Complementary And Alternative Techniques Include:
- Acupuncture is moderately effective for chronic low back pain. It involves inserting thin needles into precise points throughout the body and stimulating them , which may cause the body to release naturally occurring painkilling chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine.
- Behavioral approaches include:
- Biofeedback involves attaching electrodes to the skin and using an electromyography machine that allows people to become aware of and control their breathing, muscle tension, heart rate, and skin temperature people regulate their response to pain by using relaxation techniques
- Cognitive therapy involves using relaxation and coping techniques to ease back pain
Spinal injections include:Trigger point injections can relax knotted muscles that may contribute to back pain. An injection or series of injections of a local anesthetic and often a corticosteroid drug into the trigger point can lessen or relieve pain.
What Causes Back Muscle Pain
Some of the most common triggering factors for pain in the lower back include:
- Muscle overuse. If you have recently been performing activities that rely heavily on the usage of muscles in the lower back, there is a chance that these muscles may have been subject to overexertion and start to hurt as a result.
- Injuries to the lumbar spine, especially those that affect the soft tissue in this region
- Weak muscles. When the muscles that are responsible for holding your upper body in an upright position become weak, they cannot provide adequate support and, in an effort to keep supporting your back, they may strain in trying to do so.
- Poor posture. Maintaining an improper posture for prolonged periods of time, whether it happens while sitting or standing, can shift the distribution of weight in your upper body onto the lower portion of your back. As a result, your lumbar spine has to carry an increased weight, which may result in muscles in this region becoming strained.
- Muscle spasms tend to be a side-effect of other lower back issues, such as an injury, weak muscles, or even poor posture. When a spasm occurs, it is usually a signal that the affected muscle has been under increased strain and is unable to uphold the weight that is placed upon it.
% Of People Will Experience Back Pain At Some Time But There Are Ways To Find Relief
As people enter middle age, they are more likely to experience bouts of low back pain. In fact, according to the Harvard Special Health Report Men’s Health: Fifty and Forward, back pain affects about four in five Americans at some point in their lives and equally strikes men and women.
Age is often the culprit. Over time, the bones and joints in your lower back begin to change. Your discs tend to wear out and sometimes become fragmented. These structural alterations sometimes cause pain.
Another cause of low back pain, although it occurs less often, is a herniated disc. Sometimes, a disc pushes outside the space between the bones and compresses a nerve at the point where it branches off the spinal cord. When the sciatic nerve that leads into the buttocks and leg is affected, the pain is called sciatica.
Yet, most cases of low back pain stem from strain or sprain due to simple overuse, unaccustomed activity, excessive lifting, or an accident. In most cases the best move is to wait and see if the pain resolves on its own. If the pain does not improve after three to four days, then it’s time to see a doctor.
However, depending on the source of your back pain and its severity, you might try a few home remedies for low back pain to help ease the pain until your back returns to normal. Here are several options to consider:
Complementary therapies. Several types of complementary therapy may be helpful for relief from low back pain. These include:
Read Also: Mayo Clinic Low Back Pain Exercises
Stretching For A Back Muscle Spasm
Ultimately, the best thing you can do for a back muscle spasm is stretch, says Dr. Loren Fishmen, a physical medicine, and rehabilitation specialist in New York.
Though generally not serious, back muscle spasms often baffle doctors and family members, he says. This is because even though they likely produce little movement or support, muscles in spasm are hard at work as such, they require oxygen and nutrient delivery as well as waste disposal.
But contraction clamps down on blood vessels through which these substances pass, limiting the exchanges that can occur. Instead, acid builds up in your muscle which can hurtand makes for more spasm. It’s a vicious cycle until you can relax the muscle, he says.
Other ways to release the muscle, according to Fishman, include hot baths, gentle massage, and hot packs. The idea, he says, is to dilate the blood vessels and speed tissue repair.
Know Your Otc Medications
Nonprescription pain relievers can help with muscle aches and stiffness. The two main types of over-the-counter options are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
True to their name, NSAIDs help lower inflammation that can lead to swelling and tenderness. But acetaminophen does not relieve inflammation. You can reach for either type of pain reliever for occasional back pain. NSAIDs may work a bit better, Hemani says, if you have arthritis of the spine or other inflammatory conditions.
