Print this page
4 Natural Ways to Treat Back Pain
Published: 11/26/2012

If you are experiencing pain in the lower back or hip that radiates down into the buttock and back of the leg, possibly even to your feet, you may have sciatica. Sometimes the result of a pinched or inflamed nerve root or sciatic nerve root, sciatica can occur following an injury, muscular strain or herniated ("slipped") vertebral disc that presses on the nerve.

Fortunately, sciatica usually goes away on its own within a few weeks – only 10 to 25 percent of all cases last more than six weeks and 80 to 90 percent of all people with sciatica recover without surgery. Simple measures such as applying hot and cold packs, stretching exercises and a short course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help with acute symptoms. Doctors may also prescribe a muscle relaxant or a stronger medication for pain lasting more than two to three months. If pain continues or worsens, an epidural steroid injection or even surgery may be recommended.

The best therapy for sciatica is prevention: maintain ideal body weight, engage in regular physical activity several times a week and avoid prolonged sitting as much as possible. If you are diagnosed with sciatica, Dr. Weil recommends these treatment options: 

  1. Acupuncture: The National Institutes of Health recognizes acupuncture as an acceptable alternative to conventional therapies for low back pain.
  2. Bodywork: The Alexander Technique, Trager Approach, massage therapy and Feldenkrais Method can help overcome back pain.
  3. Therapeutic Yoga: Yoga can help relieve pain and protect against recurrences by strengthening your back. It also can balance nervous system function, promote flexibility and neutralize stress, all of which can help address the root cause or factors contributing to back pain.
  4. Osteopathic Manipulation: This system of manual treatment of the musculoskeletal system can be a highly effective therapy and usually requires only a few visits with a qualified practitioner (a Doctor of Osteopathy, or D.O.).

Learn more about these treatments, as well as mind-body approaches, in the Wellness Therapies section on

Find out which vitamins are right for you.
Everyone's dietary needs are different based on a number of factors including lifestyle, diet, medications and more. To find out what vitamins you need, take the Weil Vitamin Advisor. This 3-step questionnaire requires just minutes to complete, and generates a free, no-obligation vitamin and nutritional supplement recommendation that is personalized to meet your unique nutritional needs.

Cross a few names of your gift list right now!
Looking for gifts that feel as good to give as they do to receive? Discover Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins™ plant-powered, clinically proven skincare. Plus, get our Limited Edition Holiday Tote & FREE shipping with any $55 purchase! Enter code TOTE at checkout.

Want To Improve Your Well-Being? Try These Steps 10/27/2016
A Natural Way To Address Dry, Chapped Lips 10/26/2016
Want A Healthy Heart? Avoid This One Food 10/24/2016
Want A Cheap Way To Keep Your Body Healthy? Eat These
Feeling Anxious? Consider Trying Reflexology 10/23/2016
Subscribe to Dr. Weil's channel on Vimeo for great health-related videos.
Become a fan on Facebook and join our lively conversations.
See what Dr. Weil is tweeting about today on Twitter.
Watch and subscribe to Dr. Weil's YouTube channel.
What's on the blog today? Dr. Weil's daily health tips and more.
Visit our Multimedia Library for videos and photo essays.
Find Dr. Weil's travel, pet, food, and other photos at Flickr.
Read vitamin-related information from the Vitamin Advisor"s Facebook page.
See all of Dr. Weil's pins on Pinterest.
     Click here to subscribe.