Strong back muscles and spines are necessary components of a healthy body. The back and spine support body weight, as well as allow us to comfortably sit, stand, and walk around freely. According to the NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke), approximately 80 percent of Americans will experience some form of lower back pain during their lifetime. Most back pain issues are caused by injuries like strain from lifting heavy objects without good posture. Below are several remedies for alleviating lower back pain.
Chiropractic Treatment and Care
Chiropractors use a series of treatments to manipulate the tissues, joints, and spine of the body to relieve pain and improve functional ability. Depending on the severity and source of the back pain, chiropractors will tailor their treatment approach to meet the individual needs to patients. Chiropractic treatment is the best solution for a natural, minimally invasive way to reduce back pain.
Perform Lower Back Stretches
Trying at-home stretches may be an effective way to address lower back pain. The basic cat-cow stretch is easy to do and useful for helping to ease tension between the core and lower back muscles. For steps on how to do cat-cow, see below:
- Go onto your hands and knees in an all-fours position.
- Place your knees hip-width apart and your hands shoulder width apart.
- To perform cat portion of the stretch, round the spine by pulling the belly button in, relaxing the neck, and letting the head drop forward. Hold this for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Return to the neutral position.
- To perform the cow portion of the stretch, look upwards as you let the belly and pelvis sink forward the floor in a hammock-like shape. Hold this for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Return to the neutral position.
- Repeat the stretch 15 and 20 times, alternating between cat and cow.
Another stretch that may help relieve back pain and tension is the knee-to-chest stretch. For steps on how to perform knee-to-chest stretches, see below:
- Lie on your back with knees bent slightly. Keep both feet flat on the floor.
- Grab one of your legs just under the knee while keeping the other foot down.
- Gently pull your knee up to your chest to feel a slight stretch in your lower back.
- Hold that knee in for between 30 and 60 seconds while relaxing your hips, lower back, and legs.
- Release the knee and return to the starting position.
- Repeat previously mentioned steps for the other leg.
- Aim to do three sets on each side.
Use Heating Pads or Ice Packs
Heat packs are designed to help relieve achy and stiff muscles. Using heated pads is as easy as simply following the instructions on the packaging. If heating pads or heat packs are unavailable in your local drugstore, an alternative is to place hot water bottles or heated cloth bags with uncooked rice inside them on the affected area. For a strained lower back, ice packs wrapped in a towel can be useful for reducing inflammation and preventing swelling immediately after an injury. Avoid applying ice directly on the skin for over 20 minutes at a time.
Pain-relief creams that contain capsaicin (a compound found in hot peppers) may provide some relief from back pain. Another ingredient that may help temporarily dull back pain is menthol because its cooling effects desensitize pain receptors in the body. Avoid using too much menthol however, as it may increase sensitivity to pain over time.
If you are experiencing severe lower back pain, it is important that you seek immediate medical attention.