Back-pain expert shares natural, drug-free solutions

Got a sore back? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. An astounding 80 per cent of the Australian population suffer from back pain weekly1, with one in six suffering from chronic-back-pain issues2.

With limited efficacy for surgical intervention, painkillers have remained a key method to combat chronic back pain. However, according to a recent study from the University of South Australia3, over-the-counter combination painkillers can cause more damage than good, with chronic-back-pain sufferers consuming up to five times the recommended daily dose. The overuse of codeine-combination products has resulted in increased hospital admissions with stomach ulcers, gastric bleeding and acute kidney and liver failure.

“Most people think they’re stuck with limited choices in pain relief and recovery, but the truth is there are natural pain-relief alternatives besides analgesic pain-killing drugs,” chiropractor and human-movement professional Dr Caterina Massara said. “Technology has caught up and there are more and more options available to assist professionals and individuals in their journey to drug-free pain relief.”

Whether you’re fighting the ache or just want to prevent it, Dr Massara shares her top five tips to ease the ache of back pain:


Pain-proof the office

Most Australian adults sit at a desk between 9am and 5pm on weekdays, but this can take a toll on your back.

It’s important to keep posture top of mind and sit with your back against the chair with both feet flat on the floor. If your chair won’t allow for this, get creative and use a lumbar pillow, a footstool, or invest in a high-back chair that can offer more support.

If you feel your working space is uncomfortable or not meeting OH&S standards, you should contact your HR department, as many offices provide occupational therapists to assist in the workplace.


Get a portable doctor

By stimulating nerves, tissues and muscles, electrotherapy has been used through history to treat all types of pain, from niggly lower-back pain, to toothache.

Australian health-tech companies such as PainPod ( are harnessing the body’s bioelectrical system to moderate and manage pain levels, accelerate recovery and increase performance. Their new technology is “ultra-wearable” and offers recovery for anything from a sore back and neck pain, to muscle strain.

The Mi device mimics the body’s natural, electrical microcurrent and can help cells to regenerate and repair, as well as reducing inflammation and assisting in pain relief, rather than simply working as a pain blocker. Electrotherapy technology can act as your portable physiotherapist and help users in achieving long-term recovery from their back-pain issues.


Apply ice and heat 

The natural elements are powerful and offer a rational, easy and safe self-treatment option for many common, pain-related issues.

If injury-induced back pain strikes, use ice for the first 48 hours after injury and then switch to heat. Ice can assist in calming down damaged superficial tissue, allowing the sensation of inflammation to subdue.

Heat, on the other hand, can take the edge off symptoms and help soothe the nervous system.

The use of ice and heat can assist in pain relief and help with minor pain control, but for long-term pain recovery there are non-invasive, drug-free options, such as the PainPod physiotherapy device.


Do it in your sleep

We spend more than one-third of our lives asleep, and an unsupportive mattress can be the undoing of a not-so-sore back. It’s important that your bed supports the natural curves and alignment of the spine and doesn’t reinforce muscle strain from bad sleeping posture.

Medium-firm memory foam or pocketed-spring mattresses are ideal for those suffering with back pain. Because the springs are housed in individual pockets they can work independently of each other and contour the entire body without any gaps. This can allow the spine to rest in a natural position.”


Strengthen your core

Core strengthening can provide unlimited benefits to the body. Your core muscles act as the anchor to your spine, and if they’re weak, your spine is more susceptible to pain and injury.

By undertaking regular stretches and exercises, such as core activation, yoga and pilates, you can develop strong core muscles and provide the necessary foundation to alleviate pressure on the nerves and spine.

Be sure to consult with a qualified health professional to assist with an appropriate and safe core-strengthening program.”


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