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Today's Natural Healing Health Tips

Natural Healing, Health & Well-BeingFebruary 11, 2016
5 Natural Ways To Beat Back Pain
By Shilpi Agarwal, MD
You probably don’t know it, but you and Paula Abdul have more in common than you think! You are both part of the 65 million Americans affected by back pain. The good news is 95 percent of cases involving back pain do not require surgical treatment. As we age, lower back pain becomes increasingly more and more common. Not to mention, muscle elasticity and bone strength decrease over time, leaving your back vulnerable to strain and injury.
5 Ways to Naturally Treat Your Pain
Practice yoga. Holding downward dog for five to ten seconds can help stretch your back muscles. This motion reduces pressure that can build up in the lower spine and cause pain. Remember to also tilt the pelvis under to avoid any further lower back strain. Pigeon pose is another great posture for backaches. Hip muscles can quickly become tight and shift strain to the back. Stretching out hip flexors and extensors can alleviate back pressure and pain.
Use capsaicin cream. Capsaicin is a substance found in chili peppers. When used medicinally it helps reduces the amount of substance P, a neurotransmitter that leads to pain impulses in the brain. One study showed that after 3 weeks of capsaicin use, patients had a significant reduction in pain. To use: apply topically, at least twice per day, for maximum relief. The warm sensation also allows you to stretch and move without pain.
Get some exercise. You may be tempted to stay in bed when your back acts up, but exercise and activity can actually help you heal faster and reduce pain. A study of 240 men and women found that regular exercise reduced pain by 28 percent and disability by 36 percent. Low impact, moderate intensity exercise is the safest option. Avoid movements that trigger pain or require excessive jumping or squatting, which can exacerbate injuries. Take two to three minutes at the end of your workout to stretch your back thoroughly. Lie flat on your back and hug your knees to release any tension that developed during your workout.
Try acupuncture. Research suggests that acupuncture can help reduce chronic low back pain. One recent review showed that actual acupuncture was more effective than simulated acupuncture or no treatment in reducing pain. It’s not entirely known how acupuncture regulates pain; however, one theory suggests acupuncture helps trigger the release of pain reducing chemicals in the body (like endorphins and natural opioids). Back pain is one of the most common reasons patients first try acupuncture and many find sustained relief.
Lose excess weight. As we gain weight, stress and pressure on the lower spine and back muscles increases. The heavy weight at the front of the body can cause an increased arch in the spine and may lead to injury and compression of the discs and nerves. Losing weight reduces the tendency to arch the back and relieves pressure on the lower spine and nerves.
If your back pain is persistent or excruciating, you should see your chiropractor.
Ouch! How to get rid of back pain naturally
Almost everyone has back pain at some point in his or her lives. According to the National Institutes of Health, back pain is the second most common neurological disorder in the United States—only headache is more common.
If you have back pain, the first step is to be properly assessed by your primary care provider. Back pain has many causes, from muscle strain to more serious conditions such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, spondylosisthesis, osteoporosis, or a tumor, so it's important to find out what is causing the back pain.


A study conducted at Sheffield University in the United Kingdom looked at the long-term symptom reduction and economic benefits of acupuncture for persistent low back pain. Averages of eight acupuncture treatments were given to 159 people, while 80 people received usual care instead.  After one year, people receiving acupuncture had reduced pain and reported a significant reduction in worry about their pain compared to the usual care group. After two years, the acupuncture group was significantly more likely to report that the past year had been pain-free. They were less likely to use medication for pain relief.
How does acupuncture work?
According to traditional Chinese medicine, pain results from blocked energy along energy pathways of the body, which are unblocked when acupuncture needles are inserted along these invisible pathways.
A scientific explanation is that acupuncture releases natural pain-relieving opioids, sends signals that calm the sympathetic nervous system, and releases neurochemicals and hormones.
An acupuncture treatment generally costs between $60 and $120. Acupuncture is tax-deductible (it's considered a medical expense) and some insurance plans pay for acupuncture.
If you want to try acupuncture, plan on going one to three times a week for several weeks initially.

Capsaicin Cream

Although you may not have heard of capsaicin (pronounced cap-SAY-sin) before, if you've ever eaten a chili pepper and felt your mouth burn, you know exactly what capsaicin does. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers.
When it is applied to the skin, capsaicin has been found to deplete substance P--a neurochemical that transmits pain--causing an analgesic effect.
In one double-blind study, 160 people were treated with capsaicin for 3 weeks, while another 160 people used a placebo. After 3 weeks, pain was reduced by 42% in the capsaicin group compared to 31% in the placebo group. Investigators rated capsaicin significantly more effective than placebo.
Capsaicin cream, also called capsicum cream, is available in drug stores, health food stores, and online. A typical dosage is 0.025% capsaicin cream applied four times a day.
The most common side effect is a stinging or burning sensation in the area. If possible, wear disposable gloves (available at drugstores) before applying the cream. Be careful not to touch the eye area or open skin. A tube or jar of capsaicin cream typically costs between $8 and $25.
  • Capsaicin cream

