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Natural Alternative Treatment for Low Back Pain

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DocMay2011Many people all over the world suffer from low back pain each year (1). In the US alone, one-half of all working Americans have admitted to having back pain symptoms (2). While most episodes of back pain resolve, and usually within a few weeks, dealing with the pain and discomfort can be difficult and expensive. Low back pain, in the mid-80’s and 90’s, costs Americans nearly $50 billion every year on treatments, medications, medical appointments, X-Rays and such (3,4). It is likely much more than that today. I, myself, am one of those Americans!


The back, or spine, is a complicated substructure of the body, consisting of various bones or vertebrae, joints formed between them, discs (cushion structures between the vertebrae) and the connecting tissues, ligaments and muscles that are attached to and between the vertebrae, surrounding tissues and associated joints. Injury or inflammation of any of these will more than likely result in back pain!

A person can, in some simple ways and also in some more complicated ways, sprain ligaments and strain muscles. Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden, awkward movement may strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. Sometimes, just a normal movement or action will cause a strain. Also, one can suffer a herniated or ruptured disc, generally from some kind of spinal compression injury, such as a high fall. Any of these conditions can cause strains or sprains which can lead to inflammation of ligaments and muscles and irritated joints and these circumstances can produce back pain, from mild to very serious.

Other causes of back pain can be conditions such as Degenerative disc disease which sets forth the symptoms of pain and possible radiating weakness or numbness stemming from a degenerated disc. Spinal stenosis (calcium buildup in the spinal canal putting pressure on the nerves of the spinal column), Arthritis, Skeletal irregularities and Osteoporosis are additional causes of low back pain.

Muscle strains are the most common cause of low back pain. Patients may or may not remember the initial event that triggered their muscle spasm. These kinds of injuries are usually less serious but still painful.

Medically prescribed treatments can be extensive but in the case of the simple complaint, treatment usually consists of heat, or cold, applied to the affected area and pain pills (NSAIDs or narcotics)! While this works for some, not everyone or every such injury will respond to it.

For those injuries that produce severe pain and limited or lack of mobility, additional treatment may include physical therapy and sometimes injections (5) for pain and muscle spasms. MRI or CAT scans to determine the extent of the problem are often conducted to help in developing a treatment plan.

Allopathic (‘regular’) medicine is beneficial for the majority of back pain cases. But in some instances, natural medicine often can have greater results by using a different approach to the problem.

When I was younger and working as a Computer Engineer for a contracted Government agency, I suffered a severe and very painful back injury when I twisted my back while checking cables in a raised floor in a computer room. I left work early and immediately went to my references and worked up a formula for treating my symptoms. I was able to return to work the next day (doing desk work!) and was fully recovered in three more days! That was more than 20 years ago and I am still using that formula when needed as are a fair number of former patients. Previously, for similar injuries, healing usually often took a week or ten days, and sometimes up to two or three months! With the formula, healing can often take only one to three or four days, depending on the individual, the severity of the injury and one’s continuing lifestyle.

Yes, this sounds like hype! But, after such a long time of use with consistent results, I can assure you that it isn’t. The formula works, regardless of what financed research results might indicate! But, since every ‘body’ is different and reacts differently to similar situations than any other body, there is no guarantee that the formula will work as expected for everyone in every situation.

Formula Toxicity

A word about toxicity. Some of the components of the formula can be toxic for some individuals, usually those with higher sensitivity to them. But for anyone, with over-use or incorrect use, liver or kidney damage is a possibility. To avoid this, it should not be taken long term (for more than 12 days) and should not be taken again for an additional 10 to 14 days to allow any potential buildup to be eliminated from the body.

The major culprit in the formula that can cause the liver or kidney trouble is chaparral herb (aka: creosote bush), Larrea tridentate. Toxicity from chaparral is rare, but has occurred (6). However, if formulated properly, each average 450 mg 00 capsule contains about 18 to 20 mg of the chaparral herb. Therefore, limiting doses to two capsules three to four times a day will keep the combined daily level (120 to 160 mg/day) at a safe point, about one tenth of the minimum toxicity, well below the toxic level of 1.5 gm to 3.5 gm per day (7, 8). Toxicity does not seem to accumulate at an excessive rate and is eliminated within a few days after treatment ends. However, if damage to the liver occurs, latency can extend to three months(6). This explains why there is a 10 to 14 day resting period before resuming treatment. Following are the formula components that are compounded (pulverized to a fine powder – about 300 – 400 mesh) to fill #00-size capsules, referring to the physical size and therefore the potential volume/capacity of formula. This size of capsule has a full powder density capacity of roughly 546 mg. Powder compression can yield a volume of as much as 605mg! I tend not to compress and fill only to top edge of the larger portion of the capsule giving about 450mg of powder! I’m unsure if this sizing (0, 00, 000) process is still used in Britain or Europe, but I believe it is.

Anyway, since the formula is given as ratios between the components, it is not possible to provide an accurate capsule count anyway. Every mix will be slightly different, thus the count will also be. This does NOT mean there is a great variation between capsules which therefore presents a dosage problem. Herbology, as far as milligram dosage is concerned, is not exact. There can be a variation of as much as 50mg or more between capsules and still be viable and safe.

A mix yielding 10 grams (10000mg/0.35oz) of formula will fill, roughly, 22 #00-sized capsules at an estimated 450mg per capsule. Hand filling capsules is also not an accurate art! Capsule volume can vary between 400 and 500 mg at the widest variation, but generally is closer to 400 to 460 mg.

Doc's table final** Capsule weight divided (about 450mg) by component count (11) times component ratio in formula
equals component amount in mg in each capsule (as an approximation.)


Users should normally be cautious of this formula (or any untried formula, for that matter!), but specifically if they have any allergies or potential allergies to the components of the formula or to plants related to those components. Allergic reactions can occur and make things worse.

If you wish additional information or would like to discuss this form of therapy, please email me at the address listed under St. Brigid’s Academy and Seminary. I would be happy to offer my expertise as best I can. Every question will be answered. There is no charge for anything!


(1) Jensen M, Brant-Zawadzki M, Obuchowski N, et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain. New England Journal of Medicine 1994; 331: 69-116.

(2) Vallfors B. Acute, Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain: Clinical Symptoms, Absenteeism and Working Environment. Scan J Rehab Med Supplement 1985; 11: 1-98.

(3) American Chiropractic Association Back Pain Facts and Statistics

(4) NINDS: $50 billion spent each year for low back pain

(5) Spine Treatment Options

(6) Chaparral (Larrea Tridentate)

(7) Chaparral

(8) Variation depends on many factors: the specific herb and its source, the herb’s growing conditions and its age at the time of formulation and consumption, the individual



Rev. Dr. Michael Farrell (NCHC Certified Medical Herbalist***)
Professor and Dean of Education, St. Brigid’s Academy and Seminary




***NOTICE: While I have a doctorate in Metaphysical Studies and Ontology as well as medical training, I am NOT a medical doctor! I have been certified for nearly 19 years as a Medical Herbalist, having studied Medical Herbology in Great Britain and the US. Please note that the formula presented here is proprietary and copyright protected. It cannot be published or used for production for sale without permission. Personal use is NOT restricted. Authorization for publishing in this article on Soulfully Connecting is granted.




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