Back pain has become a common condition these days. More than 60 percent adults suffer from moderate to severe back pain at some point of time. According to a recent study published by US Health Journal, almost around 80 % adults suffer from varying degrees of back pain, from acute to chronic pain.
Common Causes of Back pain
Back pain is caused by many factors. In most cases, poor lifestyle is a culprit that causes the pain.
- Sitting for long hours
- Poor posture
- Inactivity / lack of physical activity
- Injury to the spine
- Muscle weakness
- Bone deteriorating
- Other Chronic conditions
Regardless of cause of the back pain, you can find some good relief with simple back pain relief techniques at home.
1. Heat Therapy for Lower Back Pain Treatment
Heat therapy is one of the promising back pain relief treatments that you can try at home. It reduces pain, helps relieving muscle tension and improves mobility.
- Heat therapy dilates the blood vessels which improves oxygen supply to the muscles and nerves to the lumbar spice. It reduces the pain and heals the damaged tissues.
- Heat therapy signals the sensory receptors of the skin. It signals the brain and reduces the transmission of pain signals.
- Heat makes you feel flexible as it stretches the muscles, ligaments and connective tissues. Subsequently, it reduces the stiffness of the back.
You can use different items to apply heat therapy.
Homemade Heat Packs
Regardless of types of heat pack you use, you will feel comfortable to a great extent. Following are some simple ideas of heat pack therapy at home.
Hot water bottle
That’s simple! Pour hot water into a bottle (that could resist the heat) and gently roll it on your back. Salt Pack Roast the crystal salt in a dry pan. Remove the salt before it turns watery. Wrap the salt in a cloth and pat on your back. Hot salt pack provides instant relief from back pain.
This is a very simple heat therapy practiced for ages to reduce pain and swelling.
- Boil water in a vessel
- Immerse the hot cloth and squeeze it (make sure the temperature is tolerable)
- Gently pat the warm cloth on the back.
Reusable Hot Pack
It is available in form of gel packs. When you need it you can boil it in water and pat or simply place it on the painful area. This is also used as cold pack. You can use it multiple times. The gel heat wraps are available in pharmacies and general merchandise.
When Heat Therapy is not for your back pain
There are few restrictions to heat therapy for back pain relief. Heat therapy in any form should not be used under certain circumstances. If you are the one who falls under the below categories, heat therapy is not for you!
- If the painful area is extremely inflamed
- If you have any bruises or open wounds or blisters on your skin at the back
- If you are diabetic
- If you suffer from any vascular diseases
- If you have heat intolerance
Check if cold therapy for back pain is the answer for you, it is our next remedy for back pain.
2. Cold Therapy for Lower Back Pain Treatment
Cold therapy constricts the muscles and blood vessels which reduces the muscle spasm, inflammation and pain. Simple application of ice pack or ice cubes wrapped in a cloth is one of the most effective remedies available for any pain relief including the one in your back.
Since the lower back is the comfortable area to place or gently rub the ice packs, it works great and provides quick relief from lower back pain. Let us see how to apply cold therapy. There are many types of ice packs you can use for back pain relief. It ranges from ice cubes to reusable ice bags.
Home Made Ice Packs
For a cold therapy, you can use many ingredients to create an ice pack. You can use the following items to create the simple homemade ice packs.
- Ice cubes
- Towel or sponge
- Rice or peas
Hope you don’t need an explanation about how to make ice cubes isn’t it? Take the ice cubes, wrap in a plastic bag or soft cloth. Gently massage the painful area or place the ice wrap over the painful area.
Frozen Towel and Sponge
Wet a towel. Roll the towel, wrap it in a plastic bag and freeze it for around 20 minutes. Remove the towel from freezer and place it on the back. You can place it for around 15 minutes. Follow the similar procedure for sponge too.
Rice / Peas
You can use rice or peas and create a cold wrap.
- Rinse rice or peas.
- Wrap the wet rice or peas in socks or make a poultice with a cloth.
- Place the wrap in the freezer for half an hour.
- Apply gently on the painful area.
Both rice and peas get as cold as ice cubes, yet it won’t melt away quickly like ice.
Disposable Instant Ice Packs
Disposable ice packs intend for one time use is available in many medical shops. You can buy the disposable / instant ice packs even from the local merchandise. Disposable ice packs carry the advantage of using it instantly for the back pain. These packs are ready to use at any time and you don’t need to freeze it for a few minutes to make it cold. The chemical composition of this pack retains the cold for a longer time. It is also safe to use on the bare skin.
