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Lower and upper Back Pain

Back pain is tension, stiffness, aching or pain that most commonly originates from muscles, vertebrae or joints of the back


Back pain is a common ailment that is likely to have affected you at some point during your life. There are a multitude of different causes, ranging from bending awkwardly to simply being overweight. This page describes the symptoms of back pain, recognises the triggers and causes, and recommends a range of natural and self-help solutions to alleviate any pain or discomfort. There is also a Q&A service if you wish to ask any additional questions.

Lower Back Pain (Lumbago)

Lower back pain (or low back pain) is the most common type of back pain and is often experienced as a stiffness, tension or ache in the lumbar area. It is often caused by muscle injury (eg. lifting a heavy object) and generally is not a serious problem with 50% of episodes resolving within two weeks of occurrence
Lumbago is just another term for lower back pain and is a term which has been in use since the 1600s. It is now less commonly used than the more accurate description of lower back pain.

Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain is not as common as lower back pain and affects mainly the cervical (neck) or sometimes the thoracic (chest) areas. Upper back pain leads to similar symptoms as low back pain - stiffness and tension in the neck and shoulders with limitation of movement. It can also be caused by a muscular injury but osteoarthritis, or rheumatism, is also a cause in older people. Sometimes, however, one can simply wake up in the morning with a stiff neck and acute upper back pain.

Back pain may also be described as acute or chronic

Acute back pain lasts for less than six weeks while pain lasting for more than three months is described as chronic back pain. Anything in between is known as sub-acute back pain.

Origin of back pain

Back pain is a symptom that usually provides little or no information about the actual cause of the problem. Surprising as it may seem, signs of wear and tear on the vertebral joints (degenerative modifications) due to improper posture are rarely at the origin of back pain. 

Causes of back pain

The main trigger factors in back pain, particularly in chronic cases, are linked to the socio-professional environment:

  • stress
  • dissatisfaction
  • unfavourable work conditions
  • poor lifestyle

All of these conditions can literally destabilize the spine.

Back pain can also have many other causes. These include:

  • abdominal disorders causing pain irradiating in the back,
  • vertebral compression due to osteoporosis and
  • rheumatoid inflammation of the intervertebral disks (Bechterew’s disease).

The term “rheumatism” is used to describe more than 100 diseases and conditions, all of which share a common characteristic: chronic pain and/or dysfunction of the musculoskeletal system at the level of the joints and bones as well as the muscles, tendons and ligaments attached to them.

Back pain relief

Back pain usually goes away quickly. In such cases, the causes of the pain is benign muscle contractures that can be effectively treated with warm baths, the application of hot or cold packs and Absolüt Arnica gel.

The efficacy of this gel, whose active ingredient is fresh Arnica (Arnica montana), is identical to that of a gel containing the synthetic analgesic ibuprofen. A.Vogel Joint Pain Relief Devil’s Claw Tabs are recommended for the long-term phytotherapeutic treatment of chronic pain.

Synthetic painkillers, which can have significant side effects, can be gradually reduced after four to six weeks of treatment.

Alfred Vogel came to the conclusion that most back pain could be treated using natural remedies and that the only way to effectively fight rheumatism was to capitalize on the interaction of various factors.

Treatment for back pain

Most people suffering from rheumatism know intuitively whether heat or cold makes them feel better. As a general rule, cold is more effective to treat cases of acute inflammation, while chronic inflammation of the joints is improved by the use of heat.

Heat provides relief

Heat alleviates pain, increases metabolism, improves blood flow, relaxes muscles and improves the elasticity of connective tissue. Many people suffering from rheumatism already experience some relief simply through exposure to a warmer climate. Other sources of heat can also be used. Although the benefits of heat can be felt quite rapidly, perseverance is needed to obtain a lasting effect.

Physical sources of heat include: administration of baths at spas and saunas full-body or partial mineral or natural mud baths mixed with arnica body wraps hot packs filled with cherry pits or other substances.

Cold also alleviates pain

In the case of acute inflammation of the joint, characterized by redness and swelling, cold has the best anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling effects.

Cold therapy uses a wide range of temperatures, from the gentle cooling of specific joints to full-body treatments in special cold chambers cooled to -110°C.

For self-treatment, the temperature ranges between +15°C and -18°C: immerse the affected area in water or ice water apply ice to the area apply a cold face-cloth or icepack taken from the fridge or freezer

The length of use affects the body’s reaction: the brief application of cold triggers a vascular response (constriction of vessels followed by their dilation). Lengthier applications (up to 20 minutes for large joints) relax the muscles, improve mobility and reduce blood flow and local metabolism.

If the cold causes pain, cease the application immediately.

How to make a cold compress using a face cloth

Dip a face cloth in cold water containing 3 to 4 tablespoons of sea salt. Squeeze out the excess water and place the face cloth in the freezer for 3 to 4 minutes, until it reaches a temperature of between 0°C and -15°C. Do not let the face cloth freeze completely so that it can adapt to the shape of the body.

The compress should be applied for 10 to 20 minutes to allow the cold to reach the deep tissue layers.

What do you think?

Have you found what you read useful? If so, I would love if you would leave your comment below. Thanks Sonia Chartier

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