Friday, June 29, 2012

Back Pain

When our bodies are under stress they react as to any other threat, tightening muscles and pushing us into fight-or-flight mode. Depending on history and genetics that may cause other things, such as muscle pain.

The simplest solution might be to find the source of the stress and eliminate it, but unfortunately eliminating stress from our lives is a lost cause. Mitigating the stress, finding other outlets, would be next, but that has to wait until the immediate symptoms have been taken care of.

Flat on your back, fighting pain with every breath is not the ideal time for starting a new hobby.

Identify the cause of the pain. You might have thrown your back out, but why? Often this kind of injury wouldn't have happened if the muscles weren't already tight from stress.

Second, identify the true source of the pain. Is it physical damage? Is it muscles? Bones? Joints? If the pain comes in waves it might be a simple muscle-spasm problem and taking an anti-spasmodic or muscle relaxant might be the solution to at least get you on your feet. If it's constant, it may be swelling around the nerves and an anti-inflammatory would be your best bet.

There are a number of herbs that work as muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories. Most of them are relatively safe and can be taken in large doses if necessary. This includes most of the mints, but specifically

1 part chamomile
3 parts lemon balm
2 parts catnip
1 part thyme.

Just be careful combining them. When I threw my back out (not the first time, and not the last) I started taking chamomile and thyme on top of an ibuprofen and acetominaphen cocktail and it actually made the muscle spasms worse. Taking the herbs alone was not a problem, it was only when I took them with the pharmaceuticals.

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