Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Natural Backache Relief

Cycling, walking and running can all put extra stress on your back.
I know a lot of athletes say, "Go big or go home" but sometimes that may mean going home with a backache. After a somewhat dormant winter, our muscles seem to rebel against any unfamiliar stretching.  All the same, here are some natural muscle soothers that I have used over the years to avoid "back talk".

Stretch After You've Warmed Up
Aggressive stretching right before you've had a chance to warm up isn't the best idea. Your muscles are cold and will not appreciate being coaxed and elongated. Skip it. If you are out for an hour, you can do a bit of stretching at the 30 minute mark.  Save the rest for when you get home.

In The Drops or Not
This is obviously when you are bicycling and try to get low in the drops. Spend only about 30 seconds down at a time until you back is able to take longer times.  Better still, invest in a set of aero bars. They make such a difference and allow your back and upper body to take a break while cutting through the wind. 

Back Stretches
Try ab specific exercises as part of your x-training
The best way to stretch out the spaces between your vertebrae and ease the muscle tension is to lay flat on the floor with your legs up on a chair at a 90 degree angle. Dig your heels into the cushion and lift your buttocks off the floor for a count of 10.

Tone Your Abs
Your abdominal muscles support your back muscles so keep them in shape with planks and other exercises to include your obliques.

Limit Your Time Sitting
As a writer, this is one occupational hazard I can't avoid. I have used a voice recognition software program to dictate my last book but spent even more time correcting the computer's mistakes.  If you have to sit, make it point to get up at least every 20 minutes. It has been found that people who sit for long periods of time not only have more back problems but also have a higher mortality rate than less sedentary folks.

Dietary Helps for a Backache

Curamin by Terry Naturally quells inflammation
Curamin vs NSAIDS
I used to take Celebrex on a limited basis but eventually decided the risks were not worth the relief. I did a bit of research on natural anti-inflammatories and found Curamin which is a highly concentrated and bioavailable form of Tumeric.  Within about 3 months of using this supplement, I was completely off the Rx medication.

I also make sure to eat anti-inflammatory foods like ginger, tart cherries, salmon and others to keep flare ups at bay. There is an even more powerful form of this supplement call CuraMed which I use if I've over-done it.

Topical Soothers
I'll be the first to admit that I can not stand the scent of menthol, camphor or any other strong rubbing salves. Well, maybe a little embrocation on my legs every now and then but otherwise, NO.

Topricin Homeopathic Cream
If I'm especially sore, I take a warm bath in Epsom Salt or Dead Sea Salts and follow up with a generous slathering of Topricin which is completely odor free and non-greasy. I put my body through a lot and often start the day with a Topricin rub even before I get rolling.

Red LED Light Therapy
I have used this treatment for my shoulder, lower back and elbow as it gives drug-free relief from most strains and sprains. The powerful LED lights penetrate below the skin to help bring healing at the cellular level. The unit I have has a large panel that can be placed right next to the skin.  Usually 20 minutes is enough as I set it to cycle between frequencies. I recommend getting a unit that has a larger area of LED lights so you can treat multiple zones all at once. I place it against my lower back and set my iPod's timer to between 15-20 minutes.  It's very soothing and offers lasting relief. 
Red LED Light Therapy Panels like these cover and treat larger areas like your back.

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