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By: Dr. Sushma Shah - Naturopathic Doctor

Low Back Pain


Low back pain is the 20th century epidemic that affects 60 to 80 percent of the adult North American population at one time or another. Low back pain is one of the most common ailments in North America. It has been estimated to cost the government and the industries over 16 billion dollars each year due to LOW BACK PAIN!

The age group that is most affected is young adults in their most productive years, between the ages of 17 and 45.Women are at least twice as likely as men to develop some musculoskeletal disorders of the upper and lower body, such as lower back pain carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendonitis. Low back problems affect the spine's flexibility, stability, and strength, which would then cause pain, discomfort, and stiffness and inability to enjoy day-to-day activities.


  • Tenderness, pain, and stiffness in the lower back

  • Pain that radiates into the buttocks or legs

  • Difficulty standing erect or standing in one position for a long time

  • Discomfort while sitting

  • Weakness and leg fatigue while walking

  • Constant nagging dull or achy pain in the back


  1. Sudden twisting or bending of the back

  2. Occupations that involve lifting, twisting, or bending are one of the bigger causes

  3. Infection, a rheumatic or arthritic condition, or ovarian cysts

  4. Kidney or bladder infections

  5. Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis that cause pain and inflammation of joints

  6. Ovarian cysts that have enlarged with a risk of rupture

  7. Ruptured or bulging vertebral discs. The vertebral discs are the strong, spongy, gel-filled cushions that lie between each vertebra that protect the spinal nerves that enter and exit the spinal cord at various locations

  8. Compression fractures of the bones in the spine can also cause low back pain, especially in older women with osteoporosis

  9. Too much time in front of the TV, not enough exercise, poor posture and poor sleeping habits (including sleeping on the stomach) increase risks for low back pain

  10. Weak abdominal muscles. Obesity, which afflicts over 35 million Americans, is another factor - it increases both the weight on the spine and the pressure on disks


  • Bruising of Soft tissue

  • Disc Herniation

  • Facet Syndrome

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Muscle Pull

  • Muscle Spasm

  • Muscle Stiffness

  • Muscle Strain (Tearing)

  • Muscle Tension

  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome

  • Pinched Nerve

  • Piriformis Syndrome

  • Pregnancy Related Back Pain

  • Spinal Canal Stenosis

  • Spinal stenosis -a narrowing of the opening through which the spinal cord runs (often due to arthritis)

  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction and pain

  • Sciatica-occurs when the large sciatic nerve is irritated from a bulging disc. It is common among pregnant women. The pain runs down the leg to the calf, and can extend all the way to foot

  • Scoliosis

  • Spondylolisthesis - inflammation of the spine


The conventional medical approach may include a complete physical examination, testing reflexes and muscle strength, along with your response to touch, slight heat, or a pinprick. You may also need a blood test, X rays, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, or computed tomography (CT) scan.


Under the concepts of naturopathic medicine, assessment is oriented toward determining what is hindering your body's ability to function normally and getting to the root cause of the problem and then effectively treating the problem. At you initial assessment or naturopathic consultation, we will discuss your health history, stress and lifestyle factors that may be affecting your back.

Laboratory testing may be recommended if necessary, and natural treatment options for back pain will be recommended after a thorough assessment and physical exam. Some of the natural treatment options that we offer include acupuncture and massage therapy, which work very efficiently to reduce back pain.

You may call our naturopathic clinic at (416) 913 4325 and schedule acupuncture or massage appointments for treating low back pain or other issues directly if you wish to skip the naturopathic assessment and directly start treatment with our registered acupuncturist and massage therapist right away for instant relief. However, if you would like long term relief or are interested in treating low back pain with natural medicine along with natural therapies such as acupuncture and massage, we do encourage you to come in for a naturopathic consultation first.


