Herbal Health Information on Back Pain

There is so much written about back pain that I am not going to pretend to know all the latest research, but tell you my experience of helping patients with back pain to achieve a better quality of life.

My approach is exactly the same as treating arthritic joints as it is usually inflammation of the joints in the vertebrae that causes the pain. In trying to work around an area of pain people often use that particular part of the body wrongly which leads to muscle spasm resulting in more pain and so the cycle continues.

Sadly by the time people who sufferer from pain come to see me they have usually had the condition for many years resulting in possible degeneration (breakdown) of the joint lining and long term muscle spasm. They have a long history of taking strong anti inflammatories, pain killers and possibly steroid use. Pain tells us when to stop doing something and if it is masked then there is a possibility the joint is used beyond its capability causing further damage to the joint itself.

So my first advice is to always be aware of the limitations of a painful area and only use it as much as is comfortable.

Join a specialist back exercise class to teach you how to use your back properly. Most public sports centres run these and there is a possibility that your doctor can refer you and pay for you to go to a class.

Diet is very important but different people find their joints may react to different foods. The norm, is to radically reduce the intake of dairy and wheat and never eat any Tomatoes and Oranges. The acid in these two foods is not broken down by the body so creates an acidic environment which is not good for joints and the urinary system. Many back pain sufferers find eating a lot of high protein foods such as meat and cheese will increase inflammation. The message here is to keep an eye on your diet to see if any foods do make your pain worse. If they do, you may have to visit a nutritionist to cut out these food substances but maintain a healthy diet.

Drink loads of water.


Any inflammatory condition I approach in the same way

  • Ensure the digestive system is working well to break down food and eliminate toxins
  • Improve joint circulation
  • Make sure the urinary system is eliminating metabolic (body function) by-products
  • Reduce inflammation

A typical herbal prescription as a tincture would be:-

  • Dandelion root, which improves digestive function and elimination of toxins via the Bowel.
  • Ginger, (very small amounts) to improve circulation to the joints
  • Celery seed, (small amounts) to improve uric acid excretion from the kidneys as well as having anti rheumatic properties.
  • Meadowsweet, a little favourite of mine, which has strongly anti inflammatory properties.
  • Crampbark to relax muscles, preventing them going into spasm and pulling the joints out of place. Seen on the West Rise Marsh video.

This is not set in stone and may vary depending on the patient, what medicines they are already on and the severity of their condition.

There are over the counter herbal preparations for pain and inflammation, but make sure they are licensed products so that you know they have been through rigorous trials.

I do recommend if you have been a back pain sufferer for some time and are on orthodox medicines but want to try an alternative, that you visit a qualified Medical Herbalist who can take all those factors into account and will tailor make an Herbal Remedy specifically for you.

My Clinic details can be seen by clicking here or on the “Clinic” tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information