Back Pain & Willow Bark

See the JKL Herbal Guide for more info about Willow Bark
This Issue


Back pains can be excruciating due to the nerves that are located in back muscles.

The muscles of the back are capable of being much more painful than other muscles in the body due to their complexity and immediate location to the spinal cord. Fortunately, back pain is usually benign in origin, however, it can also be caused by something serious, so it is always wise to consult with your physician prior to commencing any remedies.

1. BED STRETCH: a) Lay on your back. b) Bring your right knee up toward your chest slowly and as far as is comfortable for you. c) Put your hands on your shin and hold this position for 10-20 seconds. d) Slowly return to your original position and repeat the procedure with the left leg. e) Perform this maneuver 5-6 times in the morning prior to getting out of bed and at night prior to going to sleep.

2. RELIEF FOR LONG TERM SITTING: a) Lay on your back, bend your knees and maintain a position where your feet are flat on the floor. b) Grab your right thigh with your hands and slowly pull it toward the chest … keep the other leg bent slightly. Remember, do not cause any pain. c) Hold this pose for 10-20 seconds, return to your original position and perform this maneuver with the opposite leg.

3. SITTER'S STRETCH: If your are able to perform the second stretch above then modify it by holding your inactive leg straight (but not locked) … place a towel around your thigh and pull it toward your chest. Remember, stop if the pain worsens.

4. STEP STRETCH: a) Stand on the bottom step of a staircase. b) Steady yourself by holding the handrail. c) Stand on the balls of your feet with your heel hanging off the edge of the step. d) Allow your own weight to push your heels below the level of the step for the purpose of stretching out calf … remain in this position for one minute. e) Perform this maneuver multiple times until you feel the muscles of the calf relax.

5. DIAPHRAGM BREATHING: Nothing will calm you down and relax muscles faster than a few good "belly breaths".. a) Place your hand on the area between your rib cage and stomach. b) Breath in deeply through your nose and make a conscious effort to make your stomach expand outward. Imagine that you have a balloon in your stomach and the air is inflating it. c) Slowly allow the air to release and feel your hand fall with the expiration of breath. Near the end of the breath count slowly as the air gently escapes and allow it to come to a natural pause. d) Continue this method of breathing for 2-3 minutes.

6. YOGA POSITION: During a severe course of back pain, muscle spasms (contractions) occur in the muscles on both sides of the spine in the vicinity of the waist. Blood circulation is cut off to these muscles (due to the contractions) and they become tender and tight. a) Position yourself on the floor laying on your back. Place a rolled up towel under your neck and a few towels under your head. b) Place your calves on the seat of a chair maintaining a 90 degree angle between your calves and thighs. c) Place your arms at your side with the palms facing upward … do not touch your body with your arms. d) Maintain this position for 5-10 minutes while performing the diaphragm breathing exercise (described above) for 2-3 minutes. e) Upon completion, prevent the return of the spasms by rolling onto one side and relaxing there for one minute prior to pushing yourself up into a sitting position.

7. LIP ACUPRESSURE FOR THE BACK: a) Use the tip of a mechanical pencil to apply pressure between your nose and upper lip. b) Maintain deep pressure for a few seconds and then release. c) Perform this manuever 5-10 times … until the pain releases.

8. ACHILLES ACUPRESSURE FOR THE BACK: a) Place the pencil between your Achilles tendon and inner anklebone. b) Maintain deep pressure for a few seconds and release. c) Repeat 5-10 times.

9. SMALL FINGER PRESSURE FOR THE BACK: a) Turn your hand into a fist and locate the spot next to the small finger where the skin folds and bulges. b) Apply deep pressure with the pencil and hold for several seconds … then release. c) Repeat 5-10 times.

10. VALERIAN ROOT: The stress and tension that causes back pain can be lessened with the herb, "valerian root" because it inhibits the stress transmissions from the brain to the body. Often, people get back pain when they are in stressful situations and the best way to use the valerian root is to take it prior to the back pain setting in and continue using it for the duration of the stressful time period.

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