Uncomplicated low back pain can be relieved and prevented with simple lifestyle changes such as exercising to strengthen your muscles, maintaining a healthy weight, and practicing good posture lowers your risk. Learning to bend and lift properly, sleeping on a firm mattress, sitting in supportive chairs, and wearing supportive shoes are important factors. For many of us who spend much of the day sitting down, ergonomic seating features can help reduce the occurrence of many work related injuries including back and joint pain.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies used at our Naturopathic Clinic

Natural / Alternative therapies are very effective in easing muscle tension, correcting spinal imbalances, relieving discomfort, and averting long-term back problems by improving muscle strength and joint stability. There are various nutritional supplements that aid the healing process when it comes to inflammation in the back. Stress and tension can also cause significant back pain as well.

Our naturopathic doctor may recommend natural vitamins, minerals, herbs, homeopathic remedies or other physical therapies that will help to heal your low back in a timely manner based on the findings during your intake and physical exam. Herbs that have the actions of being relaxants, antispasmodics, anti-inflammatory and analgesic are usually used in the form of teas, capsules or liquids, which are taken orally or combined in salves creams with various essential oils for a topical treatment for acute conditions.

Physical Medicine Therapies available at the Nature’s Intentions Naturopathic Clinic

  1. Acupuncture:
  2. We offer medical acupuncture and tuina massage (deep acupressure massage) at the clinic along with massage at our naturopathic clinic, which has been extremely efficient in treating low back pain. Reviews of scientific studies have found great support for the use of acupuncture for low back pain. Acupuncturists frequently report great success in treating low back pain and the National Institute of Health recommends acupuncture as a reasonable treatment option for this condition. Local treatment to the painful areas and related sore points is often performed as well, with needles and/or moxibustion (a technique in which the herb mugwort is burned over specific acupuncture points) along with tuina massage, if required.

  3. Massage therapy for treating low back pain:
  4. Massage is a wonderful therapy that is extremely helpful both acutely and to prevent chronic tension related musculoskeletal problems. Massage is the one of most fundamental techniques of all healing techniques. It is indeed one of the most effective and important forms of relaxation and sports medicine available. We offer deep tissue and relaxation massage at the clinic for stress relief and muscle relaxation / healing.

    Therapeutic effects of massage:

    • Stress relief for busy people

    • Rapid recovery from injury

    • Relief from tension headaches

    • Increased mobility and therefore reduces likelihood of injury

    • Increased circulation of blood and lymph (fluid in our body tissues) throughout the body

    • Brings a state of relaxation for the entire body and mind, mobilizes new health and energy

Special Considerations for low back pain issues

Chronic low back problems can interfere with everyday activities, sleep, and concentration. When symptoms are severe, your mood and sexuality may be affected. While depression is usually not the cause of chronic low back pain, it often complicates treatment.

Prevention and Screening

Regular exercise, yoga and stretching before participating in sports decreases your risk of back pain. Maintaining good posture and body alignment, lifting properly, losing weight, and quitting smoking will help prevent back pain.

Good and bad lifting techniques:

The person on the left is using his back to lift the box, which can cause serious muscle strain. The person on the right is lifting correctly, using the legs to bear the brunt of the weight. When lifting heavy objects, always remember to move close to the object before attempting to pick it up. Use your legs to power the lift, not your back.

Quick tip:

Getting up from your chair and taking short breaks when sitting for extended periods will allow the muscles and spine to decompress, thereby helping to prevent repetitive strain. You should spend at least one minute up for every 20 minutes you spend sitting.

Self care tips:

  • Rest and exercise (low impact aerobic exercises)

  • Change your activities and environment if they contribute to pain (if possible)

  • Ice packs or heat often provides temporary relief

  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time, use a chair with good back support, and rest your feet on a low stool

  • Support the small of the back with a pillow when driving

  • Wear low-heeled comfortable shoes

  • If you work at a desk, make sure it and your chair are kept at a comfortable height

  • If standing for a prolonged period, rest one foot on a low stool

  • Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees, or if lying on your back, place a pillow under your knees.

Please ask your doctor or naturopath before starting on any supplements. Its is better to first identify the cause and then treat it with the right remedies, even though those mentioned above have minimal side effects.

For any questions, or concerns, please contact us at 416 913 4325 (HEAL) or email me at

* DISCLAIMER: The information on this article is the property of Dr. Sushma Shah, Naturopathic Doctor, and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any diseases or promote any services or products mentioned on the website.

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