I just returned from our cabin, which is up in the mountains near Flagstaff. I had a great Father’s Day-I heard from both of my daughters and my son, got a card from my grand-kids, ate great food. The only glitch was a very aching back from the bed I slept on (or tried to) at the cabin. Not a good way to start the day, but I wanted to share a few remedies which I use when my back aches.

1) Maintain good posture-if you pull your stomach in, it is impossible to bend your spine. If you stand for long periods, rest one foot on a short stool or if in the kitchen, open a cupboard and place your foot on the bottom shelf. Switch feet every 5 minutes or so. Sitting creates more stress on your back than any other position. If you have to sit for long, keep knees slightly higher than hips and use a straight-back chair. When driving, keep seat close enough to the controls so that you don’t have to over-reach.


2) Lubricate your discs. A doctor in Falls Church, VA, attributes most back pain to chronic dehydration. F. Batmanghelidj, M.D., says that our backs hurt because our bodies are thirsty. The discs in our back absorb stress and facilitate movement. The cushioning effect is based on their water content. For more info, read his book  How to Deal Simply with Back Pain and Rheumatoid Joint Pain. 

3) If your back is in spasm or in pain, lie on your back with your feet up on a chair so that your knees are at a 90 degree angle and your lower back and your pelvis are flat on the floor. ALSO, make sure that your toes are pointed straight up-don’t let them flop to the outside. Then relax and breathe for 15 minutes. This one really helps me.

4) It is essential to get regular exercise. If you do a lot of house or yard work, remember it is better for your back to push rather than pull when moving heavy objects.

5) Some people swear by magnets, but I have not had relief using them.

6) For acute pain relief, use DMSO, or dimethyl sulfoxide. DMSO penetrates the skin rapidly and is an effective anti-inflammatory agent-it can be used with other topical agents such as aspercream, etc. I get it from a local veterinarian. It works great for extensive pain.

Stay well, John R. Blilie, M.S.