1. Massage can help ease stiff neck

    The best way to beat pain yet

    Any excuse for a massage is a good one. The healing hands of a skilled masseuse can stimulate the immune system, spur healing and ease pain.

    And if you're suffering from a stiff neck or back problems, regular massage sessions will often ease pain better than drugs and will do it without side effects (unless you count general relaxation and overall good feeling as a "side effect").

    It's been backed by science before, and now new research shows how massage is especially effective at fighting off chronic neck pain.

    In the age of computers, tablets and cell phones the majority of us spend a good part of our day with our head bent over one electronic device or another. And many of us have the stiff neck pain to prove it.

    In the new study, patients with stiff neck pain who had hour-long sessions three times a week were nearly five times more likely to enjoy noticeable improvements in function and twice as likely to have meaningful drops in pain levels as patients who didn't get massages.

    The key is in that timing and frequency, because shorter massages less often won't give you nearly as much of a benefit. In addition, be sure to get your massages from a professional who has been trained in therapeutic massage.

    In other words, 20 minutes in a booth at the local mall won't cut it. And don't rely on an untrained (but well-meaning) friend, either, because a poorly done massage can actually do more harm than good.

    While massage alone will often ease pain, don't stop there. For neck, back and muscle pain, massage combined with heat and stretching exercises can lead to even more relief.

    In addition, consider other nondrug therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care and cold laser. And for short-term pain relief, try natural anti-inflammatories such as turmeric, MSM and bromelain.

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  2. Cure back pain with natural anti-inflammatories

    Natural relief for back pain

    So you've tried everything and still can't get any relief for your back pain. That's the story I hear nearly every day.

    And if you're like most of my first-time patients, "everything" includes a whole lot of drugs and injections... but none of the real natural solutions like natural anti-inflammatories that have proven to work time and again.

    Ask a conventional medicine doctor about them, and he'll sniff and call them "unproven" or even "ineffective," without even a shred of irony. After all, this is coming from a guy who keeps prescribing drugs that don't work.

    So ignore his dismissals and try something that'll work for a change.

    I suggest starting with natural anti-inflammatories such as turmeric, MSM and bromelain. That conventional medicine doctor who won't even talk about these options will also admit they work -- indirectly. After all, the treatments he's pushing all attack or attempt to attack inflammation.

    With natural anti-inflammatories, you're attacking the same cause -- but these options are much safer, and far more effective.

    In addition to natural anti-inflammatories, try some of the non-drug treatments and therapies that can work wonders for back pain. Natural injections utilizing your own growth factors (known as platelet rich plasma) or ozone can have some amazing benefits. I've also seen great results with cold laser treatments on the area of the injury.

    And everyone loves a good massage, right? In one study, 10 weeks of regular massage not only helped bring more relief than "usual care," but those benefits lasted for a full four months after the massages ended.

    Both chiropractic and acupuncture have also proven in studies to help reduce or even eliminate the pain. In some cases, they will require multiple sessions before the benefit kicks in, so be sure to stay with them.

    And finally, don't forget the power of a good stretch. You'll find some stretching exercises online you can do on your own at home.

    On their own, each of these treatments could limit or end the pain. But many people may find better results by mixing and matching these treatments. It may take a little time before you find what works best for you, but it's worth the effort.

  3. Massage beats pain meds

    In the mood for a massage? Go ahead -- treat yourself, especially if you're suffering from back pain. Not only will that massage help bring you the relief you've been looking for, but a new study finds that it's actually more effective than pain meds.
  4. X-rays rarely uncover back pain source

    The simple reality is that these images will almost never uncover the real source of your problem--but they're pretty good at spotting a source of income for your orthopedist, because a new study shows how they often lead to surgeries that don't actually end the pain.
  5. Massage can awaken the immune system

    Nothing beats a good massage when it comes to beating back the stresses of life--but those relaxing sessions beneath a powerful set of hands can do more than just help you unwind.

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