Vitamin D

Chronic muscle pain can be a symptom of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is found in fish with small bones, fortified milk and cereal, and exposure to sunlight. Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency are:
  • Darker pigmented skin (e.g. Hispanic, African American, Asian) does not convert UV rays efficiently to vitamin D
  • Digestive disorders, such as celiac disease
  • Use of glucocorticoid medications for conditions such as lung diseases and allergies
  • Minimal sun exposure (elderly, institutionalized, homebound, veiled or heavily-clothed individuals)
  • Latitude and season - for example, people in Boston do not produce vitamin D from sun exposure between November and February
A study by the University of Minnesota looked at the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in 150 people with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Researchers found that 93% of patients had vitamin D deficiency. All people with darker pigmented skin (African American, East African, Hispanic, and Native American origin) had vitamin D deficiency.
Another interesting finding was that the majority of people with severe vitamin D deficiency were under 30 years of age. Season was not a significant factor.  The researchers concluded that all people with persistent, non-specific musculoskeletal pain should be screened for vitamin D deficiency.

Music Therapy

Music therapy is a low-cost natural therapy that has been found to reduce the disability, anxiety, and depression associated with chronic pain.  A study evaluated the influence of music therapy in hospitalized patients with chronic back pain. Researchers randomized 65 patients to receive, on alternate months, physical therapy plus 4 music therapy sessions or physical therapy alone.  Music therapy significantly reduced disability, anxiety, and depression. Music had an immediate effect on reducing pain, although the results were not statistically significant.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 has been found to relieve low back pain. A double-blind Italian study examined the safety and effectiveness of vitamin B12 for low back pain. People who received vitamin B12 showed a statistically significant reduction in pain and disability. They also used less pain medication than the placebo group.  Besides pain, other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are numbness and tingling, irritability, mild memory impairment, and depression.
Risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency are:
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Medications (stomach acid­-blocking medications)
  • Inadequate intake of meat or dairy products
  • Infection (small intestine bacterial overgrowth, parasites)
  • Digestive diseases (stomach removal surgery, celiac disease, Crohn's disease
Vitamin B12 muscle injections are the standard treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency. Studies have found vitamin B12 sublingual tablets (placed under the tongue for absorption) and nasal gels are also effective.


Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It's involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.  Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:
  • muscle spasms
  • pain
  • premenstrual syndrome
  • irritability, depression
  • insulin resistance
  • high blood pressure
  • irregular heart rhythms
  • heart disease
A German study found that mineral supplements increased intracellular magnesium levels by 11% and was associated with a reduction in pain symptoms in 76 out of 82 people with chronic low back pain.
Willow Bark
The bark of the white willow tree (Salix alba) has pain-relieving properties similar to aspirin. An ingredient in white willow bark, called salicin, is converted in the body to salicylic acid (aspirin is also converted to salicylic acid once in the body). Salicylic acid is believed to be the active compound that relieves pain and inflammation.
A number of studies have compared white willow to medication or placebo:
  • A University of Sydney study compared the effects of willow bark extract to refecoxib, a Cox-2 inhibitor pain medication. In the study, 114 patients received an herbal extract containing 240 mg of salicin and 114 received 12.5 mg of refecoxib every day. After four weeks, both groups had a comparable reduction in pain.
  • A study in the American Journal of Medicine examined 191 patients with an exacerbation of chronic low back pain. They were randomly assigned to receive a willow bark extract with either 120 mg (low-dose) or 240 mg (high-dose) of salicin, or placebo. In the fourth week of treatment, 39% of people receiving the high-dose extract were pain-free, 21% receiving the low-dose were pain-free, and 6% of people receiving the placebo were pain-free. People in the high-dose group improved after 

Yoga for Back Pain

Yoga creates balance in the body through various poses that develop flexibility and strength. A study of people with chronic mild low back pain compared Iyengar yoga to back education. After 16 weeks, there was a significant reduction in pain intensity, disability, and reliance on pain medication in the yoga group. Benefits were also seen at three month follow up assessments.
Another study compared yoga, conventional exercise, and a self care book for people with chronic low back pain. Back function in the yoga group was superior to the book and exercise groups at 12 weeks. Although there was no difference in symptoms at 12 weeks, at 26 weeks, the yoga group was superior to the book group.
  • Find a yoga class near you
  • More about Iyengar yoga
  • Other yoga styles
  • How to start doing yoga

Bowen Therapy

Bowen therapy is a type of gentle bodywork that was developed in Australia by osteopath Tom Bowen (1916-1982). Bowen therapy is more widely used in Australia and Europe, but it has been growing in popularity in North America.
Bowen therapists use a series of specialized "moves" using their fingers and thumbs. The moves typically involve the therapist pulling the skin slack away from the muscle, applying pressure, and then quickly releasing the tension.
These moves are performed on precise areas of muscles where special receptors are located. Nerve impulses are sent to the brain, resulting in muscle relaxation and reduction of pain.
The moves are not continuous - the therapist allows the client to rest for a few minutes between each move. A typical treatment is between 30 to 40 minutes.

