Back pain plagues humankind. Almost everyone experiences a twinge now and again. Others are laid low for weeks, barely able to walk or to ride in a car without excruciating pain. Believe it or not, physicians still do not really know what causes acute low back pain. And there is a great deal of controversy about the best way to deal with this problem. A few decades ago, health professionals told people to rest and avoid moving for days or even weeks. Today, unless there is a herniated disc or other anatomical complication involved, doctors usually encourage patients to move gently as soon as possible after a back spasm wears off. Some back experts criticize practitioners who perform spinal manipulation. Others think manipulation is about the only approach that makes any sense. We refuse to enter the fray. But we do offer some home remedies that are less likely to cause complications than more invasive approaches (such as back surgery). Of course, if acute lower back pain is accompanied by other symptoms, such as urinary control issues or numbness and tingling, we encourage a workup by a qualified back specialist.
I’ve suffered from severe lower back pain since 1964, when I was 14. In 1972, I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, fourth degree. In 1980 and 1986 I had surgical procedures to fuse my spine into place. In 2004, I was told my spine had slipped again; I had scoliosis and osteoarthritis in the spine and pelvis. Then, last year, I read your book Best Choices from the People’s Pharmacy and began the Mediterranean diet at the beginning of September. I stopped taking Celebrex at that time. After three weeks, I was able to move my shoulders freely, despite previous bursitis, and no longer had pain in my spine and pelvis. When I stopped taking Lipitor, the muscle and nerve pains and the tingling in my extremities disappeared. I’ve been able to stop taking all medication for any sort of pain since December. Besides the freedom from pain, I love the feeling of well-being I’ve gained. I’ve shared the information with my cousins and friends and have given the title of your book to fellow patients I’ve met in the pharmacy or at clinics at the Princess Margaret Hospital here in Nassau.
We are delighted that the anti-inflammatory benefits of the Mediterranean diet have relieved the pain from your serious back condition. This diet can also help prevent heart disease.
I have a degeneration of the L4 and L5 on my spine. The pain doctors wanted to make me a walking zombie with pain meds. Instead, I began adding one-quarter teaspoon of turmeric to scrambled eggs. That was four years ago. I am pain free and able to get out of bed, walk, and live a normal and drug-free life. It took about three weeks before I experienced a drop in my pain level. Have faith and patience.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience and remedy. Following your suggestion, we found scrambled eggs a great way to get a dose of turmeric.
Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic