10 Ways to Fix Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is a common ailment among the United States population. It is estimated that 80% of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point. This includes acute injuries and overuse pain, both of which can negatively affect a person’s quality of life. Lower back pain causes most activities to be very uncomfortable. Sitting, standing, and lying down are all going to hurt with a lower back injury. With all this pain, it is difficult for people to continue their regular routine.
The natural response to a back injury is to try to reduce pain the patient is in, usually by staying in bed and waiting for their back to heal. Unfortunately, that has been shown to make things worse. While recovering from a back injury, most people will miss several days of work. This reduction of productivity is one of the reasons that employers are looking to protect their employees’ backs.
Some different things can be done to alleviate pain and stiffness, as well as heal the injury, and reduce the chance of re-injury. It was previously recommended that back pain sufferers should see their doctor in a timely manner, but new recommendations suggest that a trip to the doctor’s office is not needed in most cases. Pain medication is no longer recommended, which removes the primary reason to see a physician. It is important that a doctor is seen if the pain radiates down the legs, but simple back pain can be dealt with at home. Here are 10 great ways to fix lower back pain and keep it away:
10 Limit Time in Bed
Bed rest is not going to help heal a back injury. The opposite is actually true; bedrest will slow healing and make a back injury more painful. It is recommended that getting up and moving is one of the most important parts of recovering from a back injury. This new recommendation is somewhat contradictory to previous doctor suggestions; however, studies show that bed rest increases the required healing time, and moving supports quicker healing, with less pain.
During prolonged bed rest, the muscles in the back become stiff and weak. This can increase the pain experienced by the patient. As the pain becomes worse, a person may think they require more bedrest. The prolonged bedrest leads to more pain, leading to more bedrest. This cycle can continue for months, negatively affecting a person’s life for a long time. The weakened muscles are also going to be more likely to be re-injured in the future, making back pain a possible chronic condition. Some gentle activity can break this cycle, allowing chronic back pain sufferers to get some long term relief.
With current recommendations, sufferers get up and stay moving with gentle activities. Activity increases blood flow and keeps things limber. The blood flow promotes healing, as more nutrients are can get to the impacted area. Patients can expect to feel better within days, instead of months. They are also able to keep doing many of their usual activities, so the impact of a back injury is reduced as well as the duration.
9 Ice Therapy
Ice is a go to response for many different injuries, as recommend by doctors, chiropractors, and physiotherapists. When an injury occurs, the body reacts by releasing a large amount of cell fluid. This is what causes swelling right after an injury, and swelling is not a good thing for the wound. It can cause additional soft tissue damage, which adds to the severity of the injury. It also reduces the ability for the body to get vital nutrients to the area.
When ice is applied immediately after the incident, swelling is reduced. This helps the wound by letting blood clot within the body, preventing bruising, and allowing the body to start to heal sooner. The most effective time to apply ice is within 48 hours of the injury occurring, after that, the benefits of icing is substantially reduced. After the swelling reaction has finished, inflammation is a concern. Similar to swelling, inflammation presses on soft tissues causing pain and potential damage. Ice is a non-medicine based way to reduce inflammation in an effective manner. Finally, icing a wound is going to reduce pain, without the need of medication. The cold constricts blood flow, and the signals of surrounding nerve clusters are slowed.
These are common reasons that icing is recommended for an acute injury as a first aid treatment. To get the most out of ice therapy, apply ice to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes, once an hour, until pain and swelling is reduced. The first 48 hours is the most important, and the sooner ice is applied, the better.
8 Heat Therapy
While directly after the incident ice is recommended, after the first 48 hours heat is going to provide more benefit to the injured area. It can be somewhat confusing in deciding what to use, heat or ice. The simplest way to tell is just based on time. If the injury occurred at a specific time, and it is within 48 hours of that, use ice. If it is after that window, or if the pain did not have a specific cause, use heat.
Heat is also recommended for most muscle pain, as long as it is not an acute injury that has recently occurred. Back pain can be either one; either a recent pulled muscle from lifting something wrong, or an overuse injury that does not ever occur at a specific time. If the area feels tight, or the muscles are having spasms, heat is going to provide the most relief.
Heat does a number of things for lower back pain. It is going to increase blood flow, which promotes healing. It also makes spasms less severe and reduces stiffness. The application of heat is going to provide quick, medication-free relief to lower back pain. With this reduction in pain and stiffness, getting up and taking in some activity is much easier to do. All of these benefits are achieved without the use of pain medication, which is recommended by physicians to be avoided. These steps are going to reduce pain, speed up recovery, and let back pain sufferers get back to life successfully.