Breathing Techniques

Breathing techniques that make use of the mind-body connection have been found to reduce pain. These techniques integrate body awareness, breathing, movement, and meditation. What's great about breathing techniques is that you can do them yourself at home at no cost.
One study compared 6-8 weeks (12 sessions) of breath therapy to physical therapy. Patients improved significantly with breath therapy. Changes in standard low back pain measures of pain and disability were comparable to those resulting from high quality, extended physical therapy. Breath therapy was found to be safe. Other benefits of breath therapy were improved coping skills and new insight into the effect of stress on the body.

Massage Therapy

When many people have back aches and pain, the first thing they think of is massage. Studies have found that massage may be effective for subacute and chronic pain. It has also been found to reduce anxiety and depression associated with chronic pain. Massage therapy is the most popular therapy for low back pain during pregnancy.  


Back pain is one of most common reasons people see a chiropractor. Doctors of chiropractic use chiropractic spinal manipulation to restore joint mobility. They manually apply a controlled force to joints that have become restricted by muscle injury, strain, inflammation, and pain. Manipulation is believed to relieve pain and muscle tightness and encourage healing.
A study published in the Spine Journal examined manipulations compared to simulated manipulations in 102 people with back pain and/or radiating pain. The researchers found that active manipulations were more effective at reducing acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion.

Alexander Technique

Alexander technique teaches people to improve their posture and eliminate bad habits such as slouching, which can lead to pain, muscle tension, and decreased mobility. This technique was created by Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), an Australian actor who learned how to correct hoarseness in his voice by improving his posture.
You can learn Alexander technique in private sessions or group classes. A typical session lasts about 45 minutes. During that time, the instructor notes the way you carry yourself and coaches you with verbal instruction and gentle touch.


Prolotherapy addresses damaged ligaments (bands of connective tissue that help keep bones attached to each other) to relieve chronic musculoskeletal pain. How does it work?
Tendons and ligaments in the back often do not heal completely after injury. Bones of the spine become less stable, which can lead to chronic pain.
Prolotherapy involves the injection of a liquid solution into soft tissues such as ligaments and tendons. This triggers local inflammation and triggers the body's natural healing response which repairs the weakened soft tissues and relieves pain. Unlike drugs, prolotherapy is thought to address the underlying problem.
After locating the areas that require treatment, the doctor inserts a thin needle with the solution into the area. There is often mild pain, but it can be reduced by using a local anaesthetic. A typical course of treatment is 10 to 25 sessions for back pain. Since it is believed to repair the joint, no other treatment is necessary.
Preliminary studies have found that back pain, which often involves ligament injury, responds particularly well to prolotherapy. It is the position of the American Association of Orthopedic Medicine that prolotherapy is a safe and effective therapy for the treatment of selected cases of low back pain and other chronic myofascial pain syndromes. Prolotherapy injections must be administered by a medical doctor (M.D.), osteopath (D.O.) or by a state-licensed naturopathic doctor (N.D.) in certain states.


