Back pain can be excruciating. With the source of pain being inflicted from different factors—injuries, standing in uncomfortable shoes for long periods of time, menstruation, sitting for a whole work day, or an old mattress—it can be difficult to get back pain under control. With the abundance of painkillers readily available, it is easy to overlook natural remedies. Typically found in the produce section of your local grocery store, ginger might be the answer to back pain relief.
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According to Medical News Today, a website that presents medical news and information, “Ginger is an herb that is used as a spice and also for its therapeutic qualities. The underground stem (rhizome) can be used fresh, powdered, dried, or as an oil or juice.” Best known as a remedy to alleviate nausea, ginger has been used for centuries around the world as a natural approach to many medical problems. Available year round in most grocery stores, ginger’s “botanical name is thought to be derived form its Sanskrit name singabera which means ‘horn shaped,’ a physical characteristic that ginger reflects,” the non-for-profit organization focused on healthy foods, The George Mateljan Foundation, explains on their website Whfoods. While the horn-like appearance of ginger may look unappetizing, the root has many proven health benefits— and is tasty too! The informational website How Stuff Works, states that “ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds, including some with mild aspirin-like effects,” which may help to alleviate back pain.
In a study conducted in 2000 by “Dr. R. D. Altman of the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Dr. K. C. Marcussen of the Narayana Research Center in Wisconsin, 247 patients with severe osteoarthritis of the knee showed that ginger significantly reduced symptoms of pain and discomfort in those who took the supplement,” as stated on How Stuff Works; however, “While ginger may relieve back pain caused by arthritis, there is no data to indicate that it would be as helpful in patients with other injuries to the back,” How Stuff Works further explains. So if our back pain is coming from something other than arthritis, will ginger still work?
Foundhealth, a website that provides health information, explains that “the herb turmeric, which is part of the ginger family, has been studied slightly more than ginger [… and] It is thought that turmeric might help with the treatment of low back pain […] through its anti-inflammatory properties.” So while ginger is still being researched, it is believed that turmeric will be effective; however, Dr. Oz’s website, Doctoroz, states that ginger may be enough to help alleviate inflammation. DoctorOz suggests “applying a ginger compress to the affected area. Grate the root, wrap the ginger in cheesecloth, place it in hot water for 30 seconds, let it cool, and place on the affected area for 20 minutes.” While research isn’t necessarily backing up this claim, people do find success in using ginger for back relief.
Verdict: Fiction. While there are many people who swear by ginger as a back-pain relief, there is not a sufficient about of scientific research to deem ginger the perfect remedy for back pain. There are many personal accounts from people who swear by ginger and, How Stuff Works gives a recipe that would be worth a try. “Cut a 1-to 2-inch fresh ginger root into slices and place in 1 quart boiling water. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes on low heat. Cool for 30 minutes. Strain, sweeten with honey (to taste), and drink,” How Stuff Works advises. Be sure to talk with your doctor about your back pain, and ask about this ginger-drink remedy!
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