Back pain: Reduce soreness and joint inflammation with peppermint essential oil | Health | Life & Style
Back pain in the lower back is particularly common, but other places people experience it include the upper back, and on their left and right hand side.
In the majority of cases, the pain is not caused by anything serious and will usually get better over time.
A GP can examine your back and recommend the best form of treatment. Painkillers and certain exercises are usually recommended.
But some health experts say essential oils are the best way to reduce inflammation.
One essential oil in particular nutritionist Dr Josh Axe recommends, is peppermint oil.
On his site it states: “Peppermint and wintergreen oil are effective analgesics that cool inflamed joints and reduce back pain.
“You can mix these oils with coconut oil and rub onto joints or make a homemade muscle rub.”
Frankincense and cypress oil are also said to inflammation and improve circulation, which improves back pain.
The NHS has four tips that may help reduce your backache and speed up your recovery.
The first, is to stay as active as possible and try to continue your daily activities – this is one of the most important things you can do, as resting for long periods is likely to make the pain worse.
The health body also recommends trying exercises and stretches for back pain; other activities such as walking, swimming, yoga and pilates may also be helpful.
It also recommends anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen – but remember to check the medicine is safe for you to take first and ask a pharmacist if you’re not sure.
Hot or cold compression packs for short-term relief could also help – you can buy these from your local pharmacy, or a hot water bottle and bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth will work just as well.
The NHS adds: “Although it can be difficult, it helps if you stay optimistic and recognise that your pain should get better, as people who manage to stay positive despite their pain tend to recover quicker.”
One thing back pain can make especially challenging is sleep.
According to National Sleep Foundation, people who have chronic pain get an average 42 fewer minutes of sleep a night than they need and only 37 per cent report good or very good sleep quality.
But the organisation suggests the perfect sleep position for back pain sufferers.
On its website it advises: “Try to avoid resting on your stomach, as this puts more strain on your spine.
“The best way to orient yourself? On your back.”
But to make the position even more comfortable, it says you can take the pressure off your spine by placing a pillow under your knees (and, if you’d like, a small pillow or towel rolled up under the arch of your back).
It adds: “If you prefer to sleep on your side, put a pillow between your legs.”