Health Desk- Back pain is a common problem that can hinder a person’s work and personal life. Fortunately, many home remedies exist to help relieve pesky back pain.
This article will talk about 12 different effective home remedies to get rid of back pain fast, as well as when to see a doctor about back pain.
Low back pain is the leading cause of absenteeism from work. Up to 80% of adults will experience low back pain at least once in their lives.
The back muscles and spine support most of the body’s weight. A person uses the muscles for daily activities including sitting, standing and walking. People may also experience pain in other areas, including the neck and middle and upper back.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help relieve pain. Once a health care professional has ruled out serious conditions, a person may seek home remedies to help manage their symptoms.
Home remedies may include the following ?
1. Exercise to make muscles move-
Getting up and moving around can be challenging when you have back pain. However, a short walk, aerobics, yoga, water aerobics, swimming, or other low-impact activity can help reduce back pain.
Exercise can loosen tense muscles and release endorphins, the brain’s natural pain relievers.
A person may consider starting a daily exercise program that includes strength training and stretching to help keep the muscles flexible and strong.
Regular exercise can prevent future episodes of back pain that are caused by tight muscles.
2. Improve Posture-
Poor posture can result in lower back pain.
A 2019 study suggested that the following types of exercise can improve both posture and lower back pain:
Yoga- Yoga can improve mobility and reduce pain while improving mental and physical function.
Pilates- It follows six basic principles, which include focusing or tightening the muscles of the torso, concentration, managing posture, precision, flow, and breathing.
Tai chi- This traditional Chinese exercise may help reduce pain and improve function.
Core stability exercises- These exercises improve coordination and activation of the muscles of the torso. These can help reduce pain, reduce tension and muscle spasms, and improve tightness of the torso.
Aerobic exercise- Regular aerobic exercise can improve physical function, muscle endurance, pain, and mental health. Exercise can be of high, moderate or low intensity.
Walking/Running- These are economical ways to improve health and strengthen muscles.
Swimming- People may suggest swimming for back strength, as water supports the muscles. However, there are few studies on its effectiveness in treating low back pain.
Some people may also find cycling helpful for lower back pain.
Further suggestions for improving posture include-
Considering sitting, standing or walking posture- A person should try to keep the head up and pull the shoulders back instead of leaning forward and tightening the abdominal muscles.
Avoiding repetitive postures- Lifting heavy objects or sitting for long periods of time can lead to back pain.
Standing correctly- Distributing weight on both sides of the body instead of leaning on one leg or arm.
Being aware of posture and trying to correct it may seem difficult at first, but it can help reduce your chances of injury in the future.
3. Use heat and cool-
A person can use hot and cold packs to reduce swelling and soothe pain.
People use ice packs directly after an injury, such as a strain. Applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel directly to the back can reduce swelling.
The cold can provide a numbing effect for sudden, intense back pain. People can use special pain-relieving cold packs or a bag of ice or frozen vegetables covered with a towel to protect the skin from frostbite. Apply an ice pack for a maximum of 20 minutes.
A heat pad can soothe back pain, increasing blood flow, which enables healing. One must follow the directions carefully to avoid getting burned or scalded by the heat pad. Heat pads can provide immediate relief.
If a heat pad is not available, a person can use a hot water bottle or heat a cloth bag of raw rice in the microwave.
The following stretches may help relieve back pain. A person should hold each stretch for 30 seconds or as long as feels comfortable.
Touching the toes– In addition to stretching the hamstrings, leaning forward to reach the toes will help loosen the lower back muscles.
Cobra Pose- Lying on his stomach, with hands placed next to the shoulders, a person should slowly raise his chest so that the top of his head is facing the ceiling.
Cat-Cow Pose- Beginning on hands and knees, one should slowly alternate arching their back towards the ceiling and sinking it towards the floor.
Child’s pose- Sitting on heels with knees hip-width apart, a person should lean forward to place their head on the floor, arms extended in front of head.
5. Apply Pain Relief Cream-
A variety of pain-relieving creams that may provide some relief from back pain are available in pharmacies and online.
Pain relief creams containing menthol have a cooling effect that can temporarily ease back pain.
A 2018 study suggests that applying menthol to the skin can deactivate pain receptors in the body. However, using too much menthol can result in greater sensitivity to pain.
Some people may also consider using a cream containing cannabidiol (CBD). A 2020 literature review found that CBD creams relieved back pain symptoms in patients who had recently had spinal surgery.