Recommended Reading: Back Pain Cleveland Clinic
What Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain Actually Work
Unless youve had a major injury, such as a fall or car accident, you probably dont need to rush to the doctor for back pain. You may want to try these simple self-care strategies first.
Avoid bed rest. When lower back pain strikes, people often think complete rest will relieve back pain. However, a review of many clinical studies found that patients who retreated to bed actually experienced more pain and recovered more slowly than patients who stayed fairly active
Use ice and/or heat. Many people find that using ice or cold packs for periods of up to 20 minutes at a time helps reduce pain and swelling. Always wrap ice or a cold pack in a thin towel before putting it on your body so you dont injure your skin. You may also find that heat, such as a heating pad or warm bath, eases pain. Ice is recommended in the first 48 hours after injury then you can try a combo of ice and heat.
Try over-the-counter remedies. Short-term use of OTC pain relievers, such as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen and naproxen, may ease your lower back pain. Also consider OTC creams, gels, patches, or sprays applied to the skin. They stimulate the nerves in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain.
Testing Your Psoas Muscle
An easy way to test if this might be your issue is to lay on your back on a flat surface and bring your heels close to your body and your knees up.
This puts the psoas in a resting position. If it relieves your back pain, the psoas muscle is almost certainly the root of your pain.
What you want to do is relax and lengthen the psoas muscle so that it takes pressure off of your lumbar spine.
Also Check: Advil For Back Pain Dosage
When To See A Doctor
People can often treat back pain with home remedies and some patience. However, a person should speak to a doctor about chronic or severe back pain.
A doctor may recommend physical therapy, medication, or other treatments. People who have existing health conditions or who take regular medications should speak to a doctor before trying any herbs or supplements.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration do not monitor supplements for purity or quality, so it is essential to research reputable companies first.
How Can You Prevent Lower Back Pain
While you cant stop aging or change your genetic makeup, lifestyle changes can help manage and prevent lower back pain. Having a healthy lifestyle may make you less likely to suffer an accidental injury, too.
Improve your physical fitness. People who are not physically fit are more likely to develop lower back pain because strong core muscles help support the lower back.
Stay active. People who lead sedentary lives may be more likely to injure themselves when they do exert themselves. As far as back health is concerned, its better to do a smaller amount of physical activity most days of the week than to sit all week and over-exert yourself on the weekends.
Lose weight if necessary. The more you weigh, the more pressure you have on your lumbar vertebrae. Being overweight or obese can put stress on the back and lead to lower back pain.
Lift heavy objects the right way. Be sure to squat while lifting so that your hips and knees do much of the work. Keep the load close to your chest while you lift.
Your legs, not your lower back, should be the main driver when you’re lifting something heavy.Make your workspace as ergonomic as possible. If you sit at a desk, make sure your chair has plenty of low-back support and your hips are at a right angle to the floor.
Dont use tobacco products. In addition to all the other health problems tobacco use causes, it can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
You May Like: Is Aleve Or Ibuprofen Better For Back Pain
Exercise To Loosen Muscles
Although it may seem counterintuitive to exercise when lower back pain is causing you grief, the right kind of movement can help eliminate the discomfort. Its always important to consult your physician before you engage in exercise when you have pain, but this conversation is well worth having if youre suffering.
First, you should keep in mind that not all exercise is beneficial in combating back pain. Try to avoid toe-touch exercises and sit-ups, which may add to the stress on your spine instead of relieving it. Leg lifts are another exercise to stay away from when you are hurting. If your core is not strong, leg lifts could be too demanding on your body if youre already experiencing pain.
Several types of exercises can be useful when you need to relieve back pain. Partial crunches can aid in strengthening your core without applying too much pressure to the area. Slow and controlled wall-sit exercises may also be useful. Other repetitions to consider include bringing each knee to the chest in succession, pelvic tilts, and swimming.
Back Exercises And Stretches
Simple back exercises and stretches can often help reduce back pain. These can be done at home as often as you need to.
For information about exercises and stretches that can help, see:
A GP may be able to provide information about back exercises if you’re unsure what to try, or you may want to consider seeing a physiotherapist for advice. Read about how to get access to physiotherapy.
