Lower back pain is a common ailment affecting millions of Americans every year. There are many causes of lower back pain, including injuries from car accidents, sports injuries, workplace injuries, and even pregnancy.
Many people who suffer from lower back pain will never seek medical treatment because they believe it’s just part of aging. However, most cases of lower back pain can be easily treated with simple exercises and lifestyle changes.
If you experience any symptoms of lower back pain, then read on. This article contains the top tips to provide lower back pain relief.
1. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to relieve lower back pain. It helps strengthen your muscles and bones, which reduces stress on your joints and ligaments. In general, exercise keeps your body fit, healthy and capable.
While stretching and exercise can help alleviate lower back pain, improper form or too intense an exercise can lead to injury. If you experience pain while doing either, stop immediately. Continuing exercise through pain could lead to serious injury.
Strengthen Your Core
Core strength refers to the muscles that stabilize your spine, pelvis and lower back. They include your abdominal muscles, hip flexors, glutes, and low back muscles.
Strengthening these core muscles improves posture and stability in your trunk, while relieving the weight your lower back muscles must bear alone.
Having a strong core means that loads — whether you’re wearing a backpack or picking up a box — are distributed more evenly across several muscle groups, instead of just your lower back.
Stretch More Often
Stretching is another effective way to reduce lower back pain. Stretching loosens tight muscles in your back and improves blood circulation, allowing muscles to recover after use.
The muscles to focus on for stretching are your lower back, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, buttocks and hips. You should also do some gentle yoga stretches to improve flexibility in your spine.
2. Improve Sleep Quality
A good night's sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. Sleep allows the body to rest, tissues to heal and energy to recharge.
A lack of sleep can make existing back pain worse and even be the primary cause of some forms of back pain. When sleeping poorly, your body does not get enough time to repair itself. Pain often acts as a message from your body signaling a need for rest and repair.
When it comes to sleep positions, it's best to sleep on your back or sides with a relatively firm pillow to support your neck for good spine alignment. Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach as this puts extra strain on your lower back.
3. Watch Your Posture
Proper posture is important for maintaining good spinal alignment and reducing strain on your back. The following habits can help prevent lower back pain:
- Sit up straight with your head centered
- Keep your shoulders down and relaxed
- Avoid slouching your shoulders or chin forward
- Keep your computer screens at eye level
images can help you for proper posture when standing and sitting
4. Improve Your Mental Health
Stress and anxiety can increase your lower back pain. Stressful situations cause the release of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can affect your immune system and contribute to muscle tension.
When you feel stressed out, try taking deep breaths and relaxing your mind. Meditation is an excellent way to relax your mind and reduce stress levels, which can release tension in the muscles.
Reducing stress and engaging in activities that make you happier will release endorphins, which can boost your mood, but also provide pain relief.
5. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration leads to poor blood flow, which causes inflammation and stiffness in your muscles. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can keep your body hydrated and help ease lower back pain.
Staying hydrated can also help flush toxins from your body. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages as they can dehydrate the body.
6. Keep a Healthy Weight and Diet
Being overweight puts more pressure on your back and increases your risk of developing lower back pain. Excess weight can put extra strain on your back by pulling it into a hunched position.
If you have excess fat around your waistline, consider losing weight through diet and regular physical activity. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help relieve lower back pain.
Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help you stay healthy and relieve pain. Avoid eating too much processed food, refined sugar and alcohol.
Foods high in fiber, protein and calcium can help maintain strong bones and support healthy joints. These nutrients also promote proper digestion and help eliminate toxins from the body.
7. Avoid Lifting Heavy Stuff (Improve Lifting Technique)
Excessively lifting heavy objects can put added pressure on your lower back if using improper techniques. To avoid this problem, lift items using proper techniques that utilize your legs.
Lift objects from a squatting position, rather than standing up straight. Keep your knees bent slightly while heavy lifting.
images can help you for proper lifting technique
8. Apply Hot and Cold Therapy
Applying heat or cold therapy to your lower back can be helpful when treating lower back pain.
When you first experience any severe pain, put a cold pack on the painful area to reduce swelling and relieve pain for the first 48-72 hours. Cold packs should be applied for 15-20 minutes at a time.
Afterwards, heat therapy will help to loosen the tight muscles and promote blood circulation to assist in recovery time.
9. Nerve Stimulation
Nerve stimulation treatments are often used to treat chronic pain conditions like lower back pain. The treatment involves applying electrical current to specific areas of the body to stimulate nerves and improve the function of affected organs.
See your doctor to see if nerve stimulation treatments are right for you. They may not work for everyone's conditions.
10. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy has been shown to be effective in relieving muscle tension and spasms. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety, which would all otherwise lead to lower back pain.
