has been caused by muscle inflammations or nerve irritations.


Capsaicin is very effective in the treatment of back pain as it makes the affected area numb. It also causes the depletion of a neurochemical called Substance P, which is responsible for triggering pain in any part of the body. Capsaicin cream can be applied topically to the affected area of your back. It can be applied as often as four to five times each day. You might experience burning when this cream is applied to your skin. This is not an indicator of any problem. The burning sensation wears off after a few minutes.

Devil's claw

This herb is very effective in its action against inflammations that might be present anywhere in the body. According to Medline Plus, the extract of this herb is very beneficial in the treatment of pain that is associated with osteoarthritis, back disorders and other such problems. The extract of this herb is taken from the root of the plant. Devil's claw can be used by people of all ages. However, it is important to use this remedy under the guidance of your physician, as it is capable of causing side effects such as headaches, ringing in the ears and nausea.

Clove oil

Clove oil is a natural anaesthetic and is able to numb the painful area within a short span of time. In order to make use of this remedy, one must apply a small amount of the oil to the affected area. Massage this oil into the skin so as to facilitate absorption. After that, you must cover the area with a cloth so as to allow the oil to act on the skin. Clove oil is able to heal any inflammation that might be responsible for causing the pain.


Dandelion supplements can also be used to combat the symptoms of pain and inflammation. The extracts of this plant can be used to treat any internal problem that might be triggering the pain in any part of the body. In the case of back pain that is caused by internal inflammations, dandelion extracts can be used to soothe such inflammations.


Arnica is an herb that is very beneficial in preventing muscular pain of any kind. This herb must be applied topically to those areas of your back that tend to be painful. Arnica helps to prevent the occurrence of pain in these areas as it keeps the muscles flexible and soothes them. However, arnica must not be consumed internally as it can cause complications such as nausea, dizziness and tremors.

Other Home Remedies for Backache
  • Mint oil is considered an effective remedy for treating backache. Apply some mint oil to your back before you sleep.
  • Using a hot water bottle is also effective in soothing backache. However, it is advisable that you keep the water warm but not too hot as it can scald your back.
  • Basil leaves are also considered effective in the treatment of pain associated with backache. You can prepare tea from this herb by adding around 10 leaves to a glass of water after which you must allow it to steep for around 15 minutes.
  • You can also prepare tea from equal amounts of cloves and black pepper corns along with one gram of ginger powder. Consume the tea around two-three times each day.
  • Add some common salt to the juice of one lemon and consume it once daily. This remedy is considered effective in dealing with backache.
  • Turpentine oil is also known to be beneficial in treating backache. Massage your back with some turpentine oil before you go to bed to experience relief from backache.
  • Garlic is considered effective in dealing with backache, due to the fact that it exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. You can either consume garlic raw or massage your back with garlic oil. In most cases, the latter is considered more effective in providing instantaneous relief. To prepare garlic oil, fry around 15 flakes of garlic in 50 ml oil and massage it into your back after allowing it to cool.
  • Honey is considered extremely beneficial in dealing with backache. Add some honey to warm water and consume it on an empty stomach.

Diet for Backache

Consume Fatty Fish

Consuming fatty fish on a regular basis may prove effective in treating backache. Author of 'Prevention's Healing With Vitamins', health expert Alice Feinstein states that fatty fish possesses high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids that are helpful in increasing the supply of blood to the back. They may prove beneficial in dealing with mild to moderate back pain. These foods have a positive effect on the circulation of blood in the body. They boost the flow of blood to the painful areas such as the back and knees. As a result of this, the inflammation comes under control and the patient gets relief from the symptom of pain. This is why it is important to consume such fish on a daily basis.

Consume Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

According to Phyllis Balch, author of 'Prescription for Nutritional Healing', fresh fruits and vegetables are extremely beneficial in treating backaches as they are loaded with all the necessary vitamins and minerals. These fresh foods help to protect your body against damage caused by free radicals. They also help to boost the functioning of the immune system and are helpful in reducing the chances of inflammation in any part of the body. Make sure to include an adequate amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Avoid Red Meat

Red meat can have a disastrous effect on the health of your body if it is consumed in large amounts. Red meat increases the amount of uric acid in the body as it contains purines. Red meat also contains saturated fats, which are very harmful for the body and must be avoided as far as possible. These saturated fats cause the build-up of cholesterol as a result of which the flow of blood throughout the body is negatively affected. When this happens, pain and inflammation can occur in different parts of the body, such as the back and the knees. This is why it is important to refrain from consuming such meat as far as possible.

Backache Prevention

Posture Changes

Many cases of backache are caused by incorrect posture. People who work at computers for long periods of time tend to suffer from a stiff back. In such cases, it is important to make sure that your back is kept straight and supported while you work. It is also important to take regular breaks while working. You must get up and walk around after every hour so as to give your back muscles a chance to ease out. Simple stretching exercises are also very effective in keeping backaches away. They must be done on a regular basis. However, you must refrain from exercising the back if you are already suffering from a backache as this can aggravate the problem.

Other Treatment Options for Backache


Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is considered effective in the treatment of backache. This is due to the fact that this vitamin exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Vitamin C is known to play a crucial role in the production of collagen and it is helpful in speeding up the process of healing in those who suffer from backache. You can consume this vitamin in the form of a supplement or from food. Foods containing high amounts of vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, cranberries and kale. Vitamin D is known to be a fat-soluble vitamin that is effective in treating back pain. This vitamin is known to increase the synthesis of calcium, thereby reducing the risk of suffering from osteoporosis and rickets. Due to increased absorption of calcium, vitamin D is helpful in producing new bone cells and strengthening the back. This vitamin is also helpful in treating back pain as it exhibits anti-inflammatory properties as well. For adults, the recommended daily dosage is around 600 IU. Foods that contain high amounts of vitamin D include mackerel, cheese, eggs, milk, salmon, tuna and cereal. Vitamin B12 is known to be a water-soluble vitamin that is helpful in increasing the production of red blood cells and is helpful in reducing pain in the back. This vitamin is also known to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, which are the reason behind the effectiveness of this herb for backache. For adults, the daily recommended dosage is around 2000 mcg. Foods that contain high amounts of this vitamin include eggs, fish, milk and cheese. Vitamin E is considered effective in boosting immunity, improving circulation and reducing inflammation. For adults, the daily recommended dosage is around 15-17 mg. Foods that contain high amounts of vitamin E include olives, spinach, corn oil, seeds, nuts, Swiss chard, wheat germ and soya bean oil.


NSAIDs( Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) are known to be common pain relievers that can be used to relieve backaches. Common NSAID's include aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. NSAID's are considered extremely effective in treating pain that occurs due to muscle strains or arthritis. In addition to relieving pain, these medications are also considered beneficial in reducing inflammation. In most cases, these medications can be consumed orally. You can also apply them to the affected areas topically to experience relief from backache. Although rare, these medications can trigger certain side effects such as vomiting, nausea, ulcers, swelling and gastrointestinal bleeding.


Oxycodone, also known as Oxycontin, is known to be a narcotic pain reliever. states that oxycodone is similar to morphine. There are two types of this medication: extended release tablet and immediate release tablet. Extended release tablets are known to stay for a long period in the body, but are less effective. Immediate release tablets are released within a span of few minutes into the system and are effective in reducing pain. However, they do not remain for a long time in the body.

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