Activity is a great way to improve a person’s quality of life if they suffer from lower back pain. This does not have to be any specific activity; however, yoga provides many benefits for back pain. Yoga can be very gentle, meaning that it is easy to get into if a person is unused to physical activity. There are a number of beginner poses that can give great relief. Yoga is also going to stretch out stiff muscles, increase blood flow, and strengthen core muscles.
Stretching stiff muscles feels excellent. It helps loosen everything up, making movement easier and less painful. When things hurt less, it is easier to get back to normal life after an injury. Blood flow is also increased with yoga, which is a key part of healing effectively and quickly. Most suggestions for relieving back pain is going to promote good blood flow because it is a very prominent factor in the body’s healing methods.
Yoga is also a great way to improve core strength. Many of the poses used in yoga use the core to provide stability. This stability is going to translate out of the yoga studio, into a person’s life, working to prevent future injury. This preventative measure is important to keep back pain from becoming a chronic issue. It also helps keep sufferers from running to bedrest for relief. Staying out of bed is critical with lower back pain, so things like yoga, that make being active less painful are very helpful.
Walking is a method of activity that most people can do. The impact of walking is a lot lower than other activities, such as running. Back pain can be made worse if high impact activities are undertaken too soon. To reduce the potential of increasing back pain, keep to flat and even walking surfaces until the back is well healed. Walking also has a vast number of health benefits, alleviating back pain is just one of them. Walking has been shown to increase bone density, maintain a healthy weight, and keep all of the body’s muscles strong and flexible. When it comes to back pain, walking is going to help in a few specific ways.
The most important way that walking improves back pain is that it gets a patient out of bed. It is evident that being in bed is going to make back pain worse, so a gentle activity that gets a person up and away from bed is a great improvement. It also helps increase blood flow, which is tremendously important in the healing process.
Walking also relieves pressure that can be put on the back from standing or sitting. This stretches out the muscles and allows the spine to return to a more neutral curve. Sitting for prolong periods can cause significant strain on the lumbar spine, a common cause of lower back pain. Pain from a lower back injury is also going to be reduced by regular walking, allowing a sufferer to return to standard activities sooner.
5 Visit a Chiropractor
Walking can help achieve a neutral spine in some cases; however, some cases require a more specific approach to get into alignment. A chiropractor is a highly regulated title, requiring a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and a license to practice. They are professionals, trained in many aspects of human health. Their schooling includes a lot of information relating to the structure, function, and health of the back. With an adjustment to the back, hips, and possibly neck pain in the lower back can be alleviated.
An ethical chiropractor is going to know when chiropractic services are going to improve a patient’s back pain. There are some back injuries where a chiropractor can cause an increase in injury such as ruptured disks. A chiropractor is trained to recognize those types of injuries, and will not provide services. There are a number of causes of back pain that can be successfully treated with chiropractic services.
The lower back is impacted by a number of different parts of the skeletal system. It can be stressed and under pressure, if any of these pieces of the skeletal system is out of alignment. It is often the hips being unaligned that cause many cases of lower back pain. When the cause of back pain is addressed, it is less likely to become a chronic issue. Healing is then able to get the sufferer back to normal, but only if the skeletal issues are addressed. It may take a number of chiropractic sessions before everything settles out in a healthy way.
Another professional that can help improve lower back pain is a massage therapist. Lower back pain is generally caused by muscle strain, stiffness, and tension. While an acute injury may be the original cause of the muscle tightness, the lingering pain can be dealt with by reducing the issues within the muscles. This is something to be done after the original injury has had a chance to heal to avoid further aggravation.
The tightness in the lower back can be effectively alleviated with a skilled massage. Not only does this promote someone getting back to an active lifestyle because of reduced pain, and it also helps improve circulation. Blood flow is regularly mentioned as a very key component for the body’s healing processes, and it can be improved with a number of different methods.
Massage can address the muscles that are currently in pain. It can also help deal with a potential cause of the injury. The interesting thing about massage therapy for back pain is that the major culprit of the pain is not always in the back. The gluteus maximus is a usual suspect when looking into chronic back pain complaints. Gluteus maximus is a large muscle that has a big impact on the health of the lower back. When it is tight or full of knots, it can pull the hips and spine out of alignment. This misalignment is a leading cause of lower back pain. By keeping the gluteus maximus loose, the rest of the back can return to a neutral state.
