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What Can You Do To Help Lower Back Pain

Remedies To Relieve Lower Back Pain Fast

How to Fix Your Lower Back Pain for Good

by North Texas Medical Center | Jan 28, 2020 | Physical Therapy

We all want to know the best way to relieve lower back pain fast. At best, backache can be frustrating, perhaps draining. At its worst, this kind of discomfort can be utterly debilitating. If you have ever awakened with a terrible backache, you may have also learned how quickly such an ailment can derail your day, your week, or even several months or years.

Fortunately, there are remedies to combat that ache. From exercising to getting better sleep to reducing your stress levels, you can choose from a variety of strategies. The next time you have a backache , consider the following methods of back pain relief. Remember to discuss at-home back pain remedies with your doctor before you make use of them.

What Are Some Common Lower Back Pain Causes

The causes of lower back pain are sometimes viewed as being mechanical, organic or idiopathic. Sometimes spinal conditions are congenital or acquired meaning the disorder develops later in life.

  • Mechanical lower back pain is often triggered by spinal movement and involves spinal structures, such as the facet joints, intervertebral discs, vertebral bodies , ligaments, muscles or soft tissues.
  • Organic lower back pain is attributed to disease, such as spinal cancer.
  • Idiopathic refers to an unknown cause.

These are some of the things your doctor might look for or rule out when you schedule a visit for back pain.

The common symptoms of lower back pain.

Sprains and strains. Ligament sprains and muscle or tendon strains are the most common causes of lower back pain. Theyre often related to overuse.

Degenerative disc disease. While the name sounds worrisome, it just means you have a damaged disc causing pain. Over time, discs become thinner and flatter due to wear and tear. That leaves them less able to cushion the vertebrae and more likely to tear .

Herniated disc. The protective covering on intervertebral discs can tear over time. When this happens, the soft inner disc tissue may push through the outer layer. A disc that bulges or slips out of place is known as a herniated disc, bulging disc, or slipped disc. The herniation may press on nerve roots, leading to symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the area that the nerve serves

Overlooked Remedies For Lower Back Pain Relief

When lower back pain persists and continues to interfere with your quality of life, multiple treatment options may be needed for adequate relief. Below are some back pain treatments that are commonly overlooked or underused. Try one or more of these remedies to see which one, or combination, works best for you.

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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

What Is Lower Back Pain

Back pain: Exercises you can do at home to help soothe ...

Low back pain can result from many different injuries, conditions or diseases most often, an injury to muscles or tendons in the back.

Pain can range from mild to severe. In some cases, pain can make it difficult or impossible to walk, sleep, work or do everyday activities.

Usually, lower back pain gets better with rest, pain relievers and physical therapy . Cortisone injections and hands-on treatments can relieve pain and help the healing process. Some back injuries and conditions require surgical repair.

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Maintain Correct Posture During Activities

To protect your lower back from injury, its important to maintain proper posture when performing physical activitiesespecially if you play sports or have a job that requires repetitive motions. Avoid slouching as much as possible and aim to keep your spine erect. When lifting, bend and straighten from the knees, not the waist. And be sure to move your hips when twisting from side to side.

One Back Pain Treatment You Probably Dont Need

Back pain can be incredibly frustrating, and going under the knife may seem like the quickest, easiest fix to bring relief. But the truth is, many people dont need surgery for lower back pain management, Dr. Park says.

If your back pain is musculoskeletal, you will not require surgery, but if its a pinched nerve thats due to a disc herniation or something else, you may need to have surgery, he says. But even in those people, when you go through a six-to-eight-week course of treatment that includes physical therapy and activity modification, 85 to 90 percent of the time, they wont need surgery.

However, if you try the treatments above and dont see any improvement or still feel pain, talk to your doctor about a referral to a pain management specialist, as more specific tests or treatments may be required to get to the bottom of whats going on.

Stay updated on the latest science-backed health, fitness, and nutrition news by signing up for the Prevention.com newsletter here.

Also Check: Mayo Clinic Low Back Pain Exercises

Ways To Relieve A Back Spasm

Several home remedies can provide relief for back spasms, especially in the early stages of the condition. A simple shift in your daily habits such as exercising regularly and good posture will set you on the right road to recovery. Common relief methods for back spasms include:

  • Stretching the area of the spasm
  • Massaging your lower back
  • Applying ice and heat to your back
  • Getting active and hydrated
  • Treating back spasms by visiting a licensed chiropractor
  • Lets get into the specifics of each remedy in detail.