The major disadvantage is its single time usage. Obviously it is more expensive than homemade packs or reusable ice packs. Yet, it comes very handy and reduces the downtime of making the ice wrap for cold therapy.
Reusable Cold Packs
Reusable cold packs are generally available in form of gel packs. It is often a multipurpose pack that can be used as hot and cold pack for back pain. You can freeze the pack and use it when needed and refreeze it and use later.
Precautions to Use Cold Therapy
Precautions to avoid ice burn or other complications of using cold therapy.
- Don’t apply cold therapy for more than 20 minutes a session.
- Repeat it no more than 3 times a day.
- Don’t rub ice directly on the skin. If you feel too much cold, place a thin cloth as barrier.
- Cold therapy is not suitable for those with cold allergies
- Don’t try cold therapy if you had history of paralysis or if you suffer from chronic arthritis or rheumatic arthritis.
When Cold Therapy is not for your back pain
In case of damaged, inflamed tissues, where heat can aggravate the pain, almost always cold therapy is suggested. It is said that ice therapy provides significant relief in many types of back pain but because about 85% patients have unexplained reasons for their back pain, it cannot be a rule of thumb that cold therapy will work on all patients of back pain. Icing too, sometimes aggravates back pain. So, if you have an immediate sensation of increasing spasm as you apply ice, or even if you feel unpleasant with this application of ice, do not go for it. It will increase the stiffness and pain in the coming hours.
If, however, you feel comfortable and get relief from it, there is no harm in getting a cold therapy!
3. Foot Soak to Reduce Lower Back Pain
Why foot soak and how it works? Foot soak provides instant refreshment from tiredness. You would have experienced it.
Feet have many tiny channels connected with almost all organs in the body. Simply, it is called pressure points or trigger points. Triggering these points stimulate the respective organs and help optimal relief from pain and discomfort. However, not many of us are expert in choosing the right pressure points. A foot soak in warm water triggers all the channels. Also scrub your foot to stimulate the pressure points that provides quick relief from pain.
Things you need
- A tub
- Hot water
- Vinegar / lemon juice (optional)
How to get the foot soak
- Heat water in a big vessel.
- Make sure that the quantity of hot water is quite sufficient that you can immerse your ankle in water.
- Pour the water in a tub and ensure that the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. Stick to the maximum tolerable temperature.
- You can add vinegar or lemon juice for an extra zest.
- Immerse your feet and stay put for at least 15 minutes.
- Scrub your feet and wash it.
4. Check Sleeping Position for Back Pain Relief
Sleeping position is one of the important aspects you should consider to reduce and prevent back pain. The way every one sleep varies widely. However, sleeping in right posture prevents many health conditions.
Healthy alignment of spine during sleep reduces the muscle strain and pain. Good sleeping position is one of the simple treatments for back pain.
How different sleeping positions impact the back pain
Always you should sleep on your left. Sleeping on the left enables uninterrupted oxygen supply to the whole body. However, those with varying episodes of back pain may find it too hard to sleep on their left.
A few others have the habit of sleeping on their back. This sleeping posture severely hurt your back as you put a lot of your strain on your spine when you sleep on your back. Besides, those who sleep on their back are more likely to experience back pain as well ankle pain in the morning as soon as they wake up.
Sleeping on your stomach comforts your back, yet it is not recommended at all. Sleeping on your stomach compresses the digestive organs and leads to many complications with respect to digestive health.
How should you sleep to reduce back pain?
- If you sleep on your left, place a pillow in between your legs to keep the spine erect. This prevents and reduces the back pain to a great extent
- If you sleep on your back, place a firm pillow behind your knees to reduce the pain.
- To prevent aggravation of pain, better lay a mat and sleep on flat floor. Avoid sleeping on soft mattress.
Starfish Position to Reduce Lower Back Pain
It is the best position to sleep to get relief from pain. Sleep on your back and spread apart your hands and legs. However, the pillow shouldn’t be too high.
5.Oil Massage as an Effective Treatment for Lower Back Pain
You may be aware about the wonders of oil massage. Oil massage has been a ritual in the ancient days. Weekly oil massage helps the body to nourish from internally. Applying warm oil on the back and gently massaging the back helps you find relief from pain. Regular oil massage substantially reduces the pain.
