Lower back pain debilitates many on a daily basis. According to the American Chiropractic Association (http://www.acatoday.org/level2_css.cfm?T1ID=13&T2ID=68), there are approximately 31 million people in the United States suffering from lower back pain at any given moment in time. NeurosurgeryToday.org (http://www.neurosurgerytoday.org/what/patient_e/low.asp) states that approximately 50% of those with lower back pain will have a repeat occurrence within a year. These staggering statistics explain why people often seek lower back pain cures.
Doctors usually prescribe narcotics for lower back pain, but due to their addictive nature, lower back pain suffers, in greater numbers, are turning to herbs as a cure for lower back pain. The main cause of lower back pain is injury, which leads to inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. It serves to protect the back from further damage (http://www.neurosurgerytoday.org/what/patient_e/low.asp). Anti-inflammatory herbs are useful in the treatment of pain and inflammation. Several are worth evaluating. These are:
1. White Willow Bark
4. Devil’s Claw
5. St. John’s Wort
White Willow Bark
White willow bark is the aspirin of the herbal world and its use as an anti-inflammatory dates back thousands of years. White willow bark comes from several different type willow trees whose official names are Salix nigra, Salix babylonica, Salix alba, Salix fragilis and Salix purpurea. It contains salicin, which is similar to acetylsalicylic acid—the active ingredient found in aspirin. White willow bark is both an anti-inflammatory and a pain reliever, which is perfect for the lower back. It works in a manner similar to aspirin but without aspirin’s harsh gastrointestinal effects.
Turmeric is popular as a spice for seasoning food, but it has a long history of medicinal use. The official name for turmeric is Curcuma longa. The root or rhizome is the part of the plant with medicinal properties. It contains curcumin. Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory and works well for inflammation of the lower back.
Boswellia is a gum resin obtained from the Boswellia serrata tree. It contains boswellic acid which is a power anti-inflammatory agent. Use of Boswellia originated in the ancient Indian medicine called aryurveda. Research proves that Boswellia decreases inflammation by shrinking inflamed tissues. In India, doctors use it specifically to treat lower back pain.
Devil’s claw is an herb native to the southern regions of Africa. It’s a shrub, and the official name is Harpagophytum procumbens. It contains iridoid gylcosides that have intense anti-inflammatory properties. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center website (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/devils-claw-000237.htm), studies show that devil’s claw effectively relieves chronic lower back pain.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort is well-known as a natural remedy for depression, however it’s also a strong anti-inflammatory. The official name for St. John’s wort is Hypericum perforatum. It’s native to various parts of the world and contains flavonoids along with other components that aid in reducing inflammation.
Though narcotics are often a necessity in treating lower back pain, with a variety of herbs readily available, curing lower back pain does not require a prescription.