5 Tips for Back Pain Relief
When it comes to back pain, there are so many possible reasons behind the symptoms you feel. However, there are also several methods you can use to alleviate the pain. Luckily, not all of these methods require the use of fancy equipment nor the experience of a professional and can be done at home at your leisure.
Of course, as always, if you experience back pain you want to see your doctor as the pain could be due to a number of factors. But for common and mild lower back pain, you can try some of these home remedies for back pain relief.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Unfortunately, of all medical conditions, pain is the number one cause of insomnia – and for a good reason! In turn, inadequate sleep will make the back pain you experience worse. This works as a vicious cycle that develops and makes it ineffective to treat just one of the problems since both insomnia and pain need to be treated.
So, to help manage the problems associated with sleep, there are several options available including relaxation techniques, behavioral techniques, medications and more. It’s often a combination of several different approaches that work best when it comes to improving your sleep.
2. Keep Moving
If you’re sitting all day every day and asking why you’re experiencing back pain, then it’s pretty clear what the culprit is. Our spines are like the rest of our body and are designed to move. Think of it as a car.
If you leave your car sitting in the garage all day every day, over the years its engine and various parts are going to start to break down. The same applies to your body.
Simple tasks like making the bed, walking to work or walking the dog can help you, and your back becomes more mobile and will, in turn, provide back pain relief. However, keep in mind that there’s no need to overdo it. As with anything, moderation is key especially when it comes to back pain.
Also, getting your body moving through aerobic exercise causes the body to release endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain relievers and can be as strong as even some clinical pain relievers.
Endorphins are chemicals that are naturally occurring in the body, and when they’re released, they help block pain signals from registering with the brain which is beneficial when it comes to the issue of back pain. They also help with alleviating anxiety, stress levels, and depression which are all conditions that can compound with back pain and turn it into a bigger issue.
Luckily for us, endorphins aren’t released just through intense exercise. Even simple activities like brisk walking can release endorphins in the body, which is another reason to get your body moving as much as possible throughout the day.
3. Stay Strong
Once your lower back pain is alleviated or has reduced to just mild pain, you can help prevent future episodes of back pain by working the muscles that support your lower back.
These include the back extensor muscles and the abdominal muscles. These muscles help you maintain the proper posture and alignment of your spine.
Having strong abdominal, hip, and pelvic muscles help give your back more support and the stability it needs to bend your body with control and without pain.
Some helpful exercise for this is:
- Front planks
- Side planks
- Back extensions
- Bird dog
- Hip thrusts
For these exercises you want to do the following:
- Perform them 2-3 times per week for half an hour at a time
- Focus on performing them in a controlled manner, with an emphasis on using the right muscles to perform the movement
- Use an appropriate weight and avoid overloading the exercise when you’re not ready for it
- If you experience a flare-up of back pain, take some time off from the exercises until it subsides
- Check with a professional for clearance before beginning any resistance training
However, keep in mind the previous point. Don’t sit around all day and do some of these exercises for half an hour a day, as this likely won’t provide many benefits.
What’s going to help you, in the long run, is incorporating a more active lifestyle which should include aerobic exercise (brisk walking for example) with resistance training to help strengthen your core musculature.
4. Think of Your Posture
It’s clear that poor posture, either while sitting or standing, can have negative effects on your body – including back pain. The most common poor posture we see is a rounding of the shoulders and upper back with a sticking forward of the head.
It’s easy to forget about your posture and assume poor positions when you’re doing work or watching television, but this is when addressing how your body position becomes essential.
One tip to address this issue is to design your workspace or the area in which you spend most of your time, in a way that enables you to perform tasks without compromising your posture.
For example, if working or sitting at a desk, adjust the seat height and the desk height so that you don’t have to hunch forward to see your computer monitor or type on a keyboard. And you want to adjust the chair height so that your feet are kept planted firmly on the floor, as this will minimize the strain placed on your lower back.
Stretching exercises are one of the most effective ways to treat your lower back pain at home, however, they require commitment. Consistency and frequency are the two most important factors when it comes to determining the effectiveness of stretching for back pain relief.
You also need to ensure that you’re performing the right stretches. Often, it’s the hamstrings, hip flexors, chest, and upper traps that require stretching since they are placed in a tightened position throughout the day in those that sit for extended periods of time. It's important to stretch these areas 3-4 times per week and try to increase the range of motion you achieve in the stretch as you gain more flexibility.
Utilizing these five tips can make a huge impact on improving your back pain. With that being said, they require time and commitment to stick to them. But if you’re able to incorporate these five tips for back pain relief into your daily routine, you’ll see a major improvement concerning back relief.