An approximate of 80% of people experience back pain at least once in their lifetime (1). Even though it can affect people of any age, it is more commonly observed among the adults of age 30 – 50 years.
It strikes when there is sprain, structural problems or infection between the delicate bones, muscles, joints or ligaments present in the back. In general cases, back pain can be caused to poor posture, lifting something, over-stretching, standing or sitting for long periods. In chronic cases, it can be caused due to arthritis, sciatica or osteoarthritis.
If the back pain is accompanied with weight loss, elevated body temperature, difficulty urinating, numbness in genitals, or inflammation on the back then it is better to consult a doctor immediately.
If you are not experiencing any of them, then back pain can be treated with simple natural solutions. Few ingredients that help in treating back pain are ginger and garlic. Let’s have a look on ginger for back in detail here…
Is Ginger Good for Relieving Back Pain?
- The gingerols, shagols, and zingerones present in ginger are known for natural analgesic and muscle relaxing properties. They improve blood circulation to the pain areas to provide relief.
- It contains high amounts of selenium which possess anti-inflammatory properties. It provides relief from pain caused by inflammatory conditions like joint pains, sciatica, and others (2). The University of Miami has found that Ginger is a better cure for inflammation related pain than NSAID drugs.
How to Use Ginger for Back Pain
Ginger can be used in several ways for getting relief from back pain. We have listed the best methods with a detailed description below.
1. Ginger Compress
This process can be used to heal intense outbursts of back pain. The warmness of the compress relaxes the muscles and nerves to provide relief.
- Grate a 5 inch piece of fresh ginger and place in a clean cheesecloth.
- Tie up the cheesecloth and immerse it in hot water for 30 seconds.
- Let it cool a bit and place it on the painful area for 10 minutes.
- Use this compress at least 3 to 4 times a day.
- Repeat this 2-3 times a day.
2. Ginger and Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil consists of oleocanthol, a component which is said to relieve pain the same way as ibuprofen does.
- Add 5-10 drops of ginger essential oil to 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Heat this mixture in a small saucepan and remove from the flame.
- Cool it down and apply it to the affected area.
- Massage gently and leave it on for about 30 minutes.
- Wash off or wipe using with a clean cloth.
- Repeat this method 4 times a day.
3. Ginger and Garlic oil massage
The capsaicin, selenium and thiacremonone present in garlic makes it a great analgesic and cooling agent. It helps to soothe the pain and ease inflammation.
- Fry about 10 garlic cloves on low flame till they are golden brown in a pan with little coconut oil.
- Now strain the oil and add 12 drops of ginger oil into it.
- Cool the oil down and massage your back pain with this.
- Leave the oil on the back for about 30 minutes before wiping it clean with a towel.
- Repeat this regularly.
4. Ground Ginger Salve
Ginger salve acts as an ointment in relieving back pain caused due to muscle or nerve strain.
- Peel the skin of 5 inches long ginger.
- Now chop it to fine pieces and then blend it into a smooth paste.
- Apply the mixture on the affected area and cover it with a towel.
- Let it sit for about half an hour before removing and wiping it with a clean towel.
- Repeat the application once daily.
Note: If you don’t have fresh ginger, combine ginger powder with enough amounts of water to make a paste. Spread it on the affected areas, leave it on for 30 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
5. Ginger and Epsom Salt Soak
In some cases, magnesium deficiency can also result in back pain. Epsom salt provides the required magnesium and sulfur to the muscle nerves to relieve the pain. It also contains anti-inflammatory and natural relaxant properties.
- Boil some water in a small pot.
- Add 2 tablespoons of freshly crushed ginger juice and a cup of Epsom salt.
- Let the mixture boil for a few minutes.
- Now soak a clean cotton cloth in the pot and squeeze out any excess water.
- Dab the cloth on the affected area and leave it onto for a while.
- After the towel cools off, re-soak and reapply it for a few times.
- Repeat this twice a day.
6. Ginger Milk
Pain in the back of abdomen may also be caused due to a weak bone structure. Milk is rich in calcium. It strengthens the bones and soothes the pain when combined with ginger.
- Add a teaspoon of ginger paste/ginger powder/ few freshly chopped ginger slices to a glass of hot milk and let it steep.
- When it is lukewarm, add a little honey to it and drink the milk.
- Drink this every day during the breakfast.
7. Ginger and Honey Tea
Several studies have proven that honey possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which making it a good remedy for back pain.
- Chop a few slices of ginger and add into a small bowl of water.