You May Like: Is Motrin Good For Back Pain
What Causes Lumbar Strain
Injury can damage the tendons and muscles in the lower back. Pushing and pulling sports, such as weight lifting or football, can lead to a lumbar strain. In addition, sports that require sudden twisting of the lower back, such as in tennis, basketball, baseball, and golf, can lead to this injury. Certain risk factors, such as excessive lower back curvature, forward-tilted pelvis, weak back, or abdominal muscles, and tight hamstrings, can increase the risk for this injury.
Relax And Stay Positive
Trying to relax is a crucial part of easing the pain as muscle tension caused by worrying about your condition may make things worse.
Read more about:
Although it can be difficult, it helps to stay positive and recognise that your pain should get better. People who manage to stay positive despite their pain tend to recover quicker.
Don’t Miss: Aleve Lower Back Pain
How To Treat A Pulled Back Muscle In 8 Steps
A pulled back muscle can begin as a sudden, sharp pain when lifting or bending. Or it may appear gradually, getting progressively worse over several days. This common injury ranges from a minor inconvenience to an intense source of pain. It can take several weeks, and in some cases a few months, to heal.1
A pulled muscle is the common term for a strained muscle.2 A strain is a muscle or tendon injury that happens when the tissue stretches or tears. When a ligament stretches or tears, its called a sprain. Back pain, often due to a pulled muscle, is one of the most common issues health professionals treat.2 In most cases, you can manage and treat symptoms at home. But if the pain is unbearable or makes it difficult to move, see a doctor.
What Does A Muscle Knot Look And Feel Like
Muscle knots can usually be felt under the skin.
When you press them, the pain gets worse. Muscle knots are often a bit swollen and feel hard when you touch them.
If you have an active trigger point, the area causes pain even when you dont touch it.
If you have a latent trigger point, it is only painful when you press on it.
The most common area of muscle knots is the trapezius muscle, which starts in the neck and goes to the middle of the back and shoulders, forming a trapezium shape.
Heres a video showing how a muscle knot looks like:
Recommended Reading: How Does A Diuretic Help Back Pain
Lower Back Muscle Pain Causes And Treatment
Pain in the lower back is quite a common occurrence nowadays. In a lot of cases, this may be caused by spinal disorders such as a pinched nerve , spinal stenosis , herniated disks, sciatica, piriformis syndrome, and others. The effects caused by spinal disorders may often lead to chronic back pain, and last for a long time, especially if left untreated.
On the other hand, pain in this region of the back may also often occur due to issues related to back muscles. This type of pain tends to be more temporary in nature and may go away with adequate rest.
Stretching And Exercising Your Lower Back
Don’t Miss: How Much Advil Can I Take For Back Pain
Knee To Chest Psoas Muscle Stretch
Lie flat on your back on the floor. Pull one knee at a time into your chest. Avoid the rib cage and pull your knee toward your shoulder using your back muscles.
Keep the foot of the straight leg engaged by pulling your toes toward your shin . The calf of your straight leg should be on the ground.
Pull hard. You should feel a pinch in the hip socket. Hold for 30 seconds per side.
What Is The Outlook For People With Lower Back Pain
The outlook depends on the cause of pain. Most people with back strains and sprains recover and do not have long-term health issues. But many people will have another episode within a year.
Some people have chronic back pain that doesnt get better after several weeks. Older people with degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may have symptoms that get worse over time. Surgery and other treatments are effective at helping people with a range of injuries and conditions live pain-free.
Recommended Reading: Will Aleve Help Back Pain
What’s The Treatment For Low Back Strain
Low back strain can be a painful and depressing injury. But the good news is that most cases heal on their own, given time. To speed the healing, you should:
- Ice your back to reduce pain and swelling as soon as you injure yourself. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. You can also ice your back after physical activity.
- Apply heat to your back — but only after 2-3 days of icing it first. Use heat on your back only after the initial swelling has gone down. You could use an electric heating pad or a hot water bottle. Or you could just soak in a hot bath.
- Take painkillers or other drugs, if recommended by your doctor. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin, will help with lower back pain and swelling. However, these drugs may have side effects. They should be used only occasionally, unless your doctor specifically says otherwise. Prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants are sometimes necessary.
- Use support. Ask your doctor or therapist first, but consider getting a belt or girdle to add support to your back. Use it only short-term or for support with heavy or repetitive lifting.
- Get physical therapy to build up strength, if your doctor recommends it. Do not stay in bed or on the couch all day. That will make it worse.
- Maintain good muscle tone in your abdominal and lower back muscles.