Tips On How To Relieve Lower Back Pain
If you suffer from lower back pain, youre not alone. In fact, according to a study in the medical journal The Lancet, nearly 80 percent of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives1. And when you have back pain, it can quickly become the only thing you think about.
However, if you focus solely on the location of your pain, it can actually become less likely you will solve the root problem. Thats why a holistic approach may not only be the road to less pain, but also the road to a healthier overall life.
Below are some tips that can help you begin relieving your lower back pain while also delivering additional health benefits.
Medication From The Store
There are two kinds of over-the-counter pain relievers that frequently help with back pain: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. Both have some side effects, and some people may not be able to take them. Talk to your doctor before taking pain relievers. And don’t expect medication alone to solve your pain problem. Studies show you’ll probably need more than one type of treatment.
How Your Back Works
The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength.
Its made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones have discs in between and lots of strong ligaments and muscles around them for support. There are also the bones in the tailbone at the bottom of the back, which are fused together and have no discs in between.
On either side of the spine, running from top to bottom, are many small joints called the facet joints.
The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it.
The spinal cord connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves are also known as nerve roots.
As you grow older, the structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, age as well. The structures remain strong but its usual for your back to get stiffer as you get older.
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Lumbar Side Glide In Standing
If the press up with hips off center failed to offer significant relief or centralize your symptoms, you should then try the lumbar side glide exercise.
This exercise is done standing about a foot from a wall with your painful side away from the wall. Lean your shoulder against the wall with your elbow tucked into your ribs, and slowly push your pelvis underneath your ribcage.
Perform 10 repetitions of the side glide, and watch for changes in your pain. If your pain continues or fails to centralize, try the next exercise: the lumbar flexion rotation stretch.
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.
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Are You Making Your Back Pain Worse
Don’t be guilty of exacerbating your already achy back. Try these tips for preventing added low back pain:
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes if you are on your feet all day.
- Don’t slouch when standing or sitting.
- At home or work, make sure work surfaces are at a comfortable height.
- Warm-up and stretch before exercise or other strenuous physical activity.
- Don’t try to lift objects that are too heavy and don’t twist while lifting.
- Live a healthy lifestyle, stop smoking, and keep off the extra weight.
How To Sleep With Lower Back Pain
The lower back features an interwoven series of structures. It includes the five vertebrae of the lumbar spine, each of which is bolstered by shock-absorbing discs and held in place by ligaments. Surrounding muscles offer support and are connected to the spine by tendons. Nerves run through the spinal column to deliver signals throughout the body.
The lower back supports most of the bodys weight and is integral to all kinds of movements. Whether standing, sitting, walking, or lying down, the lower back plays a role in mobility and comfort.
Given the complexity of the lower back and how much we depend on it, it comes as no surprise that it is a leading hotspot for pain. Eight out of 10 people have back pain at some point during their life, and lower back pain is one of the top reasons why people see a doctor.
Back pain can range from mild to severe, and it may be short-lived or long-lasting. When serious, it can be debilitating and interfere with nearly all aspects of daily life, including sleep.
Pain and sleep have a complex relationship. Pain can disrupt sleep, and poor sleep can make it more likely that a person will experience pain. In addition, a sleeping position or mattress that doesnt support the lumbar spine can induce or exacerbate lower back pain.
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How Can I Treat Spinal Back Pain At Home
Because spinal back pain is caused by a mechanical failure of your spinal discs, there are a couple of things you can do at home to help alleviate some of the pain. Here are three of the best ways to treat your spinal back pain at home:
1. Rest. In most situations, time is the best solution. If you dont push yourself too hard and give yourself the time your body needs to heal, the injury will heal on its own. Avoid vigorous activities like working out or anything where you have to bend or lift. Moderate bed-rest for one or two days is an option, but you shouldnt remain entirely in your bed, as you need to keep moving to keep your muscles and joints healthy.
2. Medication. Ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce spinal pain because they help bring down inflammation and swelling. This should only be a temporary solution. If your back pain is severe enough that you have to use these medications consistently for more than 10 days, consult a physician. Taking these medications for a long period comes with the risk of heart problems or bleeding.
3. Physical therapy. Some mild exercises and stretches guided by a professional can help improve the symptoms of spinal back pain. They will help strengthen your back to help correct the issue and prevent future pain points.
Stretch Your Hip Flexors
Tight hip flexors cause your pelvis to tilt forward, tightening the muscles of your lower back. Stretch the hip flexors once or twice a day with a kneeling hip flexor stretch for relief.
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Heres What The Study Couldnt Tell Us
The study was missing a few potentially helpful low-risk medicines. Topicals such as the lidocaine patch or capsaicin ointment were not included, which is a shame, as these can provide relief for some people, and carry little risk. I would also be interested to know if over-the-counter topical therapies containing menthol and camphor are better than placebo for low back pain. Suggestions for the future research, and the next update!
I plan to write about chronic low back pain in a future post, because there was a guideline update for that specific issue as well.
How Are Sleep And Lower Back Pain Related
Researchers have long seen an association between lower back pain and sleeping problems, and growing evidence points a two-way relationship in which they can be mutually reinforcing.
Discomfort from pain can be a major barrier to sleep. Lower back pain makes it hard to get comfortable enough to fall asleep or may provoke nighttime awakenings when pain surges.
