Stop Your Activity And Find Immediate Rest
This may already make sense, but many of us prefer to keep moving. Some professionals actually recommend that you stay in motion, but if you are the unfortunate one to have a disc or nerve problem, then that is poor advice. You may end up visiting them for that instead.
Dont try to actively work or move until you know the source of the injury.
A very common reaction is to keep moving but MAY be dangerous. Although this might feel helpful, it is important to determine whether your pain is more than just muscular in nature.
Why you should NOT move:
Moving when you have any of these injuries can cause further injury, intensifying the pain.
If you have a history of ANY of these injuries or suspect that your lifestyle may contribute to it , then rest is a better than simply muscling through it with medication.
Lastly with this first tip, you should know that you should also apply this caution to not just your back but also to your hips, knees and neck.
Forcing yourself to move when these areas are injured can be very risky. Make sure that you arent adding to the pain. The wrong movement can set you behind.
Support Your Body In A Warm Pool
The buoyancy of the water lets you enjoy the benefits of exercise with less pain. Exercising in water also helps regulate the functioning of nerves and muscles, relieving pain.14
If you prefer warmer pools, look into water exercise classes and hydrotherapy pools. Water therapy exercises are often done in water that is about 83 degrees to 88 degrees. Hydrotherapy pool temperatures are often more than 90 degrees.
See Water Therapy Exercise Program
Sleep On A Quality Mattress
Lower back pain sufferers usually benefit from sleeping on a medium-firm mattress. However, your preferred sleep position also should influence your mattress selection. To maintain good posture, side sleepers should select a softer mattress. Back and stomach sleepers should choose a firmer mattress. If you have lower back pain, its a good idea to avoid sleeping on your stomach altogether.
If your lower back pain doesnt improve after 4 to 6 weeks of home care using these suggestions, you should see your doctor. You also should contact your doctor right away if you have any red flags, including:
- A history of cancer or a recent infection
- A recent fall or other accident
- Extreme fatigue
- Signs of infection, such as fever, chills, sweats
- Nerve problems, such as shooting pain, numbness or tingling
- Changes in bowel or bladder function
Other options for treating lower back pain may include physical therapy, pain management with cortisone injections or, in certain cases, surgery. Although lower back surgery can be beneficial for patients who are experiencing nerve problems and injured discs, its not typically recommended for patients with other types of lower back pain.
Download the Virtua Health Guide to Back Pain, or call to request a consultation with a Virtua back pain specialist.
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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.
A Recent Study On Chiropractic Care For Low Back Pain
A 2018 study published in JAMA Network Open is among the latest to weigh in on the pros and cons of chiropractic care for treating low back pain. Researchers enrolled 750 active-duty military personnel who complained of back pain. Half were randomly assigned to receive usual care while the other half received usual care plus up to 12 chiropractic treatments.
After six weeks of treatment, those assigned to receive chiropractic care:
- reported less pain intensity
- experienced less disability and more improvement in function
- reported higher satisfaction with their treatment
- needed less pain medicine.
While no serious side effects were reported, about 10% of those receiving chiropractic care described adverse effects . Five percent of those receiving usual care had similar complaints.
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How To Stretch With Lower Back Pain
Stretching with lower back pain can be difficult but it is very important to avoid injury. There are many stretches that can be done with lower back pain, but there are some basic guidelines to keep in mind.
1) The lower back should not be bent forward at all during the stretch. Bending the lower back forward will increase the pressure on it and may actually cause aggravation to the symptoms of low back pain. If you can avoid a certain exercise then do so.
2) Placing your hands on your belly or on the floor is a great way to stretch your lower back, but do not be too forceful with the movement. The goal is to stretch the muscles and not cause any pain.
3) Exercises performed with the spine in its natural curve are the best way to stretch the lower back.
4) Very specific stretches for the lower back are to be performed in a very slow and controlled fashion. For example, if a simple stretch for the low back is performed in a very slow manner, it is actually good for the lower back. If the movement is done very rapidly, it is possible to cause damage to the muscles and ligaments of the spine.
More Advanced Care Options
Surgery When other therapies fail, surgery may be considered to relieve pain caused by worsening nerve damage, serious musculoskeletal injuries, or nerve compression. Specific surgeries are selected for specific conditions/indications. However, surgery is not always successful. It may be months following surgery before the person is fully healed and there may be permanent loss of flexibility. Surgical options include:
Implanted nerve stimulators
- Spinal cord stimulation uses low-voltage electrical impulses from a small implanted device that is connected to a wire that runs along the spinal cord. The impulses are designed to block pain signals that are normally sent to the brain.
