Whether your back or neck pain is something new or something you’ve been living with for a while, it’s important to find effective pain relief.
While most of our content is based around medical treatments, it's also important to sometimes think outside the box. Below are 5 of the favorite tips for extra pain relief shared by our online community. We hope you’ll see something here that may help!
Readers’ favorite natural pain relievers
- Relax with water therapy
The most mentioned natural pain reliever was water: Swimming in it, bathing in it, and drinking it.
If you’d like to try swimming, you’ll get the added benefit of exercise, which will also boost your endorphins—your own internal pain killers—as part of an aerobic workout. For many, swimming can stress the back or neck. If this is the case for you, water therapy might be an option. Water therapy is exercise done in a warm pool, usually with a qualified instructor. The buoyancy of the water takes stress off your back and joints while adding mild resistance to add to the quality of your workout.
Not up for a swim? Try a warm bath instead. Some people find baths are extra soothing if you add magnesium bath flakes or Epsom salts to your water.
As for staying hydrated, our nutrition articles stress how important it is to the discs in your back that you drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Distract your mind from the pain
- Indulge in treats What’s your favorite treat? Readers mentioned ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate. Perhaps eating your favorite treat, or even planning to eat your favorite dessert, releases a few feel good endorphins. Don’t be afraid to allow yourself a little something every day—especially if it helps!
Many people commented that movies, reading, sewing, music, hypnotherapy, and meditation all helped them deal with their pain by helping them focus on something else, even if it’s just temporary. Other commenters were annoyed by the notion that “taking your mind off the pain” helps, but keep in mind that everyone deals with pain differently. One reader even shared a link to her free Soundcloud hypnotherapy sessions—that's what worked best for her.
Watch: Seated Chair Hamstring Stretch for Low Back Pain Relief Video
- Engage in some form of exercise Many people mentioned walking, yoga, stretching, and swimming as their most effective way to relieve their pain. Yoga emphasizes balance, strength, and breathing—all of which can be beneficial to the health of your spine while helping relax your mind. Walking outdoors can boost your mood and your heart rate, and carefully stretching your hamstrings may help keep your lower back pain to a tolerable level. But check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, as the types of exercises will differ depending on your specific condition (and some exercises may even make it worse).
- Use heat and ice therapy Just placing a heating pad on your lower back can be so soothing, and icing a painful spot can bring temporary relief. It is easy to forget about ice and heat because they are inexpensive and readily available everyday solutions; but don't underestimate how much these can help. Read all about how to get started with heat and ice therapy with these articles:
We’d love to hear what works for you. If we left out your favorite natural pain reliever, add it to the conversation on our forums.