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Thursday, February 24, 2022

Quick Ways to Get Rid of Lower Back Pain

Achy backs are more common as we get older. Most short-term pain can be resolved with one of these simple methods.    

Back pain - almost everyone gets it at some point. It can be anywhere from annoying to absolutely debilitating. As long as your backache is not due to a serious medical condition but arises from overuse or strain, there are several strategies that can get you back to normal. Be sure to discuss home treatment with your doctor before trying these remedies.
  • Hot and cold treatment. Sore or pulled muscles, muscles aching from common causes such as spinal stenosis, or those hurting due to a collision or fall, may be helped by applying hot and/or cold to the area. The type of pain will control which therapy might work best. Acute pain responds best to cold therapy followed by heat. Chronic discomfort often eases up with repeated mild heat treatments. If your pain comes after a recent workout, go for an ice bag. Hot and cold packs can be purchased, or you can make your own at home
  • Consistent stretching. Gentle stretching exercises are beneficial all the time, but especially when back soreness is present. A few yoga poses are helpful: the child’s pose, cow/cat stretch, and sphinx pose.

What if I Need Something More?

Manipulation may be a welcome option, whether by a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.), chiropractor, or massage therapist.

Some back pain sufferers have pain that won’t resolve with natural means. If your doctor approves, you may want to try transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) that delivers mild electric pulses to nerves in order to block pain signals. Biofeedback may also help by training your brain to control how it responds to pain. Finally, a corticosteroid injection can help to battle inflammation. Usually, your doctor will continue to recommend exercise and stretching as the best long-term means to control pain.

  • Exercise. Your brain may be telling you to be still, but the right types of exercise can relieve discomfort much faster than bed rest. Make sure you discuss exercise with your physician, who can ensure you’re making the right moves. For instance, toe touches and sit-ups are not recommended since they add stress to the spine. Remember not to do anything jarring, but stick to slow, controlled movement. One exercise that may help is stretching your hamstrings daily. You can also use tools, such as a foam roller, or tennis balls, to target specific areas and vary your exercise routine. 
  • Get good shoes. Shoes that are good to your feet can make a huge difference in how your back feels. Find a pair with good arch support and plenty of cushiness to absorb some of the shock every time you take a step. Ladies, ditch the high heels - and the kitten heels, too. You want a level surface to walk on. Size matters. Find a pair that are not too big (these can cause you to alter your gait) or too small (the pain of constriction isn’t good for your foot joints and can make you walk oddly). Orthopedic insoles can do wonders, and the cheaper ones at the store usually do the job well.
  • Reduce stress. Tension caused by prolonged stress and anxiety harms your body in a variety of ways, and it may cause back muscles to tense up, exacerbating or causing backache. Stress can also be a source of more time spent sitting, such as when you’re putting in more hours on a work project. If it’s causing you to exercise less, no matter if you’re lying on a couch or at a desk, stress is hurting your body. Fighting stress can be difficult, but the effort will be worth it. Meditation has proven very beneficial to keep your mind from racing and center on the here and now. Taking time for yourself — to relax, eat better, and spend time with loved ones — may be just what you need to make your back feel better.
  • Sleep like a baby. Rest is an important component of having a happy back. When you sleep, tissues heal and your entire body recharges. It can be hard to fall comfortably asleep when you are suffering with back pain. Try lying on your side with a pillow between your knees to keep your spine straight and take pressure off your back. For back sleepers, it’s helpful to slip a pillow under your knees. Also, make sure your mattress isn’t too soft or worn out.

None of these remedies is likely to work in isolation, or with a single try. All of them are sound habits to begin to instill in your life. If you can adopt them, you’re very likely to have backaches less often and for shorter periods of time. Natural, safe practices are the best way to improve overall health and get rid of back pain.