Know These Lower Back Pain Facts First

Learn some of the many different causes, exercises, special stretches, pain relief, and treatment options

Nine Home Treatments for Relieving Your Back Pain

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Do not feel you have to suffer with lower back pain or that the only option is surgery.  In fact, surgery is the absolute last option considered and is usually not necessary.  There are home remedies and exercises you can do before your doctor will even discuss the different surgical options available.

#1 – Limit Bed Rest

While some bed rest is essential in the first few days, you will want to try to get up and moving after at least three days as long as your doctor gives you permission.   Your muscles will weaken and your joints will become stiff resulting in back pain when you sit around for too long.

#2 – Apply Ice Pack or Heating Pad

Both heat and ice can be helpful.  It is difficult to know which one will help to relieve the pain.    If there is swelling, doctors tend to recommend using ice for the first 48 hours to help reduce the swelling.  Sometimes it is beneficial to alternate between the two.  Use a heating pad for approximately 15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.  Ice can be applied approximately 15 minutes every two to three hours, as well.

#3 – Take Pain and Anti-inflammatory Medication

Medication can help to manage the pain, but may not allev  iate all of it.  There are three types of over-the-counter medications including:  Acetaminophen, NSAID, and Naproxen.  Acetaminophen is found in Tylenol.  NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil or Motrin.  Naproxen can be found in Aleve or Naprosyn.  These are just popular examples.  They can be found in other brand names, as well.   These cannot be taken for long periods of time.  There are prescription meds that can be ordered if you need something stronger.

#4 – Maintain Good Posture

Poor posture puts strain on your spine and back muscles.  If you have poor posture for a long time, it can change your spine’s anatomical characteristics.  This can lead to constricted blood vessels, nerves, muscles, discs, and joints, which are all possible causes of lower back discomfort.   When you maintain good posture during your daily activities, this can take pressure off of your nerves and will help to reduce back pain.

#5 – Build up your Core Muscles/Improve Flexibility

Weak core muscles exert strain on the back.  Toning up your abs gives your back support and flexibility.  There are many abdominal exercises you can do to strengthen your abs.  Increasing flexibility can distribute pressure put on your body evenly.  Stretching is great for improving flexibility.

#6 – Use Relaxation Techniques

What’s the connection between relaxation and back pain?   Lower back pain is often caused by tension in your muscles.  If you learn some relaxation techniques, you will be able to relieve this tension resulting in a reduction of pain. Here are just a few relaxation therapy techniques to try:

Breathing Exercise

  1. Sit up straight in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Relax your body and mind by imagining the ocean swallowing up all of your worries.
  4. Take 2 slow and relaxed breaths.
  5. Return to normal breathing.
  6. With each breath, imagine breathing in comfort and breathing out stress.
  7. Focus on different areas of your body.  Tighten these muscles. Hold to the count of five and then relax to the count of five.  Do this for your arms, shoulders, face, chest, stomach, back, and legs.  While you are doing this step, imagine the ocean, a field full of flowers, or some other place that will completely relax you.
  8. Count down from ten to zero.  You can now slowly open your eyes.
  9. Take one last deep breath.  Wiggle your fingers and toes and stand up.

Yoga Technique

  1. Place yoga mat next to the wall.
  2. Sit down cross legged resting your hands on your knees palms facing up.
  3. Breathe deeply for 2 minutes.
  4. Extend your legs straight out in front of you.
  5. Lean forward with a straight back for 30 seconds.
  6. Stand up next to the wall. Place your palms on the wall.
  7. Tighten your abs in as far as you can.
  8. Move your feet back while still keeping your palms on the wall.  Your body should form an “L” shape.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Breathe deeply.
  9. Lie down on your belly.  Lift your head and arms up until your back curves.  Your legs should remain straight.  Hold for 30 seconds.
  10. Lie back down and stretch your arms over your shoulders.  Hold for ten seconds and relax.
  11. Return to cross legged position.  Place your hands on your knees.  Raise your arms over your head and hold.  Bring them back to your knees palms face up and breathe.

#7 – Stop Smoking

There are many different studies being done to actually prove that the cessation of smoking will help to relieve back pain.  Scientists are studying the interaction between nicotine and special proteins.  These proteins are important to the central and peripheral nervous system that control anxiety and pain.

According to preliminary studies, prolonged exposure to nicotine can actually change the way pain is processed because it gradually changes the functions of the cells.  Nicotine also impairs oxygen delivery to tissues, which can induce inflammation to your joints and bones.  Simply put, stop smoking not only for a possible reduction in pain, but also for your overall health.

# 8 – Make Adjustments to your Sleep Position

Young woman sleeping on her sideIf you wake up sore after a restless night of sleep, you may need to change how you are sleeping.  This does not necessarily mean you have to give up the sleep position you prefer, but you may need to make some adjustments.

  • Side Sleepers – Your upper leg is unsupported.  Your top knee and thigh will generally slide forward to rest on the mattress.  This will rotate your lower spine, which can contribute to the pain.  Try placing a pillow between your knees and thighs to support the upper leg.
  • Back Sleepers – Put a pillow under your knees.  This will help to maintain the normal curvature of your lower back.  Roll a towel under the small of your back for extra support.  This is one of the best positions for lower back pain.
  • Belly Sleepers – This is the hardest position for your lower back as it places strain on this area. To reduce this strain, place a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen.  Sometimes a pillow under your head may cause additional strain.  If so, try a flatter pillow or nothing at all.

#9 – Perform Lower Back Relaxation Exercises

Perform exercises that are meant to reduce the tension in your back.  These generally involve stretching movements; however, light cardio may also help.  You should never perform any new exercise without consulting your doctor.  If you begin to experience severe pain during a movement, stop immediately.  Here are just a few to try that are designed to relax your back muscles:

Back Flex Exercise

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Lift your arms up and over your head stretching away from your body.  Hold 30 seconds.
  3. Return to original position.

Foam Roller – Middle Back

  1. Place roller perpendicular to your body.
  2. Position it under the mid-section of your back.
  3. Bend knees and put feet on the floor.
  4. Cross your arms.
  5. Roll backward.
  6. Exhale as your legs extend with the roll backward.

Find more exercises here…

Surgery Options for Lower Back Pain Relief

If none of the lumbar back pain home remedies work, your doctor may decide to explore surgical options.  This is only considered for people who have specific conditions, such as spinal stenosis, spinal fracture, spinal infection, spondylolisthesis, spinal tumors, etc.

Conclusion

There are many different home remedies you can try to relieve your lower back pain.  If you begin to experience acute or chronic back pain, you do not have to worry that surgery is the only option for relief.   This is a misconception that many people believe, which tends to prevent them from seeking the advice of a medical professional.    Don’t be afraid to discover your options.  There really is hope for lower back pain relief.



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