Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain When Sitting
In addition to improving your posture when sitting, try these at-home remedies for lower back pain:
- Change your position. Consider a standing desk or one thats ergonomically designed to help you maintain good posture by allowing you to adjust the height of your monitor.
- Apply ice.Cold helps reduce inflammation that may be affecting your back. Leave the ice pack on for about 20 minutes, and then remove it. You can do this every hour or so.
- Use a heating pad. After any inflammation is under control , many people find heat soothing. It also promotes healing by bringing blood to your back.
- Take over-the-counter medication.Pain relievers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce discomfort and swelling.
- Use a support. Placing a rolled-up towel or special lumbar pillow at the base of your spine while sitting will help you remember to sit up straight and provide you with some stability.
- Get a massage. This can help loosen and relax tight muscles.
- Consider yoga.Yoga is known for its ability to stretch and strengthen the body. Many programs allow for modification of the poses as needed.
There are several exercises that will help strengthen your lower back. Try these three stretching exercises to help make your back stronger and better toned:
Treating Chronic Back Pain
Experts recommend starting with non-invasive treatments for chronic back pain such as heat and ice, stretching/exercising, massage, and dry needling. Electrical stimulation may be helpful in relieving pain. While there are several medications available to relieve back pain, the American College of Physicians recommends starting with non-invasive and non-drug therapies. Medications may have side-effects or risks of addition, especially prescribed opioids. If chronic pain persists, spinal injections may help relax muscles and treat pain. Steroidal injections can treat pain for inflammation-associated sciatica, but steroids are not advised for long-term use.
If chronic, severe pain does not respond to non-invasive treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery as a last-resort option. Surgery is not always successful and can have a long recovery period. During surgery, doctors can repair or replace damaged intervertebral discs, re-align or fuse vertebrae, or implant nerve stimulators that disrupt pain signals with electrical stimulation. Physical therapy can help the recovery process after surgery.
On The Back In A Reclined Chair Or Bed
This might help people with lower back pain, particularly those with isthmic spondylolisthesis, a condition in which one spinal vertebra slips over the vertebra right below.
If a person gets significant relief from resting in a reclined chair, it may be worth investing in an adjustable bed that can be positioned in the same way.
Don’t Miss: Advil Vs Ibuprofen For Back Pain
Medical Conditions That Cause Back Pain
Conditions that can cause back pain include:
- a slipped disc this can cause back pain and numbness, tingling and weakness in other parts of the body
- sciatica this can cause pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet
- ankylosing spondylitis this causes pain and stiffness that’s usually worse in the morning and improves with movement
- spondylolisthesis this can cause lower back pain and stiffness, as well as numbness and a tingling sensation
These conditions are treated differently to non-specific back pain.
Very rarely, back pain can be a sign of a serious problem such as:
- a broken bone in the spine
- an infection
- cauda equina syndrome
- some types of cancer, such as multiple myeloma
If you see a GP with back pain, they’ll look for signs of these.
Page last reviewed: 14 January 2020 Next review due: 14 January 2023
Alternate Sides If Youre A Side Sleeper
Some evidence suggests that habitually sleeping on one side on an ill-fitting mattress may contribute to muscle imbalance and pain. Always sleeping on the same side suspends the middle of your body between your hips and shoulders, the broadest parts of the trunk. Place a pillow between your knees as shown below to keep hips, pelvis and spine aligned.
You May Like: Aleve Good For Back Pain
Get The Right Pillow Under Your Head
Sleeping on the wrong pillow is a common culprit of nighttime back pain, Tatta says. Make sure your pillow has enough support and allows your neck and spine to be in neutral alignment, which means that your head isnt craning backward nor is your chin pushed too far forward, he explains. Many arthritis patients find the most comfort in a thin, firm pillow. Ditch the giant, fluffy decorative pillows on your bed when it comes time to sleep.
Doctors Use Medical Tests To Diagnose Back Pain
Most back pain does not need a diagnosis to start treatment. However, doctors can use diagnostic tests to identify more serious causes of back pain. Tests that doctors may use to help diagnose your back pain include:
In most cases, back pain is not medically serious and can be treated without the need for diagnostic tests. However, some back pain requires immediate medical attention. Talk to your doctor if back pain coincides with unexplained weight loss, inflammation or fever, new inability to control the bladder or bowels , or any tingling or numbness in the legs.
You May Like: How Does A Diuretic Help Back Pain
Should I See A Chiropractor For My Back Pain
Spinal manipulation is used by chiropractors and osteopathic physicians to treat low back pain in selected patients. Spinal manipulation applies hand pressure to areas of the low back to relax irritated muscle and lessen the intensity of the pain.
