Solutions For Low Back Pain Relief
Back pain is a major problem in society today. Low back pain is a common disorder in the general population and has been considered a generally short lasting disease with spontaneous recovery the most likely outcome. It is not often when there is a clear diagnosis like a herniated disc or facet joint syndrome and it is often classified as non-specific and according to the duration of the pain (i.e. acute, subacute or chronic). Let’s look at some keys to the problem and low back pain relief.
- According to a 2017 review in Lancet low back pain affects all ages of people and is a major cause of disease burden worldwide. In general, the clinical course of often favorable, thus rarely requiring formal medical care.
Today, low back pain is considered to be a recurring or persistent condition with a fluctuating course over time. Here we go through some simple advice including what to be concerned about, tips for relief, exercises and other advice to help manage low back pain relief.
An important key to managing back pain is to understand it and know when to ask for help from a doctor.
Low Back Pain Relief Tips
- Take off extra weight which increases stress on the lower back.
- Quit smoking to help with blood circulation and avoid a constant cough which can strain muscles and damage discs.
- Stress reduction to help avoid tense back muscles which become easier to strain and fatigue. Regular exercising can help with this.
- Instead of driving short trips, try walking.
- Instead of always using an elevator, try climbing some flights of stairs.
- Try exercises that do not stress the back like swimming or walking.
- Most back pain incidents result from a minor strain and can be relieved using over the counter medicines and home remedies, however, there are times when professional care is needed.
- For pain that steadily improves or is not related to an injury, home treatment is usually successful.
Get Medical Attention For:
- Low back pain which prevents movement.
- Pain that goes down the leg.
- Pain at night which prevents sleep.
- Increasing pain even after a couple days of rest.
- Pain not responding to home treatment measures.
Get Immediate Medical Attention For:
- Problems with control of bowel movements or bladder.
- Numbness or sensation loss where you sit.
- Pain after falling or sustaining trauma to the low back.
- Numbness, tingling, weakness or not able to move.
- Pain down the legs that is severe.
- Steady, increasing pain.
- Symptoms of a fever: sweating and chills.
- Problems with coordination or balance.
Low Back Pain Self-Care Guidelines
- Over the counter medicines are available without a prescription. They are very effective for reducing inflammation, swelling, and pain. Over the counter pain relievers include acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol®) and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (e.g., Advil® or Motrin®), and naproxen sodium (e.g., Aleve®). Caution: Do not take aspirin with ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.
- Over the counter medicines should be taken with caution. If you are taking other medicines, talk with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure an over the counter medicine will not negatively interact with any of the prescription drugs you are taking.
Low Back Pain Relief Without Medication
- There are many safe and effective ways to relieve your low back pain without using medication. Sometimes these techniques are used in combination with drug treatments. Many of these low back pain relief methods can be used at home; others require the help of a doctor. Remember to talk with your doctor about any pain relief techniques you are planning to use.
Ice for Low Back Pain Relief
- Use ice packs for up to 20 minutes a session, 3 to 4 times per day.
- Always wrap ice or cold pack in a thin protective layer-such as a towel or face cloth. This will protect your skin.
- Some people are sensitive to ice applications and, in some instances, it may cause muscle spasm. In these cases, it may be beneficial to use a topical applications and it is beneficial to always have some around.
Heat for Low Back Pain Relief
- If ice or cold therapy does not provide relief after a couple days, use moist heat.
- Use a moist heating pad or take a warm bath/shower.
- You can use moist heat for 15 or 20 minutes, 2 or 3 times per day.
- Moist heat is the key as dry heat can cause congestion and inflammation.
- Do not use heat if you injured your back in a fall, or if the heat increases your pain.
Bed Rest for Low Back Pain Relief
- Try not to stay in bed too long. More than a few days can cause weakness of the muscles that support the back. Movement can help heal back pain.
- Your doctor may order x-rays if you have persistent or recurrent low back pain.
- X-rays are usually not necessary in the beginning of low back pain treatment. This is because back muscles, ligaments, and discs do not show up on x-rays.
- X-rays are necessary for significant trauma (a fall or blow to the back), or for older patients with arthritic conditions like degenerative disc disease.
- If indicated, further details for diagnosis and treatment can be seen with MRI scans.
Surgery for Low Back Pain Relief
- Surgery is most often not needed. Nonsurgical treatments, exercises like the back pain exercises, sitting back exercise, general back exercises, or more comprehensive back stabilization exercises, and good body mechanics or back posture are usually effective at relieving low back pain.
- For complicated disc injury, degeneration or myelopathy, surgical treatment may be necessary depending on the symptoms and exam findings. Consult your doctor about surgical options.
