Maybe your back hurts after lifting heavy objects, or perhaps you’re dealing with a condition like arthritis. Regardless of the cause, it’s hard to shake off low back pain once you have it. One in four Americans suffer from low back pain. And about everyone will experience back pain during their lives. Sometimes the reason for back pain is obvious, you were injured, weakness, or you feel numbness. In those situations you should see a doctor. For mild and routine back pain, here are some things you can try at home to manage lower back pain:
1. Chill It
To reduce inflammation after an injury, ice is best during the first 24 to 48 hours. Although applying heat feels good since it helps to relax muscles and cover up the pain, warmth actually inflames the inflammatory processes. However, you can switch to heat after 48 hours if you prefer. Regardless if you use ice or heat, don’t apply it for more than 20 minutes since your skin needs time to rest.
2. Keep Moving
Our spines are created for movement, so don’t stop your daily activities. Make your bed, walk the dog, go to work. Once you start feeling a little better, regular exercises such as bicycling, swimming, and walking will help to keep your back mobile. Just don’t go crazy with it, no need to run a marathon when your back hurts.
3. Stay Strong
Once your back pain goes away, you can work on the muscles that support your lower back to help avoid back issues in the future. Having strong pelvic, hip, and abdominal muscles also provide additional support. One thing to avoid is abdominal crunches since they actually add strain on your back.
Don’t sit in your office chair all day. Try to get up at least once every hour and stretch your muscles. Since most people spend most of their time leaning forward during their job, it’s crucial to stand up and stretch backwards periodically during your workday. Many people who practice yoga find relief from their back pain.
5. Proper Posture
It’s harder for you back to support your weight when you slump. Especially when lifting heavy objects, it’s important to keep your back straight. Instead of bending your waist, you need to bend with the knees.
6. Wear Low Heels
It’s best to change in your four-inch pumps for either flat or low heels (less than 1 inch). High heels make your posture more unstable and add additional pressure on your lower spine. High heels are fine a few times a week when you go out, but do your back a favor and don’t use them daily for work.
7. Try Pain Relievers For Lower Back Pain
One way to try and reduce back pain is by taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin), aspirin, and naproxen sodium (Anaprox, Aleve, Naprosyn). Another option for pain management is acetaminophen (Tylenol, Actamin, Panadol). If you are currently taking other medications, check with your pharmacist or doctor about their compatibility with over-the-counter pain relievers.
You can also try other holistic methods that can naturally get rid of lower back pain safely and efficiently. Modalities such as acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractor work, and yoga are just a few to name.