Five Tips to Relieve Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is especially prevalent in young adults in America today. Back pain is caused by anything from sports injuries and underlying diseases to poor posture and sleeping habits. Here are some ways to gain relief.
1. Exercise Your Core
When trying to relieve lower back pain, many people don’t think to strengthen their core, but core exercises are simple solutions for easing back pain. What’s more, the benefits of core exercise can outlast other pain relief options. Some core exercises we recommend are plank holds, side planks, abdominal chair crunches, partial crunches and dead bugs. Check out some great tutorials on core exercises that help with lower back pain.
2. Use Hot or Cold Patches to Ease the Pain
Lower back pain can be reduced simply by adding hot and cold packs to the body. This solution is an easy and effective one to use at home. Cold packs reduce inflammation, while heat therapy increases blood flow to the extremities and induces relaxation. Application of ice and heat should last approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Breaks between applications should be about two hours.
3. Limit Your Amount of Bed Rest
For many, staying in bed seems to be the most viable option when they’re experiencing back pain. Although bed rest has been proven in some cases to offer lower back pain relief, too much time in bed can actually worsen the problem.
Experts recommend limiting bed rest to 48 hours, as lower back pain symptoms can increase with too much bed rest. We recommend moving around, even for limited periods of time. For example, short walks — taking the dog for a stroll or simply moving around your house for a couple of minutes at a time — can actively reduce lower back pain.
Staying in bed longer than two days can cause stiffness and increased pain. It can also cause soft tissues like ligaments to lose their flexibility and intervertebral discs to lose their nutrients. we recommend resorting to bed rest only if the pain prevents you from performing simple tasks. If increased pain does mean required bed rest, insert a pillow between your knees if you’re on your side and under your knees if you’re on your back. These placements should reduce pain.
4. Engage Your Brain
Activities that engage the brain, like meditation and yoga, can reduce lower back pain. In yoga especially, the body and mind are involved and can reduce pain drastically. Through yoga, you can change thoughts that cause pain. Oftentimes, pain is exacerbated by the thoughts we allow ourselves to have. Techniques like yoga and practicing mindfulness are simple ways to introduce positive thoughts while overriding negative ones.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another mind-related technique you can use to ease lower back pain. This psychotherapy treatment changes patterns of thinking and the feelings associated with them. This type of therapy can help you view your symptoms in a new light and provide healthier solutions to manage the pain.
5. If All Else Fails, See a Doctor
If home remedies don’t work, contact our health care professionals at Spine Institute of North America today or book an appointment.
This content was medically reviewed by Baher Yanni, M.D, on October 10th, 2019.