Back pain is the worst. Whether the pain strikes in your upper back, middle or lower back, somehow it often feels like your whole body aches. Of course, there will always be eager doctors quick to recommend expensive surgical or alternative therapies. But before you break out the big bucks in search of relief, consider giving these five unique and free home remedies a chance to help you heal.

1. Break out the tennis balls

While you may not think "tennis ball!" when you’re seeking relief from back pain, believe it or not, simply rolling a tennis ball up and down along your back can bring the same relief as a deep-tissue massage—without the hefty price tag! Depending on the location and severity of your back pain, you can try standing against a wall and bending your legs to roll the tennis ball up and down, or you can do the same by lying on the floor and using your feet to help you roll up and down.

2. Apply a magnet

Magnet therapy is a still-emerging field of scientific study, but there’s some tangible evidence that magnetic fields can block pain by changing how nerves communicate with the brain. While you can certainly buy expensive, customized magnets, a standard "heavy duty" refrigerator magnet, applied with a couple of band-aids, can deliver the same effect. When you’re in pain, it certainly is worth a shot!

Note: If you take insulin through a pump, have a pacemaker, or have been told by your doctor that you shouldn’t be exposed to magnets, please don’t try this idea!

3. Talk it out

WebMD reports that back pain often presents hand-in-hand with emotional issues such as anxiety and depression. If your back pain has occurred in concert with a challenging time in your life, or if you’ve been struggling to pinpoint the cause for chronic, nagging back pain, it may be time to talk to someone—a spouse, a close friend, a mentor, or someone else you trust who cares about you.

4. Boost endorphin production

While the connection is still not well understood, in the same way magnets are thought to disrupt the communication of pain messages to the brain, research now suggests an increase in endorphins is able to achieve the same. There are many ways to boost endorphins in the body. You can try light aerobic exercise (swimming is the best), laughter, massage, certain foods (such as dark chocolate, walnuts, bananas and salmon), relaxation and deep breathing and even simply lighting a lavender incense stick or vanilla-scented candle.

5. Skip the brace

Finally, physicians and naturopaths all agree—when it comes to easing back pain, back braces can do more harm than good. The reason is simple. The more blood flow there is to the injured area, the faster healing will occur. Blood flow is facilitated by activity. Back braces immobilize the injured area and keep you from engaging in the types of movement that can actually speed healing. If you must wear a brace, do so only for the first 24-48 hours. After that, either see a doctor if the pain is not better, or begin light brace-free activity to support your back.

 

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