Naturally Relieve Lower Back Pain

Ginger works wonders for lower back strain

| September/October 1998

  • Sitting too much—especially in chairs with a forward tilt—is the biggest cause of lower back pain. Incorrect lifting and poor posture also contribute.
    Photo by Fotolia

Lower back pain is all too common an ailment. Some researchers say that 80 percent of all Americans older than 30 suffer from chronic lower back pain at some point in their lives. Sitting too much—especially in chairs with a forward tilt—is the biggest cause, but incorrect lifting and poor posture also contribute.

One of my patients, Mike, injured his back so badly that he couldn’t get out of bed. At work, he had been building walls, lifting heavy blocks and bending over to cement them in place. One morning as he was vigorously brushing his teeth, he felt something “go”—a burning pain shot through his lower body. He managed to drag himself to the couch, where his wife found him at noon, still moaning and rubbing his back in an attempt to loosen it up.

The next day he called my clinic. I don’t usually make house calls, but Mike sounded desperate, so I stopped by his place on my way home. He was still on the couch and looked antsy. “I’m more than ready to go back to work,” he said, “but my back is definitely not.”

Try This: Ginger Compress

Chinese Bag of Tricks

When I examined him, the back of his tongue had a greasy yellow coating and his pulse was tight, meaning that I could feel tension in it. According to Chinese medicine, this indicates that he had internal “stagnation,” or inhibited blood flow caused by pain, a state that’s especially common after an injury. “Moving the blood” helps remove pain-producing toxins and speeds tissue repair, which is why herbalists emphasize paying attention to the internal balance of all the organs, tissues, and fluids, even when the injuries are external.

I opened my bag of tricks and pulled out an herbal liniment, an herbal cream, a porcelain spoon, and a moxa stick (a cigar-shaped bundle of powdered mugwort). I managed to get Mike on his side with his back toward me and his knees bent and cushioned by several pillows. On the inflamed muscles in his lower back, I vigorously applied the aromatic herbal liniment, which contained warming and ­dispersing essential oils such as ginger, cinnamon, wintergreen, and American calamus (Acorus calamus, also called sweet flag). For about 10 minutes, I worked it in with moderately deep, long kneading motions to encourage the circulation of blood and qi (vital energy). I used an alcohol­-based liniment, which is best for acute conditions such as Mike’s because the alcohol evaporates, helping eliminate heat and promote good immunity and blood circulation for quick repair.

6/10/2014 6:31:29 AM

Back pain is a huge problem for myself and so many others. Ensuring you keep a correct posture throughout daily tasks is important otherwise you may cause some long-term damage that takes a lot of chiropractic work to make better. When looking for there were plenty out there, but my clinic provided the highest standard of quality and service.

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