Traction, using pulleys and weights to lengthen and stretch the spine can result in temporary relief. Both techniques will not treat any underlying causes of back pain, but rather offer a temporary relief from lower back pain.
A Strong Back Is A Healthy Back
Some simple exercises can help keep back pain at bay. These exercises build not only strength, but also flexibility. For more tips and exercises to help your back, check out the Harvard Special Health Report Back Pain: Finding solutions for your aching back .
Lie on your back with both knees bent. Pull one knee toward your chest and hold it for 5 to 10 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Do this 5 to 10 times with each leg.
Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet on the floor. Pull both knees toward your chest and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Return to the starting position. Do this 5 to 10 times.
Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet on the floor. Gently flatten your lower back to the floor and hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then relax. Do this 5 to 10 times.
Lie face down on the floor, your bed, or an exercise mat. Bend your torso upward and rest the weight on your forearms. Gently arch your lower back and hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Start on your hands and knees. Lift and straighten one leg, extending it gently backward without lifting it above your body level. Hold the position for 5 seconds. Do this 5 to 10 times with each leg.
Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet on the floor. Gently raise your buttocks off the floor 4 to 6 inches, hold for 5 seconds, and return to the starting position. Do this 5 to 10 times.
Recommended Reading: Back Pain Cleveland Clinic
How Should You Sleep If You Have Lower Back Pain
If you’re facing lower back pain, you may find it difficult to get a good night’s rest. Believe it or not, the cause of your back pain may even be a poor sleeping position that places pressure on your back.
Fortunately, there are a number of sleeping positions that can do wonders for your sleep quality and improve or even completely get rid of your back pain. So without further ado, here are the best sleeping positions if you have lower back pain.
Consider Buying A New Mattress
The exact mattress that will be most comfortable and supportive for your back will be unique for you but sleeping on a high-quality mattress can make a significant difference in your back pain, multiple studies show. Theres no hard-and-fast rule for how often to replace a mattress, but if youve had yours for a decade and you suspect it is contributing to your back pain at night, its probably time to start mattress shopping.
Recommended Reading: Advil Or Aleve For Back Pain
The Best Sleeping Positions For Lower Back Pain
The best sleeping position for lower back pain is on your side with a partial bend in the knees. Keeping the knees bent helps balance the body and reduces pressure on the lumbar spine. Many people find it helpful to put a small pillow between their knees to make this position more comfortable.
Unfortunately, many back and stomach sleepers have a hard time changing their sleeping position. Even so, they can take steps to reduce strain on their lower back:
- Back sleepers can put a pillow under their knees, legs, and/or lower back to support the natural curve of the spine and minimize lumbar pressure.
- Stomach sleepers should opt for only a thin pillow under their head and place a more supportive pillow under their hips and abdomen. This works to prevent the lower back from sinking into a U-shape that pulls the spine out of alignment.
Some people with back pain use an adjustable bed that makes it easy to raise the upper or lower part of the mattress in a way that decreases tension in the lower back.
Degeneration Of Spinal Tissue
Degeneration of spinal tissues occurs naturally throughout life as the spine experiences normal wear-and-tear throughout years. Vertebrae may degenerate and press against nerves that run through the spine. Intervertebral discs wear down and lose their ability to cushion the vertebrae. Discs can also become herniated or ruptured, causing a bulging disc that may compress spinal nerves and cause pain. The nerves may get more compressed when sitting, making back pain worse when lying down or sitting. A specific nerve named the sciatic nerve originates in the lower spine and runs into the legs. Compression of this nerve can cause a burning, shooting pain that runs down one of the legs .
Recommended Reading: Mayo Clinic Low Back Pain Exercises
Sharp Pain In The Lower Back
If youre experiencing a more sharp pain in the lower back when you lie down, this can quite often occur when you have hyperextension in the lower back or an anterior pelvic tilt. In simple terms, a hyperextension in the lower back is where you have more curve in the lower back than is ideal if you have this you may feel like you have a deeper curve in the lower back where your stomach is pushed slightly more forward. An anterior pelvic tilt may also cause hyperextension in the lower back to become more apparent, but with this kind of posture your pelvis will be tilted, angling more forward, meaning your bottom may appear more pronounced at the back. These two types of postural positions usually occur from having very tight hip-flexors from any hobbies you may have, or if youre based in a desk job where having tight hip-flexors can naturally occur when you spend lengthy periods of the day sat down. If you have this type of posture, when you lie down your back is pulled into extension, so its forced into a flatter position. This will give you that sharp pain at the bottom of the lumbar spine as the joints are effectively being more squashed, and pushed into one another.
Returning your spine to a neutral position, correctly supported can really help you lying on your back without pain and is an excellent exercise you can do at home with just a towel, theres a video further down on this page which will explain how to do this.
