ZocdocAnswersIs Arnica a safe way to treat a sore back muscle?

Question

Is Arnica a safe way to treat a sore back muscle?

I think I strained my back or something and I was looking at Arnica to help with the pain and healing. Does it work? Is it a safe way to help with a muscle problem?

Answer

Arnica is a plant that is commonly used in the treatment of low back pain and other forms of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Most commonly it is applied to the area of interest in a gel form, although other forms of use also exist, include homeopathic preparations. There are not any very good scientific studies that look at the effects of arnica on back pain. Most likely, it has some mild effects in relieving pain, although they are probably less pronounced that some other remedies, such as standard pain killers. At the very least, topical arnica preparations are unlikely to cause any harm to you when used exactly as directed. Arnica should not be thought of as a replacement for the treatment for sore back muscles that have been shown to be very effective, namely back stretching and strengthening exercises and early mobilization and exercise. I recommend that you discuss this issue with your primary care doctor, because they will be able to help you develop an overall plan for how to go about treating your back pain, which can probably include use of Arnica. Subsequently, they will be able to follow along and make sure that your symptoms are improving!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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