A massage therapist can perform a variety of different types of massages depending on the situation. Some people find deep tissue massage is most beneficial for their condition as it will help release muscle knots and soreness.
11. Physical Therapy
A physical therapist can provide exercises and stretches to strengthen weak muscles and improve flexibility. Physical therapy will help restore strength and mobility to injured parts of the body.
This type of therapy can be useful for individuals who suffer from chronic lower back pain and spinal stenosis, a condition where the spinal column narrows around the spinal cord.
12. Avoid Driving for Long Periods of Time
If you're driving long distances, take frequent breaks to stretch out your back and neck. This will help prevent further injury and discomfort from the stationary sitting position.
Sitting too long will cause your spine to become more rigid and less flexible, putting more pressure on your lower back. If you have to sit for an extended period of time, try walking around every hour or so.
13. Over the Counter Medication
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most common over-the-counter (OTC) medication used for lower back pain. These drugs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
These medications are usually recommended for short term use only. Long term use can result in gastrointestinal issues.
There are also ointments that contain lidocaine, anesthetic cream, and other topical numbing agents. These products can be effective when your back is sore, stiff, or tense.
14. Prescription Pills
Prescription pills are another option for treating acute lower back pain and not chronic pain. There are many different kinds of prescription painkillers available, including opioids (Oxycontin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and muscle relaxants.
These prescription medications are prescribed by doctors because they should only be taken under medical supervision. There are risks associated with taking them as they can become habit forming and addictive.
Antidepressants are typically used to treat depression, but there are also studies to show that antidepressants help relieve lower back pain.
The best way to determine whether these medications are appropriate for you is by consulting with your physician.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair damage done to the vertebrae or discs. Surgery is generally reserved for severe cases of disc herniation, nerve root compression, or spinal instability.
Consult your doctor if you think you might need surgery. He or she can recommend if surgery is right for you or if there are non-invasive treatment options for you.
Final Thoughts on Lower Back Pain Relief
It's important to remember that lower back pain isn't always something serious. It can be caused by minor injuries, such as lifting heavy objects or being in awkward positions. It can also be due to poor posture or even stress.
However, if you experience any symptoms that affect your daily activities and last longer than a few weeks, seek medical attention. You don't want to wait until the problem becomes worse before seeking care.
If you're experiencing lower back pain, make sure you follow our tips above for finding relief. We hope this article helps you find relief from your lower back pain.
Lower Back Pain Relief FAQs
How do you relieve lower back pain fast?
For acute lower back pain, an ice pack will help with the immediate pain symptoms that you're experiencing. Taking over-the-counter medications will also help with suppressing the pain signals. However, more effective treatments to relieve lower back pain in the long term will take time and can involve a combination of treatments.
Is lying on the floor good for lower back pain?
Lying on the floor can be a good way to stretch out your muscles and relieve lower back pain. However, it is also not for everyone. Some people will report that the hard floors will increase their lower back pain. When lying on the floor, putting a pillow under your knees can help keep your legs elevated and provide support for your lower back to align for your spine's natural curve.
Is it better to sleep without a pillow?
Your sleeping position is one of the main factors of whether it's better to sleep with or without a pillow. It's better to sleep without a pillow if you sleep on your stomach because your spine will be in better alignment. If you sleep on your back or on your side, a pillow will help to support your neck for proper posture and alignment.
Why is it good to sleep with a pillow between your legs?
Sleeping with a pillow between your knees helps prevent back pain. This is because when you lie down, your spine is naturally curved, which puts pressure on your lower back. By sleeping with a pillow between your thighs, you keep your spine straight, relieving pressure on your lower back and preventing back pain. The pelvis stays neutral and helps to prevent the spine from rotating while asleep.
How to relieve lower back pain during pregnancy?
Lower back pain during pregnancy is common, but you can relieve pain by taking certain precautions. Your body changes as you get pregnant, so you may notice some discomfort in your lower back. It's best to avoid sitting in a chair all day at work, practice good posture, engage in regular physical activities and stretches, and avoid carrying large amounts of weight.
Why does my back hurt during my period?
Lower back pain is commonly caused by hormonal changes that lead to uterus contractions during menstruation. The contractions put pressure on the spine and cause pain. During periods, there are other reasons why you might feel pain in your lower back, including muscle strains.
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/does-alcohol-dehydrate-you
- National Library of Medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11784215/
- Spine Health: https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/early-treatments-lower-back-pain
- Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS): https://www.hss.edu/conditions_in-depth-overview-low-back-pain.asp
- Harvard Medical School: https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/is-your-pillow-hurting-your-health
- Virginia Spine Institute: https://www.spinemd.com/tips-to-reduce-lower-back-pain-during-menstruation