    What Are The Most Common Lower Back Surgery Procedures

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    Spine surgery is not necessary for most people who have lower back pain. If you do need it, your doctor will recommend an appropriate procedure to address your specific symptoms and medical situation. Common spine surgeries include:

    Spinal Fusion. Two or more vertebrae are permanently fused together to limit excess spinal motion. Your surgeon will use a combination of bone, bonelike material, screws, plates and rods to hold the vertebrae together so they can heal into a single unit. Spinal fusion may be done to correct spinal deformities or to increase the spines stability in severe cases of spinal osteoarthritis or herniated discs.

    Laminectomy and laminotomy. Laminectomy is a surgery in which your surgeon removes the back portion of one or more vertebrae to create more space for the spinal cord or other nerves. In people with severe arthritis, bone spurs within the spinal canal can grow large enough to press on the spinal cord, causing pain and limiting mobility. In a similar surgery known as laminotomy, your surgeon will remove a small piece of bone called the lamina from the back of the vertebra.

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    Massaging Your Lower Back

    Sometimes, a good back massage may relieve the pain and discomfort that comes with muscle cramps and back spasms.

    If you cannot get a professional massage, you can try out a home alternative. Gently rub the affected area of the muscle spasm over and over again, until you feel some sort of relief.

    If youre experiencing persistent back spasms, consider pinching the area around the sensations and holding the pinch for a few minutes. You can ask someone to help out if your hands cant reach the area.

    Gently Stretch Your Joints And Soft Tissues Through Yoga

    Yoga is an effective way to stretch your back, improve the health of muscles and joints, enhance distribution of healing nutrients through blood circulation, and increase the flexibility of the spine.12

    See Healing Benefits of Yoga

    When you start, perform the stretches slowly and advance only if you feel comfortable without pain. Gradually, you will be able to add more stretches to your routine. An ideal time for yoga is early morningto help loosen your spine and also reduce stiffness and aches in your back.

    See 3 Beginner Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain Relief

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    Can Bending Over Cause Lower Back Pain

    Share on Pinterest Bending over increases the strain on a persons back, which can result in pain. Lower back strain is a common cause of back pain when bending over. The position can put significant pressure on the lower back, causing the muscles and ligaments to stretch excessively.

    When Surgery Is Necessary

    5 Super Simple Exercises for Lower Back Pain [Infographic]

    When conservative treatment for low back pain does not provide relief or neurologic symptoms are worsening or severe, surgery may be needed. Candidates for surgery present any of the following:

    • Reasonably good health
    • Back and leg pain limits normal activity or impairs quality of life
    • Progressive neurologic deficits develop, such as leg weakness, numbness or both
    • Loss of normal bowel and bladder functions
    • Difficulty standing or walking
    • Medication and physical therapy are ineffective

    If surgery is recommended, neurosurgeons have a variety of options available to help relieve pressure on the nerve roots. If several nerve roots and discs are causing the pain or if degeneration and instability exist in the spinal column, the neurosurgeon may choose: a minimally invasive approach a more open decompression or fusing the vertebrae together with bone grafts and stabilizing them with instrumentation, including metal plates, screws, rods and cages, depending on the extent of disease. After such surgery, patients may gain restored mobility in the back, including the ability to bend over. In addition, patients may require postoperative physical therapy.

    The benefits of surgery should always be weighed carefully against the risks. Although a large percentage of patients with low back pain report significant pain relief after surgery, it is not guaranteed that surgery will help.

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    How Do You Tell If Lower Back Pain Is Disc Or Muscle

    The lower back and neck are the most flexible parts of your spine, and theyre also where most herniated discs occur. While pain in your mid-back may be related to a disc, its more likely caused or other issues. Your symptoms feel worse when you bend or straighten up from a bent position.

    Lower Back Pain: Is It In Your Genes

    One of the main reasons a person develops low back pain and another doesn’t may lie in their genes. With disc degeneration, Andersson says, âIf you take twins — one who is doing heavy physical work and one who is doing desk work — and you compare their MRI exams, they are essentially identical. This tells you that genetic factors are very important.â

    If you have chronic low back pain, you’ve likely inherited the tendency, and you’re probably hardwired for it. The lower back contains sensitive receptors called nociceptive fibers, which send pain signals to the brain. “Some people have a lot of nociceptive fibers — for example, in their discs — while others have relatively few,” Wisneski tells WebMD. That may be why one person can lift heavy weights many times and never experience low back pain, while another who barely lifts anything is in constant agony.