- Dorsal root ganglion stimulation also involves electrical signals sent along a wire connected to a small device that is implanted into the lower back. It specifically targets the nerve fibers that transmit pain signals. The impulses are designed to replace pain signals with a less painful numbing or tingling sensation.
- Peripheral nerve stimulation also uses a small implanted device and an electrode to generate and send electrical pulses that create a tingling sensation to provide pain relief.
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How To Strengthen Lower Back Muscles
Its important to have a strong lower back in order to maintain stability. Here are some exercises for strengthening your lower back muscles:
-Lie on your stomach with your arms outstretched in front of you. Bend one leg at the knee, keeping your other leg straight. Lift the uppermost leg enough so that the lower back moves just off the ground, then slowly return it to its original position. Repeat 10 times.
Arthritis Of The Spine
Arthritis of the spine the slow degeneration of the spinal joints is the most frequent cause of lower back pain. All of us experience wear and tear as we age, and it is normal for your lower back to start acting up as you get older. As the cartilage breaks down between the spinal joints, surrounding tissues may become inflamed. The inflammation and the thinning of cartilage increase friction in the joints, which may cause pain in the lower back.
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Which Exercises To Avoid With Lower Back Pain
Good posture is a must to avoid any type of back pain. If you have been doing any exercises that put stress on the lower back, stop those immediately. Other things that will help are:
1. Avoid sitting in a chair for long periods of time
2. Always maintain good posture
3. Avoid crunch to sit up straight or lay down
4. Dont hang heavy things, especially if they are light already.
Stop Listening To Back Pain Horror Stories
Stop listening to other peoples horror stories. You know the scenario: You are bent over in obvious pain, waiting to see the healthcare provider, and the person next to you tells you a 10-minute tale of how their Uncle Gordon had low back pain that required injections and surgery. But the pain still didnt go away.
Stop listening to these terrible stories. Most low back pain is short-lived and can be managed quite effectively with exercise and postural correction. Of course, some low back conditions are serious and require surgery, but that is a conversation you should have with your healthcare provider, not the guy in the waiting room.
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Lower Back Exercise For Flexibility
- Lay back with your feet flat on the floor and hold yourself up by bending both knees and pulling your toes up to your shins.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles to make the stomach tighten and push away from the waistband.
- For a count to five, hold the position and then relax. Pull your abdominals inward to flatten your back.
- Hold for 20 seconds to one minute. Repeat for three to five times.
How To Stretch Lower Back Muscles
Many people do little to no stretching, and that is an unfortunate mistake. Stretching provides relief for tight muscles that can cause pain and discomfort. However, it is important to know which muscles are strained the most by your daily activities.
The Lower Back Muscles are one of the most common groups of muscles that get strained from everyday tasks such as driving, sitting in a chair, or sleeping on a bad mattress.
The main muscles that target this area are the erector spine, the multifidus, and the transverse abdominis.
These muscles are responsible for maintaining the posture of the body, and they can get very tight. If you stretch them regularly, you will be able to stretch them out by using the Seated Turkish Stretch.
The Seated Turkish Stretch is a great way to stretch the most commonly strained muscles in the lower back area.
It is an effective way to get your lower back muscles back into shape, and it can be done sitting down comfortably in your favorite chair.
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How To Stretch Left Lower Back
when you feel pain in your left lower back, it is not uncommon to hear your friends recommend that you go for a walk. While exercise is helpful, the most effective way to relieve back pain is by stretching.
In order to stretch your left lower back, just lay down on the floor with your right side up. Next, bend your knees at a right angle and try to put all of your weight on the outside of your left heel.
Now, reach over with both arms until you can feel a stretch in the back of your left thigh. Hold this position for about 30 seconds before switching sides.
Get Enough Restorative Sleep
Pain is a leading cause of insomniadifficulty with falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Inadequate sleep can also make your back pain worse. This vicious cycle makes it more difficult for you to get restorative sleep.
See Restorative Sleep Brings Back Pain Relief
Getting enough restorative sleep is needed for the bodys tissues to heal and recharge energy levels. If you have trouble sleeping, it is important to address pain or other factors that are causing it. Your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatments depending on what is disrupting your sleep.
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Iii Apply A Cold Pack
For the first 48-72 hours, carefully apply a cold pack to the area to reduce any inflammation present. Protect the skin from any risk of ice burn with a thin towel before applying the pack. Apply for 20 minutes and use every 1-2 hours as needed.