3 Maintain a Healthy Weight
It is no secret that a person’s back has to handle all the body weight that person is carrying. The more body weight someone carries, the more stress and more strain applied to the back. It is not required to achieve an extremely lean physique to see the benefits in reduced back pain. While a healthy BMI is a solid goal for many reasons, even a slight reduction in body weight can provide a noticeable decrease in lower back pain.
Weight loss goals can be reached in several different ways. A simple way to start is to eat less and move more. The additional movement can also help relieve lower back pain, as well as help achieve a healthy weight. It does not have to be complicated, and special memberships, clubs, or gym exclusives are not required. Finding a method to stick with a healthy diet and regular activities are vital to maintaining a lifestyle that supports a healthy weight.
Many people find that surrounding themselves with like-minded people can increase the success rate of weight loss attempts. These groups can be found in specialized services face to face, or online in many forum communities. Tips and tricks on maintaining activity levels can be found there, including ideas that do not strain the lower back. Many groups also share recipes and cooking tips to keep eating well exciting. For the obese, a weight loss journey can seem very long. It is important to remember that the benefits of losing weight, like reduced lower back pain, start long before goal weight reached.
2 Sleeping Position and Mattress
A person will spend approximately one-third of their life sleeping. It is important to make sure that back pain is not being made worse with sleeping position. The mattress that a person sleeps on can also have a huge impact on back pain, and on the ability to get a good night sleep. It is possible to fix lower back pain by addressing these two potential issues.
A towel or a pillow can be used to make most sleeping positions lower back friendly. A side sleeper is recommended to put a pillow or rolled up towel between their knees to keep the hips in line. For the back sleeper, one pillow beneath the knees and a rolled up towel under the lower spine can help keep the natural curve of the spine, which helps support the lumbar spine, reducing back pain. Stomach sleepers can be helped by placing the pillow underneath their hips overnight to keep the back in the correct position.
The other consideration when it comes to sleeping is the mattress. A mattress only has a lifespan of about 10 years, after that, it is unable to provide the correct support needed to fix lower back pain. A new mattress should provide the proper amount of support, with side sleepers needing softer mattresses than back sleepers. To increase the life of a mattress, it is recommended that the mattress be rotated regularly to prevent excess wear in specific spots. The correct mattress can provide great relief for back pain sufferers.
1 Maintaining Good Posture
Maintaining good posture is a major part of fixing lower back pain. Posture is important both for the relief of current back pain and reducing the probability of suffering from back pain in the future. Sitting is a major culprit in causing lower back pain, so addressing the way a person sit can fix a lot of lower back pain. Standing is also a position that can aggravate back pain if proper posture is not used.
Sitting is something people are doing a lot. It is an unfortunate side-effect of so many people having jobs in an office. Sitting at a computer desk can cause many issues with posture that lead to back pain. To reduce this, make sure the desk and chair are of high quality, and ergonomically set for the person who uses it the most. When sitting at the desk make sure that the neck is not craned up or down, and the person should be looking straight forward most of the time. If more than one monitor is used at the workstation, the main monitor should be directly in front of the worker.
When standing, make sure that ankles, knees, and hips are in alignment to keep the spine neutral. Avoiding high heels can reduce lower back pain drastically. If heels are needed due to a dress code, stick to heels as low as acceptable. Standing in one place can cause stress points in the lower back, specifically in the lumbar region. To reduce this extra stress, it is recommended that people take periodic breaks to walk around and stretch.
Many people suffer from lower back. This can lead to a reduced quality of life for a large percentage of the population. Individuals who suffer from chronic back pain are no longer recommended to see their doctor right away as there are several things to adjust to a lifestyle to fix lower back pain. There are treatments for the pain that do not require prescription pain medication, and strategies to reduce the risk of re-injury.
Temperature therapies, both hot and cold, can provide relief to back pain sufferers. Walking and yoga are light activities that can help alleviate back pain as well. It is important to avoid being too sedentary while recovering from a back injury, so seeking out pain reducing measures help keep a person moving. Low impact activity is important in effective healing of back pain while ensuring the injury is not aggravated.
Sometimes a professional should be called in to help relief pain. A visit to the chiropractor can ensure that underlying issues with the skeletal system can be addressed to help healing. Another suggested professional to visit to fix back pain is a massage therapist. These are all to fix back pain after it has occurred and potentially correct underlying causes of the pain.
There are steps to take that can reduce the probability of having back pain reoccur. Maintaining a healthy body weight, keeping strength in the core to support the back, and maintaining good posture can all help keep lower back pain away. Posture is important with sleep, sitting at a desk, and while standing. Keeping active and healthy promotes a pain-free lower back.