6. Try Massage-
Massage may provide short-term benefits for low back pain. Soft tissue massage may involve kneading, friction, gliding, vibration, or percussion techniques. A person may use massage in combination with other treatments.
Soft tissue manipulation encourages mental and physical relaxation through the release of endorphins. Manipulation may involve hands or a mechanical device.
There are few risks or adverse effects when using massage – however, a person should not have massage if they have-
- A skin infection or severe inflammation
- Any non-healing fracture
- An active cancerous tumour site
- Deep vein thrombosis
7. Try Arnica-
Arnica is a homeopathic remedy that people can apply directly to the skin to treat muscle pain, swelling, scrapes, and minor injuries.
While there is little scientific research to prove that arnica is effective, it has a low risk of side effects, and some people may find it helpful.
A 2018 case report found that arnica helped relieve osteoarthritis pain when combined with acupuncture and massage.
8. Change shoes-
Wearing unstable shoes, high heels or ill-fitting shoes can lead to lower back pain. A 2015 study found a link between wearing high heels for long periods of time and getting back pain.
Wearing very flat shoes also causes strain on the feet and back.
Switching to more comfortably fitted shoes may help reduce lower back pain. Some people may require orthotics to properly support their feet.
9. Change Workstation-
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the United States, a proper workstation can help reduce back pain and other injuries.
A person should ensure that their computer screen is at eye level and their chair is at the right height.
If a person does any lifting for their job, they should bend over and use their legs — not their back — for support. When moving very heavy items it is best to ask for help or use a trolley.
10. Get Enough Sleep-
According to a 2015 study, lack of sleep can affect how much pain a person can tolerate.
According to reliable source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Proper rest and back alignment are essential for quality sleep and avoiding morning back pain.
Extra pillows can help keep the spine in the proper position while sleeping. The head pillow should comfortably support the curve of the neck. While sleeping on the side, a pillow between the knees can keep the spine in a straight line.
If lack of sleep continues to be a problem, the person should speak with a health care professional.
11. Change diet-
A 2020 study found that people with chronic spinal pain were more likely to follow a diet low in whole grains, dairy, and fruit.
Added sugars may also increase the risk of back pain. Calorie intake was similar to that of people who consumed a diet containing the recommended amounts of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy.
Anti-inflammatory foods may help reduce pain. They include-
- Whole-grain foods
- Fruits and vegetables, including leafy green vegetables
- Certain spices, including turmeric and ginger
- Green tea
- Black pepper
Foods that can make bloating worse include-
- Highly refined flour or gluten
- Refined sugar
- Trans fat and saturated fat
- Red meat
- Dairy products
- Some vegetables, including tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes
12. Manage or reduce stress-
Moderate to high levels of stress may be associated with lower back pain. To relieve stress, a person can try:
Mindfulness meditation- A 2018 study found that mindfulness helped a group of older adults cope with pain. Mindfulness is a mind-body therapy that involves being aware of what the body is doing.
Deep breathing- A 2016 study found that deep breathing can help people stabilize their torso with breathing exercises.
Progressive muscle relaxation- Tense and relaxing the muscles in the body, focusing on one muscle group at a time, can help relieve lower back pain.
Guided Imagery- This involves focusing on specific mental images to help bring about a feeling of relaxation and reduce stress.
Several smartphone apps can guide a person through relaxation techniques and meditation.
When to see a doctor-
People can often treat back pain with home remedies and a little patience. However, a person should speak with a health care professional about chronic or severe back pain.
A health care professional may recommend physical therapy, medication, or other treatments. People with existing health conditions or who take regular medications should speak with a medical professional before trying herbal medicines or supplements.
The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t monitor supplements for purity or quality, so it’s essential to research reputable companies first.
Low back pain is a common health problem that results in limited movement and difficulty in completing daily activities. Anyone experiencing severe or sudden back pain should see a health care professional.
Home remedies can help with lower back pain. Along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heat pads can help with pain. A person can also use ice packs for fresh injuries and heat packs for pain.
Movement is beneficial in lower back pain. One can include regular exercise in their daily routine to keep the muscles strong. Certain exercises can help reduce the risk of low back pain by strengthening the muscles of the core.
To reduce back pain, a person can make some lifestyle changes, such as changing shoes and changing their workstation.
Eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep can help reduce lower back pain.