What Science Really Says About Healing From Back Injuries

Methods to stimulate your body’s natural healing response in the back are the same ones you can practice for injuries of all kinds.
If you’ve suffered a back injury, there are quite a few things you can do on your own to begin the healing process. Of course, none of this advice (although backed by great research) should take the place of a doctor’s recommendation and diagnosis.

Back injuries can certainly feel more devastating, but methods to stimulate your body’s natural healing response in the back are the same ones you can practice for injuries of all kinds.


Quite simply, not getting enough rest interferes with the body’s ability to heal itself.

A study backed by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) says, ”these findings suggest that sleep normally plays a permissive role in the regeneration of damaged muscle tissue.”


The right foods can reduce inflammation and help your body heal itself.

A study from 2015 suggests there is much still to learn about exactly how to eat and supplement while recovering from injury, and surely individual body chemistry will play a role, but it clearly states that, “Deficiencies, particularly those of energy, protein, and micronutrients, must be avoided. Energy balance is critical.”

If you can’t consult a nutritionist, there are a lot of resources and individuals online talking about what works for them. This piece from Shape offers some ideas for eating while injured.


You might have heard some of the hype from professional football like Russell Wilson and Tom Brady dedicating themselves to flexibility hoping to extend their careers.

Turns out, there’s a lot that says they are on the right track.

An article from Harvard’s Health publication, part of a larger study says, “[a] weak back and abdominal muscles can cause or worsen low back pain. That’s why stretching and strengthening your back and abdominal muscles are important not only for treating low back pain but also for helping to prevent a recurrence of the problem.”

Get your stretches in, try a yoga class near you (try ClassPass), or even work with a certified personal trainer to strengthen your core.

Alternative Medicine

It might be surprising, but even traditional western medicine is starting to move away from jumping to pain-killers as the default treatment for back pain.

In fact, there are recently updated guidelines that “that doctors should avoid prescribing opioid painkillers for relief of back pain and suggested that before patients try anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants, they should try alternative therapies like exercise, acupuncture, massage therapy or yoga.