It seems that almost everyone at some point in their lives has suffered or will suffer from lower back pain. It’s no wonder either, as lower back pain can be the result of dozens of issues, from poor posture to tight muscles which lack flexibility. Thankfully, because it’s such a common complaint, there are many ways you can address and even eliminate lower back pain for good.
Depending on your root cause, this list will likely provide you a good starting point to getting your back into tip-top shape again. Try these 10 ways to get rid of lower back pain and regain your movement for a pain-free life.
1. Correct Your Posture
Good posture isn’t something you’re born with, it’s something you work for. If you spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk, for example, your back has probably adapted to its environment and lacks the muscle strength required to remain straight without pain or discomfort. Posture can be corrected over time, however, and you can get the strong and straight back you need by making some simple corrections. Whether sitting or standing, it’s important to keep the lower back straight. A good chair with proper lumbar support will help when sitting. When standing, remember to keep your back straight with your shoulders back for the best posture.
When your posture has been subpar for years, your back muscles begin to compensate for the lack of strength. Instead of pulling you up, straight and back, they remain tight and underdeveloped. These tight muscles aren’t just located in your back, either. Your legs and buttocks contain important muscles that directly affect your lower back. If you suffer from lower back pain, stretching these muscles out can provide instant relief. Tight hamstrings, especially, can be stretched to reduce back pain and sciatica pain. Other exercises, like yoga with deep breathing, can work to release and elongate muscles and reduce and eliminate pain.
3. Exercise & Strengthen Lower Back
Once your muscles are stretched and flexible, it’s important to strengthen them. A sedentary lifestyle can cause muscles to weaken, but a dedicated workout plan can change things for the better. Weight lifting exercises, like deadlifts and squats, can strengthen the lower back, while exercises like yoga can improve core strength. Put these all together and your lower back will be in top form and strong enough to keep your posture correct throughout the day, pain-free.
4. Visit a Chiropractor or Physiotherapist
If you’re not having success with DIY remedies that are supposed to help your lower back pain, it may be time to see a professional. A doctor that specializes in muscles and bones can offer a new perspective into your back pain. A chiropractor can help bring realignment to your body that gets rid of lower back pain, while a physiotherapist can help stretch muscles and control movement that relieves muscle and joint pain. It’s a professional’s job to be knowledgable on the subject and incorporate a personalized treatment plan that will have you bending over backwards in no time.
5. Address Existing Injuries
If you’re not quite ready to book an appointment with a specialist, you may want to take a look at your body and address any existing injuries. If, for example, you have a bad knee or bad ankle, an injury like this can throw the rest of your body out of alignment. If you’re overcompensating for an injury by stressing other parts of your body, you’ll likely begin to experience pain and very likely in the lower back. Before you can fix lower back pain, you have to address and target other areas that cause pain, too.
6. Develop Proper Sleeping Habits
On average, we spend one third of our lives asleep. That’s a significant chunk of time when put in perspective. If your sleeping habits are bad, your quality of live will take a dip, too. If you’re experiencing lower back pain upon waking or throughout the night, you may want to consider changing up the way you sleep. First, consider whether you mattress provides the support you need. A mattress that’s too soft will cause unnecessary back pain, much like an unsupportive pillow will. Also try sleeping with a pillow between your knees while sleeping on your side to keep your spine straight and you may find your lower back pain disappears.
In this day and age, stress is nearly unavoidable. We all deal with it differently, however, and it sometimes manifests in pretty creative ways. If you’re suffering from back pain, you may be someone who carries their stress there. The next time you’re stressed, stop and think about what part of your body is tense. If it’s tight and unrelaxed muscles that are causing your pain, visiting a massage therapist may provide the relief you need to straighten things out. Alternatively, you can do self-massage at home. Lay down on the ground and place a tennis ball under your back where your pain is located. Rolling your back on the ball will help to release tension and knots for fast relief.
8. Ice & Heat
Applying a cold or hot compress to sore muscles is an age old remedy that’s been used to treat back pain for decades. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. In fact, its long history in pain relief is a testament to its effectiveness. Icing and heating your sore lower back will help to reduce inflammation but also draw blood into the area allowing your muscles to repair themselves quicker and more effectively. After a few days of this treatment, you’re sore muscles will feel like new.
9. Wear Proper Footwear
If you’re on your feet all day, then you know the importance of a good pair of shoes. Shoes aren’t just a fashion statement, they’re one of the most important things you wear each day. Proper shoes can make or break posture and can affect the shape of your spine which can cause it to be thrown out of alignment causing lower back pain. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time on your feet, invest in shoes that provide the support you need. Proper arch support and ankle support are both important in preventing lower back pain. Avoid flat-footed shoes at all costs.
9. Take Pain Medications
If you haven’t been able to get rid of your back pain or it’s so severe that you need immediate relief, try taking a pain medication specifically designed for back pain. This, of course, is a temporary measure. It will help get you through the night or day until you can see a doctor or specialist that can get to the root cause of the issue. Many back pain medications are available at your pharmacy and are safe for most to use. Be sure to read the package carefully as some muscle relaxants will cause drowsiness and cannot be taken if you plan on operating a motor vehicle.
Do’s and Don’t
- DO stretch your lower back and other surrounding areas to increase flexibility.
- DO strengthen your lower back with weight lifting and yoga.
- DO apply a heat or ice compress and massage to relax muscles.
- DO see a specialist if your lower back pain persists.
- DON’T wear improper footwear.
- DON’T slouch or hunch over when sitting and standing.
- DON’T sleep on an unsupportive mattress.