Caution:Not everyone benefits from a cold pack. If you find applying cold only numbs your pain while you are still stiff, then either reduce the length of time you apply it, or avoid cold treatment. Some people are more likely to feel even stiffer with cold treatment. The goal is to relax the muscle, not shock it.
I recommend that you go with what works for you. Personally, I prefer heat instead, but everyone has their own preferences.
Start Treating Your Sciatica And Back Pain
If you are referred to a physical therapist for your back pain, he or she will likely teach you how to attain and maintain proper posture. The slouch overcorrect procedure is a simple way to teach yourself the posture that is required to maintain appropriate spinal alignment.
Your physical therapist may also use therapeutic modalities to help decrease your pain. While these may feel good, caution should be used many of these treatments have not been proven to effectively decrease pain-and keep it away.
Physical therapists trained in the McKenzie Method are specialists when it comes to treating people with low back and neck pain. If you can find a therapist certified in the McKenzie Method, he or she will likely perform a thorough assessment of your problem and teach you self-care exercises that can quickly abolish your pain and help you return to your previous level of function.
This is an exercise program commonly used to treat low back pain and sciatica, or leg pain that is coming from your back. They are listed as a progression. Start with exercise number one, and progress as needed through the exercises. You may not need to perform all of the exercises, but if the first one fails to provide you with adequate relief from your pain, try the second one, and so on.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain usually gets better with rest and pain relievers. Back pain that doesnt go away may be a sign of a more serious condition.
See your provider if you have:
- Pain that doesnt get better after about a week of at-home care.
- Tingling, numbness, weakness or pain in your buttocks or legs.
- Severe pain or muscle spasms that interfere with your normal activities.
- Fever, weight loss, bowel or bladder problems or other unexplained symptoms.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people live with low back pain. Stiffness, pain and limited movement can have a major impact on quality of life. But you may be able to avoid lower back pain by maintaining a healthy weight and staying active. Talk to your provider if back pain doesnt go away or if youre unable to do the activities you enjoy. Several treatments can relieve pain, help you move better and get more out of life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/18/2021.
Start These 2 Simple But Very Effective Exercises Now
What you can do now at this point is to practice these 2 simple exercises. They are among many specific and targeted exercises from the eBook which are the Seated Twist and the Lying Twist. They will help you both to loosen, strengthen and stabilize your spine, making it much easier for you to turn and reach to avoid triggering another spasm.
Reducing your back spasms will also reduce muscle guarding, a major factor which causes many to suffer from recurring pain in the morning.
The Seated and Lying Twist exercises help to release tight, lower back muscles which can fatigue and trigger a spasm. If you suffer from them, you may find that even these simple movements can be difficult to execute in full range.
As with all exercises, dont force yourself to perform the full stretch right away. You may cause more pain by doing this. Work your way up one degree or inch at a time very slowly over several days. Remember, your body is NOT accustomed to such movement.
It is common to trigger yourself by reaching or moving in a twisted position due to excessive tightness. They can strike during even the most mundane and simple of action such as reaching for a pen on the floor. These exercises help you to improve these tight areas to protect you.
- Dont Bend and Lift the Wrong Way. Try a Safer Way to Lift.
STRETCH AND STRENGTHEN THE MUSCLES THAT ARE PRONE TO SPASM WHILE CONDITIONING THE CORE MUSCLES THAT PROTECT YOU
Back spasms are NOT a quick fix problem.
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Whats The Best Position For Sleeping
The best way to sleep is on your side with your knees bent. You may put a pillow under your head to support your neck. You also may put a pillow between your knees for added comfort. If you sleep on your back, put pillows under your knees and a small pillow under your lower back. Dont sleep on your stomach unless you put a pillow under your hips.
Use a firm mattress. If your mattress is too soft, put a 1/2-inch plywood board under the mattress to add support.
Knee To Chest Stretch
Another great stretch to perform for lower back pain is the knee to chest stretch. This stretch helps relax your thighs, glutes, and hips while promoting overall relaxation. Heres how you perform this stretch:
- Lie on your back with both of your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
- Bend your right knee or extend it straight on the floor
- Draw your left knee into your chest, clasping your hands behind your thigh
- Lengthen your spine and avoid lifting your hips
- Breathe deeply to release tension and hold this pose for one minute
Afterward, repeat with the other leg. If you need extra padding, you can place a pillow under your head.
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