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    Supplements And Herbal Therapies

    Looking for a natural way to manage your back pain? You might consider supplements or herbal therapies. Here’s what Grossman advices for her patients:

    When considering supplements and herbal therapies, always talk to your doctor first about potential risks and side effects, interactions with other medications, and which therapies may benefit you.

    Is Your Job Causing Back Pain

    Back Pain Exercises for Lower Back Disc Relief

    A job that involves pulling, lifting, or twisting with the low back can cause injury and low back pain. Even prolonged sitting in an awkward position can cause low back pain. Standing on your feet for hours on end? That can cause lower back pain too. The best way to prevent back pain is to know if you are at risk.

    Jobs That Can Cause Lower Back Pain

    • Airline crew
    • Surgeons
    • Office personnel

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    Treating Back Spasms With Chiropractic Care

    During your initial visit, your chiropractor will determine the cause of your muscle spasm. If it is caused by strain or injury, they might perform spinal adjustments or soft tissue therapy to ease the pain and discomfort.

    However, if the chiropractor finds an issue with a spinal disc, then you may require different treatment or further imaging. The requisite rehabilitation may involve different exercises and stretches. In some instances, you may also be referred back to your medical doctor for additional care.

    If youre worried about the treatment hurting, dont worry chiropractic care is gentle and is always a discussion between you and the treating practitioner.

    Why Is Lower Back Pain Such A Common Problem

    The bottom part of your back typically has just five vertebrae fewer than your neck and mid-back. And these vertebrae do a lot of heavy lifting! Your lower back is where your spine connects to your pelvis, bearing the weight of your upper body. This area experiences a lot of movement and stress, which may lead to wear, tear and injuries.

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    What Can I Do For Low Back Pain At Home

    If your lower back pain has just started, the best thing you can do is start a log. Record your symptoms, times, dates and which activities trigger the pain or make it worse or better. Take this information to your family physician if the pain doesnt resolve on its own. It will make diagnosing the cause much easier.

    Once you know which motion or position causes your lower back pain, try to avoid it and see if you get better. Icing the painful spot can also help. And so can over-the-counter pain relievers that help reduce inflammation. Just remember that pain killers treat only the symptom pain and not its cause.

    Diagnosing Low Back Pain

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    Diagnosis is made by a neurosurgeon based on history, symptoms, physical examination and results of diagnostic studies. Some patients may be treated conservatively if conservative treatment is ineffective, the physician may order imaging studies of the lower back and other tests, which may include:

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    Ways To Ease Low Back Pain

    Just because it’s possible to inherit low back pain doesn’t mean the matter is completely out of your control. “It’s how we’re born and how we take care of ourselves,” Wisneski says.

    If you sit in an uncomfortable chair all day, work a jackhammer, or regularly twist your body into uncomfortable positions, your lower back will suffer for it. Smoking — the bad habit that increases the risk of dozens of diseases — can also lead to backaches. One study found that smokers are nearly a third more likely to have low back pain compared to nonsmokers.

    Try these five tips to prevent or ease lower back pain:

    • If you smoke, get help to kick the habit.
    • Practice good posture whenever you sit or stand. When lifting something, lift with your knees, not with your back.
    • Do exercises to strengthen the muscles that support your back — especially the abdominals, hips, back, and pelvic area. Developing strong core muscles can make a big difference in how you feel. “When my abs are in good shape and I’m well worked out, I’m the least susceptible,” Snyder says.
    • Fight the urge to crawl into bed whenever your lower back acts up. “Our bodies are meant to be used,” Wisneski says. “If you have pain, sometimes you develop a âdisease of disuse.â”
    • See your doctor and get treated for low back pain early on, so you can stay moving and keep active.

    Show Sources

    Gunnar Andersson, MD, PhD, professor and chairman emeritus, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago.

    Acupuncture For Low Back Pain Relief

    Acupuncture can be moderately effective for chronic low back pain. With acupuncture, fine needles are inserted into various points around the body.

    Acupuncture practitioners hypothesize that when these thin needles are inserted into the skin and then stimulated by twisting or tapping, naturally occurring chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine are released to relieve pain.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests acupuncture can be an effective pain reliever. Further scientific and clinical studies are underway to prove the efficacy of acupuncture therapy.

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    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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