Upper back pain isn’t always a sign of aging as many other factors can lead to it. Improper posture, sedentary lifestyle and weight gain, underlying health issues and even excess exercise can cause upper or middle back pain. Let us study some pain relief exercises, dietary changes and simple remedies to get rid of upper back pain at home-while sleeping or working.
1. Oil massages
Massaging the upper and middle back before bedtime is the best natural cure for upper and middle back pain. You can use any massage lotion or oil though coconut oil is the best. The high lauric acid content of coconut oil relieves muscular tension and knots and fights inflammation. Massage the warm oil on the aching areas for 5 minutes in gentle circular motion. You can enhance this therapy by adding pain-relieving essential oils like Wintergreen, Peppermint, Eucalyptus or Lavender etc to the oil.
2. Drink apple cider vinegar
Upper back pain relief symptoms stem due to inflammation caused by acidic foods. To alkalize the body, drink organic apple cider vinegar. A couple of tablespoons of raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar taken first thing each morning will balance the body’s ph and fight inflammation. You can mix the vinegar with water, honey or juice to make it more palatable.
3. Take anti-inflammatory herbs
Following herbal remedies can fight back pain:
- Cayenne pepper-The capsaicin found in cayenne pepper fights inflammation and is also an ingredient found in many pain relieving balms and creams. Take cayenne pepper extracts daily (pills are available readily and you can take them as per label instructions). You may also add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to water and drink it.
- Turmeric– This herb has powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. Take the pills or powder daily.
- Others-Ginger and garlic are also good herbs to include in daily diet.
4. Get moving
Often people believe that back pain will get resolved with extended rest. This thinking is not right. Extended rest promotes weakness of muscles and decreases flexibility. So try to stay active even in the active initial stages of pain. Yoga, walking and swimming are some good exercises to follow.
5. Upper back pain relief exercises
Here are some upper back pain relief exercises:
Cat and Camel pose (this is also middle back pain relief exercise)
- Get on your hands and knees.
- Arch the back and look down at the floor
- Lower the stomach towards the floor and hollow the back while looking up
- Repeat 10 times
Arm and leg extension
- On all fours, stretch one arm forward in front and the opposite leg out behind.
- Return to original position.
- Perform this upper back pain relief exercise 10 times for both sides.
Back arch or modified Cobra pose
- Lie face down on the floor
- Push the upper body upwards up till the navel. Hands should be under the shoulders resting on forearm.
- Keep the pelvis on the ground and raise only your back till the navel.
- You can keep elbows locked in at 90 degrees or straighten them.
6. Keep legs elevated
This is the best thing to do for relieving upper and middle back pain at home. Elevate the legs at night and while resting. This position minimizes pressure on the spine.
7. Hot compress
Make a hot compress with an old sock filled with 3-4 cups of rice or other grains. Microwave the grain filled (sealed) sock for 2-3 minutes. Carefully press the hot sock on aching areas of the upper back. You can also rub some peppermint oil on the back and then apply the compress over it.
Stretching is one of the best upper back pain relief exercises to do daily. Lie on the floor and stretch arms, legs and back. You can place the legs like a scissor and stretch as much as you are comfortable.
DMSO is dimethyl sulfoxide. It is a FDA approved treatment for cystitis and urinary tract infections (UTI). Washing the bladder with DMSO can relieve back pain caused by UTI. Many sufferers have been relieved from upper and middle back pain by taking DMSO mixed with coconut oil in 50:50 ratio. Some side effects of DMSO include skin dryness, headaches, nausea, constipation etc. If these occur, discontinue use.
MSM is methylsulfonylmethane. Research has shown that it can improve joint health and prevent aches and pains. You can take MSM powder internally and apply it topically. Just add ½ to 1 tsp MSM to a glass of water and drink it twice a day before meals. Also massage coconut oil mixed with MSM on the painful areas.
11. Use splints, braces and heel lifts
Based on the cause of upper back pain, you can use back posture correction belts or braces and splints to relieve upper back pain while sleeping. Likewise, heel lifts can help correct heel injuries and other issues that trigger middle or upper back pain. Posture correction braces are especially wonderful for upper back muscle pain between shoulder blades.
12. Lifestyle changes
Here is a list of lifestyle and dietary changes that can help:
- Eliminate dairy completely
- Do oil pulling every day. Oil pulling eliminates toxins from the body and relieves inflammation.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration could be one of the causes of upper back pain symptoms.
- Every once in a month, do a detox fast.
- Perform sun salutations or suryanamaskar yoga every morning.
Use these remedies to get rid of upper back pain at home.