Treating Your Own Low Back Pain For Relief
Many times it is possible to treat your own back. Recovery from an acute injury takes some time. It is important to increase your activity gradually so you do not increase your discomfort.
Exercising and Stretching For Low Back Pain Relief:
- Do exercises slowly and carefully. Stretch using smooth motions. Hold a stretch just a couple of seconds without bouncing or jerking.
- You may rest for a couple of days after an injury, then start slowly the exercises and stretches.
- Prepare for exercises by stretching to warm up the back muscles to increase blood flow and reduce the amount of stiffness.
- Some discomfort should be expected, but they should not increase the pain or cause the pain to be worse the next day. This is an indication to stop and consult your doctor.
- Devote just 10 to 20 minutes a day to the health of your back. It will aid your recovery and help prevent further injury.
1) Lay on the stomach having the legs straight with the feet close together. 2) Hold your upper body with your arms. 3) Press upward as the pelvis remains touching the floor. 4) Hold up to 5 seconds. 5) Slowly lower the body back to the starting position. Keep the arms contacting the floor throughout the stretch. 6) Do 5 repetitions.
|1) Standing upright. 2) Have the feet spaced about shoulder width. 3) Put the hands on the back. 5). Stretch backwards as you keep the neck straight. 5) Stretch more so you feel slight stretching in the lower back. 6) Hold the stretch for 5 seconds. 7) Carefully move back to the straight stance. 8) Do 3 or 4 repetitions.
Lower Back – Hip Stretch
1) Lay on the back having the knees bent with feet flat. 2) Press the low back into the floor. 3) Hold one knee using both hands then pull the leg to the chest while maintaining the head the ground. 4) Keep the opposite leg in the bent position with foot on the ground. 5) Stretch for 10 seconds. 6) Place leg back in starting position. 7) Do this with the opposite leg. 8) Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each side.
1) Lay on the back. 2) Bend the knees at 90 degrees. 3) Slightly squeeze the stomach and buttock muscles. See A. 4) Carefully press the low back downwards. 5) Hold the stretch for 5 seconds. See B. 6) Carefully return to starting position. See A. 7) Do 5 repetitions.
Body Mechanics To Protect Your Low Back
Moving out of the bed
1) Roll to the side then push the body upward using the arms. 2) While bending the knees, bring the feet to the ground. 3) Lift the body using the legs.
Low Back Pain Relief For Sleeping
1) Use a comfortable, but firm mattress. 2) For a soft mattress, place a half inch piece of plywood underneath the mattress. 3) Use a supportive body pillow underneath the knees when sleeping on your back or sleep in the side position with a pillow between bent knees. 4) Sleeping with an orthopedic pillow can help keep your neck and back in proper alignment to relax muscles.
Getting Into a vehicle
1) Use the door to help you sit.
2) Grasp the steering wheel for support when seated, and slowly swing both legs into the car.
3. If you use a seat pad or back support, secure it to the seat to prevent slippage.
Getting In Or Out a Vehicle
1) For leverage, use the steering wheel and pivot the lower body in or out of the vehicle
2) Try to swing the legs slowly in and out of the vehicle at the same time. This helps to avoid excessive twisting.
3) The vehicle door can provide support for raising or lowering the body using the legs.
Sitting and Low Back Pain
For sitting while at home or work, try maintaining correct sitting posture, especially if you are sitting at a computer. 1) Keep the knees about 90 degrees. 2) Have the feet on the ground or use a foot rest. 3) Make use of a good back support. 4) Have the hips, shoulders and ears aligned. 5) Have the arms bent at the elbows around 90 degrees, having the wrists level with the ground. 6) Permit the arms to rest upon a soft armrest at a level for the shoulder muscles to relax and to be able to relieve some pressure.
Use good lifting mechanics and it is helpful to use a good quality back brace. 1) Keep the weight close into the body. 2) If you have to bend to lift, take a wide stance, bending with the knees and hips. 3) Try to maintain the natural curve of the back. 4) Do not lift with the back muscles or bend at the back. 5) Don’t twist when lifting. 6) Try to breathe normally and not strain. 7) Keep the stomach muscles tight and use the strength of the legs..
- An interesting 2021 study in the International Journal of Clinical Practice found that using horse riding simulators may lower the risk of chronic low back pain. The authors recommended the use of horse riding simulators in avoidance of complications that could occur with chronic low back pain.
- A 2023 study in Frontiers in Neurology supports a causal relationship between development of low back pain and mood instability. The findings indicate addressing mood instability may play a crucial role in management strategies and prevention for those experiencing lower back pain.