Back pain can be debilitating, whether it’s the result of trauma or simply a pulled muscle. But there are natural solutions that can help your body heal, reduce inflammation and offer relief. We spoke with Matthew Becker, herbalist and lead practitioner at our north Boulder store, about what he recommends for customers’ back pain issues.
“There are four standbys that are helpful for everything—including chronic pain,” says Matthew. “They all increase circulation and bring healing nutrients and blood to the area to break down stagnation and inflammation.” He emphasizes that these aren’t just for symptom relief, but can even help heal pain that stems from an old injury.
First off, Matthew recommends a homeopathic cream called Topricin. “I get the best results when I combine both a topical medicine and a systemic anti-inflammatory,” he says. “And there’s a general consensus among our store team that Topricin is the most helpful topical for pain relief.” The cream contains homeopathic preparations of Arnica, Rhus Toxicodendron and Ruta Graveolens, which combine to relieve inflammation, sharp pains and bone injuries. He recommends rubbing liberally into the affected area three times daily.
Internally, Matthew recommends a specific type of turmeric: Thorne Research’s Meriva-500. “Turmeric is something I take every day because it has many powerful healing effects on the body,” he says. For back pain specifically, he combines this turmeric with an enzyme called bromelain (also from Thorne Research, if available, or Jarrow Formulas’ Bromelain 1000).
“I recommend taking three Meriva and two bromelain tablets, twice daily about an hour before a meal, since bromelain won’t work on a full stomach,” says Matthew. “Together, they exert a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.” He adds that though they are similar to Ibuprofen in their pain relief mechanism, they are much safer and more effective in the long run.
“For people who are really in pain, I also recommend a product from Natura Health called Corydalis Plus,” says Matthew. “It’s the most powerful natural pain reliever we have in the store.” The formula includes 10 different Chinese herbs, including anti-inflammatories like white willow bark and boswellia. Many of these herbs work together to help get blood to the site of the injury to increase local circulation. “This should also be taken on an empty stomach,” says Matthew, who recommends starting with two capsules twice a day, and adjusting as needed for the pain.
Matthew has seen this combination work for many customers with back pain, as long as they consistently take the correct dosages for a few days. While everyone is different, he adds, these supplements can really start the healing process—instead of just offering temporary relief.