Why Your Leg Pain Feels Worse When Lying Down
One common complaint of sciaticasharp, shooting nerve pain in the legis that pain can feel worse in some positions, such as when lying down to go to sleep. Sometimes sciatica may prevent you from falling asleep, or it could be so severe that you wake up in the middle of the night with throbbing pain.
Sciatic nerve pain occurs when an underlying condition causes a nerve root in the lower spine or pelvis to become pinched, irritated, or inflamed. Watch:Sciatica Causes and Symptoms Video
Sciatic nerve pain occurs when a nerve root in the lower spine or pelvis is pinched, irritated, or inflamed. A variety of conditions can cause this type of leg pain, from a herniated disc to a bone spur to a tense piriformis muscle. Continue reading below for information on how leg pain typically occurs while lying down and how to find relief.
Read Also: Aleve And Back Pain
Pelvic Pain In Pregnant Women
In pregnant women, causes of pelvic pain happen due to hormonal changes, uneven and increased movement of the pelvis. You may experience pelvic bone pain when lying down at night due if you were particularly active during the day. As you lie down to get some rest, you may notice pain and discomfort.
However, it is also important to mention the following causes of pelvic pain in pregnant women:
- Ectopic pregnancy the fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus. Pain is sharp, stabbing, and appears quickly and often in waves. Only one side of the pelvis can be affected.
- Miscarriage loss of a baby before week 20. Severe pain and cramps are a sign of miscarriage. Other symptoms may include bleeding or spotting.
Some Conditions Can Be Aggravated By Sitting So After The Initial Pain Subsides Aim To Move More Not Less
Sitting down is supposed to be a way to relax after a long day on your feet. But for many women, sitting for any length of time is painful. It aggravates pain in the back instead of relieving it.
If this sounds like you, the problem could be one of several common conditions, says Dr. Steven J. Atlas, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
One of these conditions is a problem involving one of the discs that act as pads between the vertebrae in your back. In particular, a disc can become herniated, meaning it develops a bulge that can pinch a nearby spinal nerve, causing pain.
“There have been some studies that measured the amount of pressure on the discs,” says Dr. Atlas. “Not surprisingly, the pressure is lowest when you’re lying down.” But there is more pressure on the discs when you’re sitting than when you’re standing. “In fact, if I come into the exam room and a patient is standing, rather than sitting, my suspicion that the person has a disc herniation goes up a lot,” he says.
Disc problems can cause back pain alone, but when the pain moves into the legs, this may be the nerve pain known as sciatica. Sciatica sometimes occurs when a herniated disc pinches one of your sciatic nerves. These are the longest nerves in your body, running from the lower back into each leg. People with sciatica typically report a burning pain that involves the lower back, the leg, and sometimes the foot.
You May Like: Advil For Back Pain Dosage
How To Relieve Your Lower Back Pain When Lying On Your Back
Ultimately you need a safe and effective way to relieve the pressure on injured parts of your lower back, which is why it hurts your back when youre lying down. We recommend the lumbar decompression exercise below because it helps move your spine back to a supported neutral position. You need to do it correctly, and if you do it will really help your lower back pain. This exercise makes up an important part of the Back In Shape program that we mentioned above so if youd like more help, remember you can join the Back In Shape program and start fixing your back pain from home for free, Now, onto the exercise:
Relieving Back Pain When Lying On Your Back:
This towel exercise, what we call the lumbar decompression exercise is by far the best way to help an injured lower back. The pain youre experiencing in the lower back is becuase there is an injury down there of some scale. By positioning the spine in a safe neutral position, youve able to unload the joints, discs and muscles & ligaments to really take pressure off your lower back. DO NOT BEND FORWARD or round your back after you finish. Watch the video, and if you need more help the Back In Shape program is the prefect place to start.
Recommended Reading: Mayo Clinic Lower Back Pain Exercises
How To Ease Back Pain
The majority of patients with back pain are able to be successfully treated with conservative, non-surgical therapies and, in many cases, time and patience are often the answer, Dr. Baum says. Of course, this does not necessarily work for every case, especially with severe pain.
When it comes to treating upper or lower back pain when lying down flat, options often vary depending on the cause. NLM notes these standard treatments:
- Hot or cold packs.
- Surgical interventions.
Changing your sleep position may also be helpful, especially if arthritis and your facet joints are causing your back pain when lying flat. “If sleeping with your spine straight bothers you, you might take comfort curling up in a ball or fetal position,” Dr. Drake says.
Back sleepers may benefit from placing a pillow under their knees, says Cleveland Clinic. And for stomach sleepers experiencing pain, sleeping on your side with a body pillow may help, it says.
Exercises such as aerobic activities or yoga can also play a key role in pain relief, Dr. Baum says. These types of activities can help stabilize muscles and relieve tension.