At the same time, people with sleep problems are more likely to start having pain or to have pain get worse. Experts arent certain why this happens, but there are several potential explanations. Sleep deprivation may impair healing, affect mood in a way that heightens pain sensitivity, or disrupt chemicals in the brain that are involved in how we experience pain.
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How Do You Stop Back Pain From Sitting Too Long
If your job involves long sitting sessions on the chair, the best way to prevent back pain is to practice the best posture, which we have discussed earlier in detail. You can also relieve back pain by incorporating exercises into your daily program. Ideally, you should not sit for too long without standing and walking for a few minutes before sitting again.
Is Standing Or Sitting Better For Lower Back Pain
Generally, being in a better physical condition will help reduce lower back pain, and this implies that standing is better because it makes you active. Also, sitting puts excess pressure on your lower back compared to when you are standing. However, this does not entirely imply that standing alone can be the answer to your back pain problems. Just as its painful to sit for extended hours, so too can standing to be painful when you have been in the same position for an extended period.
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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 Back Pain When Sitting All Day
The most common cause for lower back pain is poor sitting posture. Poor posture while sitting puts too much strain on your back which in turn results in excess pressure on the joints, discs, muscles, and discs hence the pain. The best way to prevent back pain when sitting all day is the surest way to prevent back pain. You also need to do simple exercises such as walking for a few minutes before sitting again.
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Why Does Your Lower Back Hurt When Sitting And Getting Up
There are various causes of back pain. Whereas others are self-inflicted, others are as a result of bad habits. Other potential causes of back pain may include sports injuries, muscle strains, and perhaps accidents. Though these causes may be different, on most occasions they tend to share the same symptoms. One such common symptom is the chronic ache in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting for an extended period then getting up. Typically, poor posture while sitting causes a bit of compression on the disc in your spine, leading to premature degeneration hence back pain.
Ways To Relieve Back Pain Naturally
There are a wide variety of natural remedies to soothe your back, which can help reduce the intake of medications or provide an added benefit to your existing medical treatment.
Take a look at these natural pain-relieving strategies and find out what works best for you:
Read on to learn more about effective pain-relieving strategies for chronic back pain from natural methods.
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What Is The Best Sitting Position While Driving
If you are suffering from lower back pain, driving can prove to be a real challenge. To maintain a good posture, sit up straight with your knees slightly raised than your hips, and keep your chin pulled is to allow your head to sit straight on top of your spine. You should also make sure that your back is aligned against the back of your seat, and if possible, add extra support t your cars seat. There are a lot of specialized pillows and cushions which you can use to ease lower back pain as well.
Which Low Back Exercise Is Right For You
If you are experiencing pain on one side of your back or leg, then try the first exercise and monitor symptoms as you exercise. Watch for centralization, which is a decrease in leg or thigh pain and an increase in low back pain. Centralization that occurs while you are performing an exercise is a good sign and indicates that the particular exercise is the correct one for you to be doing.
If your symptoms worsen, fail to centralize, or only centralize partially, move on to the next exercise in the list. Attempt the exercise, and monitor any changes in your symptoms. Remember pain that moves closer to your spine is a good sign.
Before starting any exercise for your back, it is a good idea to check in with your healthcare provider to be sure that exercise is safe for you to do. Your local physical therapist can help you decide on the best exercises for your specific condition.
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Ask About Prescription Medications
If your back pain hasnt resolved itself within four to six weeks, make an appointment with your doctor, who will examine your back and ask you to sit, stand, bend, walk, and lift your legs to see how your pain is affecting your mobility. Youll likely be asked to rate your pain on a scale of one to 10, and they may do imaging tests, like an X-ray or MRI. Then, he or she may recommend one of the following prescribed therapies:
- Muscle relaxants: Medications like cyclobenzaprine or baclofen can help relieve painful back spasms. If you go this route, just know that side effects can include fatigue and dizziness.
- Topical pain medications: These creams and ointments, like Voltaren gel, are meant to be rubbed directly on to the area thats hurting you.
- Cortisone shots: If other treatment measures fail, your doctor may recommend an injection of cortisone, a potent anti-inflammatory. There are risks, including thinning of nearby bone, and relief typically lasts just a few months, tops.
Ways To Relieve And Prevent Back Pain
When snap, crackle, and pop are sounds you associate more with getting out of bed in the morning than with your breakfast cereal, its time to do something about your lower back pain.
First of all, know youre not alone. Back pain is common, particularly the older you get. Some might even say that one of the milestones of age is when you realize your back goes out more than you do. The simple fact is that 80% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Its the most common cause of job-related disability and a major contributor to lack of sleep, inactivity, and missed days at work.
And while almost everyone will experience back pain, the quality and intensity of the pain can vary greatly from one person to another. Some suffer a constant, dull ache, while others feel sharp, intense pain. In most cases, lower back pain lasts for only a few days and often resolves without any form of treatment. Pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks, however, is considered chronic pain. Approximately 20 percent of people with back pain have chronic pain, with symptoms that last for up to one year. Sometimes this pain persists even after surgery or other advanced forms of treatment.
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Hot Or Cold Therapy For Low Back Pain
Hot or cold packs may help ease pain and reduce symptoms. The soothing relief from heat, or the dulling relief from a cold pack, is only temporary and will not treat more serious causes of back pain. However, they may provide greater mobility for people with acute, subacute, or chronic pain, allowing them to get up and get moving.
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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