Nearly 80% of adults experience some kind of back pain in their lifetime. Whether it’s because of stress, age, diet, or exercise, there are a variety of reasons why our backs might be giving us a little trouble. These days, however, there is a growing awareness of the dangers of opiates and other pain-relieving medications. Even over-the-counter products like Tylenol and Advil have side effects, particularly if used frequently.
More and more, people are turning to alternative and natural healing methods to reduce pain. And there’s growing evidence to support its efficacy. One of the leading natural treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other types of joint/muscle pain is apple cider vinegar. We’ll dive into the many benefits of apple cider vinegar for back pain, arthritis pain, and chronic pain and look at some other popular home remedy options.
Why is Apple Cider Vinegar Beneficial?
As its name suggests, producers create apple cider vinegar by fermenting the sugars within apples, creating the active ingredient acetic acid. Researchers believe that this compound provides an array of health advantages. Relieving back pain is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of apple cider vinegar. Other potential benefits include:
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Weight loss
- Indigestion and nausea relief
- Acne and dandruff relief
- Sinus congestion relief
- Regulation of blood sugar levels in Type 2 Diabetes patients
What’s the Relationship Between Apple Cider Vinegar and Back Pain?
For years, people have used apple cider vinegar as a natural remedy for many kinds of health conditions. Recently, however, research has begun to back up these claims. The main compound in apple cider vinegar, acetic acid, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is one of the key causes of not only back pain but also other issues, including arthritis and joint deterioration.
Moreover, apple cider vinegar contains a range of muscle and bone-healthy minerals and nutrients. These include magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, all essential for your health. Potassium is of essential importance because it has been shown to relieve arthritis and joint pain.
Finally, apple cider vinegar boosts overall health. It can help improve your digestive health, allowing you to better absorb nutrients from the food you eat.
How Can I Add Apple Cider Vinegar to My Diet?
More research is needed to confirm the exact dosage of apple cider vinegar needed to relieve pain. Fortunately, as a natural remedy, you don’t really need to worry about consuming too much — but don’t go overboard! Nowadays, you can even find Acetic Acid tablets online and at your local drugstore.
While these supplement pills may help, you can find similar benefits by simply drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before each meal. Not only does this promote healthy digestion, but it also helps facilitate nutrient absorption. This way, you’ll also get the dual benefits of anti-inflammation and digestion relief.
Some people also choose to directly apply apple cider vinegar to their skin. Using a cotton pad, they gently apply the vinegar over an inflamed area. Currently, no scientific studies support this method for anti-inflammatory relief, but many people have first-person accounts of its efficacy. Additionally, there are currently ongoing trials to confirm this technique. Applying apple cider vinegar to the skin, however, does help with other issues such as eczema and acne.
Are There Any Side Effects?
As with anything else, too much of a good thing can be bad for your health. This is why doctors generally recommend a few tablespoons or one to two capsules per day. Apple cider vinegar is an acid — so too much of it can irritate your stomach, damage your tooth enamel, and have negative digestive effects. Likewise, be aware if you have an apple cider allergy.
In addition, apple cider vinegar does interact with certain diabetes medications. If you are taking insulin or insulin-stimulating medications, check with your doctor to make sure there are no harmful interactions.
The same goes with certain medications like Digoxin and diuretic drugs which cause the body to excrete potassium. When combined with apple cider vinegar, these drugs may cause the body to lower potassium levels too much. Overall, however, for the vast majority of people, apple cider vinegar is safe to take.
Coconut Oil: An Alternative Treatment Option
Besides apple cider vinegar, other additional natural remedies to target back pain are growing in popularity. One of the most popular right now is coconut oil. Many people tout the amazing skincare benefits of coconut oil.
In addition, there are many compounds inside coconut oil, including antimicrobial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. For the best pain relief, doctors recommend using coconut oil as a topical treatment. However, there are also many health benefits of replacing vegetable oil with coconut oil in your cooking.
Natural Remedies: The Bottom Line
In the wake of the opioid crisis in the United States, both doctors and patients are eager to find alternative pain management strategies. Natural remedies provide excellent options for people looking for healthier ways to reduce inflammation, gain mobility, and decrease overall pain. When combined with physical therapy, diet and lifestyle changes, you can experience a higher quality of life. And when it comes to nutritious and healthy options like apple cider vinegar and coconut oil, you really can’t go wrong by adding them into your daily routine!
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This post was updated in August 2019.