Balneotherapy is one of the oldest therapies for pain relief. The term "balneo" comes from the Latin word, balneum, meaning bath. Balneotherapy is a form of hydrotherapy that involves bathing in mineral water or warm water.
  • A study compared bathing in mineral water to plain tap water in 60 people with low back pain. They found that mineral water containing sulphur was superior in reducing pain and improving mobility compared with tap water.
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the journal Rheumatology assessed spa therapy and balneotherapy for low back pain. The researchers found that the data suggest beneficial effects compared to control groups. They concluded that the results were encouraging and that large-scale trials were warranted.
Dead Sea salts and other sulphur-containing bath salts can be found in spas, health food stores, and online.
People with heart conditions should not use balneotherapy unless under the supervision of their primary care provider.
  • Other natural therapies for back pain are:
  • White willow bark
  • Exercise
  • Pilate’s
  • Feldenkrais Method
  • Hellerwork
  • Trager Approach
  • Rolfing
  • Aston-patterning
  • Reflexology
  • Proteolytic enzymes
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Back Pain and Dehydration
  • Anti-inflammatory Diet
To learn more about natural treatments, acupuncture and chiropractic care or to schedule an appointment, call our office today to speak with Dr. Michael Chillemi at (973) 759-3020. 
Everything You Need To Know About Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy
Author: Dr. Jonathan Donath, DC, MS
Also available as a paperback at Amazon and other sites; ISBN: 978-0986128158, $19.95 164 pages
This 164-page book on natural neck and back pain relief was very intriguing. Packed with knowledge, effective information and the element of surprise, I especially enjoyed reading the facts and research scattered throughout the book. 
I found this book to be very informative and educational filled jam-packed with constructive insight on how to prevent, treat, and overcome neck and back pain using non-surgical spinal decompression therapy. 
Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy a type of motorized traction that relieves back and neck pain. Spinal decompression works by gently stretching the spine. That changes the force and position of the spine. This change takes pressure off the spinal disks, which are gel-like cushions between the bones in your spine, by creating negative pressure in the disc. As a result, bulging or herniated disks may retract, taking pressure off nerves and other structures in your spine. This in turn, helps promote movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal.
“Dr. Jonathan Donath’s book, THE NECK & BACK PAIN SOLUTION: Everything You Need To Know About Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy," gave me the capability to understand the importance of an aligned spine, what non-surgical spinal decompression therapy is and how it can treat, heal and prevent back and neck pain naturally.
The information, tools and techniques were clear and concise. The terminology in the book did not go over your head. The book was easy to understand and I thought the illustrations and exercises in the book were outstanding.  
Dr. Jonathan Donath’s natural, alternative approach to healing the body helped me realize that WE control our bodies and we can heal our bodies naturally without the usage of medications, injections and surgeries.
Pharmaceutical drugs may not be your only path to pain relief. Natural pain treatments like non-surgical spinal decompression therapy, has become an increasingly popular way to manage neck and back pain, including many other pain related conditions as well.
In the last decade, the interest in Alternative Medicine has increased to the point that 38% of American adults use some form of complementary or alternative medicine. Worldwide the numbers are much higher. People worldwide are rejecting the notion that expensive synthetic chemical and prescription medications are the only answer to our medical issues and treatment for our ailments.
Instead, they are grasping and utilizing the notion of natural remedies to treat pain. For ages, modern medicine has been well aware that medicines strip the body of vital elements leaving people feeling drowsy, fatigued, weak and prone to allergies, viruses and illness. Spinal Decompression Therapy is all natural, so it does not destroy the necessary components in our body that we need to stay healthy and pain-free.
The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that our health care system itself is the third-leading cause of death in the country.  The study covered a host of causes including, errors, unnecessary surgeries, infections, and side effects of properly prescribed drugs approved by the FDA.  This makes you stop and think and you begin to wonder maybe there is a better way.  This is when my attention to the words in the book deepened and I began to develop a deep focus on how spinal decompression therapy could eliminate pain without having to rely on unnatural solutions that in the long run cause more pain or health problems.
THE NECK & BACK PAIN SOLUTION: Everything You Need To Know About Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy," gave me the capability to understand the importance of an aligned spine, what non-surgical spinal decompression therapy was remarkable.  The book captured my interest and was very educational.  It is packed with loads of useful information about back and neck pain along with easy step-by-step core strengthening exercises and stretches to help treat, reduce and eliminate the pain.  The illustrations made it so easy to do and this book is a great resource to have in your home. 
When you have pain, you cannot function to your ability or capacity.  Pain causes people from doing what they love most and often leads to sadness, anger and depression.  This is why you need to find a healthy solution to get rid of your bad without harming your body.
Dr. Jonathan Donath’s book is an excellent book to help people understand and learn how to prevent, treat and overcome neck and back using non-surgical spinal decompression therapy.  It is packed with phenomenal information and illustrations. I found this book to be informative, motivating and very educational read. This book may be just what the doctor ordered for anyone who has a quest to become pain-free, healthy and maintain optimum health.  I recommend this book to others.
About Dr. Jonathan Donath
Dr. Donath is an expert in non-surgical spinal decompression therapy. This amazing FDA cleared treatment is for the most severe herniated discs, degenerative disc disease and failed back surgery cases. Dr. Donath prides himself on helping patients who thought surgery was their only option.
Dr. Donath is certified and specializes in Active Release Technique (ART). ART is one of the most effective treatments available for treating soft tissue injuries. This hands-on, non-invasive method is designed to break up adhesions and scar tissue that typically result from repetitive stress, overuse, and trauma.
Dr. Donath uses a “whole person approach” when taking care of his patients. By combining the very best hands-on-technique, state of the art physiotherapy procedures, and providing the newest and best natural vitamins and mineral supplements on the market today,  Dr. Donath is successful at relieving pain, restoring function, and enhancing performance in one’s everyday life.
~Author Stacey Chillemi
The Complete Herbal Guide Review Team
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