- Boil it for about 10 minutes and remove from the flame.
- Strain the water into a cup and let it cool down to lukewarm.
- Add 1 tablespoon of honey to it and mix well.
- Drink this tea daily.
8. Ginger and Turmeric Tea
Chronic inflammation could also be a reason for back pain that is caused due to arthritis or osteoarthritis. Turmeric has a great number of anti-inflammatory properties which aid in the suppression of back pain due to inflammation.
- In a bowl of water, mix 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger root (grated) and turmeric (grated roots or powder).
- Bring this mixture to boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the stove and strain the solution into a cup.
- Add half a teaspoon of honey to taste (optional)
- Drink this tea every day.
9. Ginger and Valerian Root
Valerian root is a natural analgesic which directly affects the nervous system and reduces the pain significantly. It has been noted that valerian root when ingested with aspirin, increases its effectiveness.
- Boil a cup of water.
- Add some valerian root and freshly sliced ginger pieces to it.
- Steep for 10 minutes and then strain the tea into a cup.
- Add ½ teaspoon of honey to taste (optional).
- Drink twice a day.
10. Ginger and Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is a muscle relaxant and an anti-inflammatory agent. In case of back pain caused by arthritis, chamomile tea calms your nerves and releases the tension in the pain afflicted areas.
- Boil a cup of water with dried chamomile leaves and freshly chopped ginger slices.
- Let the concoction steep for about 5 minutes.
- Strain and drink the tea.
- Repeat twice a day.
11. Ginger and Basil (Tulsi) Tea
Basil leaves were known for their medicinal properties since the ancient times. They consist of a high anti-oxidant and relaxing agents. Chewing a few basil leaves a day can ward off many diseases.
- Boil a cup of water.
- Add 10-12 basil leaves to it and a few pieces of freshly cut ginger slices.
- Let this steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain the tea into a cup and drink it.
- Take this tea regularly.
Note: You also chew on tulsi leaves but make sure to strain the ginger slices.
12. Candied Ginger for Back Pain
Candied ginger is not just a sweat treat, it can be really helpful in treating back pain caused by inflammation in joints or muscles. You can either buy them at a grocery store or make them at home by following the below process…
- Slice 1 pound ginger into thin slices.
- Into a saucepan, add ginger pieces and enough water to cover them.
- Bring the mixture to boil and simmer it at low flame for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the flame and strain it.
- Reserve 4 cup of ginger water and drain the remaining liquid (or else you can drink as ginger tea).
- Into a pot, add reserved ginger water and 4 cups of sugar.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and add ginger slices.
- Reduce the heat to medium and simmer it for 30 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- The sugar syrup thickens in this time.
- Measure the temperature using a candy thermometer.
- Once it reads 225 degrees F, remove from the flame.
- Strain the solution and lay out the ginger slices on a large cooling rack over a cookie sheet.
- Let it sit aside for 2 hours, toss them in sugar crystals and lay them again on cooling rack.
- Leave it overnight to dry. Once dry, place in a glass jar.
- Eat few ginger pieces daily to get relief from the back pain.
Ginger Supplements for Back Pain
If you are not a fan of ginger taste then you can consume them in supplement form to get relief from the back pain. When you are looking out for supplementation, it is better to consider capsule form than others.
Recommended Dosage: 255 milligrams of ginger capsule per day.
Note: As ginger capsules may interact with other medications and reverse their effect, it is better to check with doctor. If says to go ahead, start with low dosage of 100 mg for 2 weeks and if you don’t observe any negative effect then increase it 200 mg.
Tips and Precautions
- Pregnant women should take extra caution while taking ginger in any form. Because excess consumption of ginger can lead to miscarriages or fetal hormonal changes.
- Diabetic patients must be careful as ginger increases the insulin levels in the blood.
- Heart patients must observe the fact that high dosages of ginger may worsen their condition.
- Mild side effects of ginger include diarrhea, blood thinning and heartburn or stomach ache.
- Avoid lifting heavy weights. If you have to lift something off the ground, DO NOT bend to lift; rather crouch down and lift them.
- Practice good posture. Get plenty of exercise and body movement.
- Take little breaks and stretch, if your job involves you to sit for long hours.
- Prefer a tight and firm mattress for your sleep. Too soft or too hard may hurt your back.
- Maintain a healthy diet and an optimum weight. Overweight might result in back pain as the body may not be able to bear the extra weight.
Are you going to try ginger for treating your back pain? If you have any further queries, please do write to us in the comment section below.