massage

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    And the only side effects are an hour of pure, blissful relaxation.

    Researchers recruited 401 chronic back pain patients between the ages of 20 and 65 and divided them into three groups: relaxation massage (aka Swedish massage), structural massage, and "usual care."

    That last one, of course, refers to the drugs and physical therapy your own doctor probably recommends -- but if you've
    been down that road, you know where it leads.

    Nowhere.

    That's why "usual care" may as well be called "useless care."

    After 10 weeks, a third of the patients in both massage groups said the pain had improved or vanished, versus just one in 25 of the "useless care" patients. Those who got the massages also spent less time in bed, engaged in more activity, and used fewer meds.

    The massages ended at that 10-week mark, but the benefits didn't: The researchers say the patients still enjoyed significant improvements at the 26-week mark -- or nearly four months after their last massage, according to the study in The Annals of Internal Medicine.

    At 52 weeks, there weren't many benefits left... but I'd venture to guess that's because the patients were 42 weeks removed from their last massage.

    Get them back on the table, and I'm sure they'd perk right up.

    Others studies have found that massage can improve function and movement and reduce pain in back patients -- but that's not all a set of strong hands can do for you.

    The benefits aren't even limited to your back.

    One study last year found that massage caused a real and measurable boost in immune system function: Just 45 minutes led to a higher white blood cell count. More white blood cells means your body is better able to fight illness and disease.

    That same study also found, as you might expect, that massage led to lower levels of stress hormones and higher levels of the "hugging hormone" oxytocin.

    Less pain, less stress, feels great -- do you need another excuse?

    I don't -- I'm going to finish up here. I've got a massage to schedule.

  3. 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.
  4. 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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