The oils you can choose include,
- Coconut Oil
- Sesame aka gingelly oil
- Olive Oil
- Rice Bran Oil
The oils that need a carrier to use include,
- Mustard Oil
- Chamomile Oil
- Any type of essential oil
How to massage your back with oil?
If you are using any oil other than essential oils, just warm the oil. Don’t boil it, just warm it up. Gently apply the warm oil and massage in circular motions. Remember not to press hard or massage with any deep stroke.
Essential oils will be too harsh on bare skin and you should mix it with a carrier oil like coconut, sesame or olive oil, to avoid burning your skin. Add just a few drops of essential oils to the warm oil and massage it on the painful area.
Your skin absorbs the oil quickly. It lubricates the muscles, ligaments and joints. The lubrication relaxes the muscle spasm and provides relief from pain. Regular oil massage strengthens the bones and muscles too.
6. Epsom Salt Bath reduces Back Pain
If you experience back pain very frequently, you may need this Epsom salt bath therapy! It is very cheap, very effective and an easy treatment for lower back pain. All you need is a handful of Epsom salt and warm water.
- Fill your bath tub with warm water and put some Epsom salt.
- Soak yourself for around 15 minutes!
- Epsom salt deeply penetrates into the muscles and tissues. It heals the muscles and provides quick relief from pain.
- Besides, Epsom salt gives a natural boost to your skin health.
The key to Epsom salt bath is the temperature of the water. If the water is too hot, you may suffer from swelling. If the water is cold, you skin may irritate you! So, make sure the temperature is warm.
If you don’t have a bath tub, take bath in Epsom salt water.
7. Gentle Stretches for Back Pain Relief
Sitting all day either at work place or at home is a major cause of lower back pain. Sitting compresses your lumbar spine and makes it stiff. Even when you move a little, the stiffness causes lower back pain. The only way to avoid pain and reduce stiff is doing some gentle stretches and exercises for back pain relief.
- Stretch your hands above your head and clasp it together.
- Do some side stretches (both the sides)
- Do some simple leg rises from your seat.
- Lie down on your back and twist your hip side way while your upper body stays erect facing upwards. Repeat it for both sides.
- Swing your leg front and back.
There are many easy yoga asanas or yoga poses that help you stretch your spine just the right way in order to relieve back pain. Here are 5 Best Yoga Exercises for Lower Back Pain
8. Walk to Relieve Back Pain
Walking is the best remedy for many lifestyle conditions. Although walking isn’t connected directly with back pain treatment, it is a form of physical activity that makes you active, improves blood circulation and enhances your metabolism.
Remember, sedentary lifestyle and sitting for hours before computer is one of the major causes of back pain and life threatening complications that causes severe back pain.
You may simply feel that, ‘My back hurts so much and I really want to take some rest to feel better!’ Remember, back pain begins with physical inactivity in most cases. In many cases, taking rest in fact increases the pain and stiffness. So, be active most of the times. If you love to swim or be in water, you can even think of Aquatic Therapy- Water Exercises for Low Back Pain
How walking helps relieving pain?
- You get your daily dose of physical activity. Back pain aggravates with physical inactivity
- Walking reduces stress.
- Since it improves oxygenation and blood supply, it heals the dull and tired muscles.
- Walking reduces the stiffness of the back and thus reduces as well prevents pain.
9. Get Frequent Breaks and Slow Down to Relieve Back Pain
In most cases, rushing and pushing yourself too much puts a lot of strain on you. Too much stress may aggravate the pain. Regardless of the work you do, get some frequent breaks and slow down. Take a short stroll for around 5 minutes for every one hour.
If you need to sit before computer for long time, take desirable steps and Prevent Back Pain While Working at Computer
10. Get the Sun Shine Vitamin to Relieve Back Pain
Strong bones are an important aspect to optimal health. Weaker bones or deterioration of bones accounts to many health complications. Degeneration of spinal cord causes a lot of pain as the weak bones couldn’t resist and manage the regular functions. There is an easy thing you can do to make your bones stronger! Get the sun shine vitamin!
Vitamin D is called sun shine vitamin. It is called so because Sun is the only natural source that provides vitamin D free of cost. Daily sun exposure is recommended to strengthen the joints and bones. There is another reason why this sun shine vitamin is more important for bones!
Our body functions in many strange ways! When it comes to bone health, calcium is the primary nutrient you need the most! Poor calcium obviously affects the bone health leading to pain and many other discomforts. Get more insights on Why Do We Need Vitamin D
Sun exposure is a natural heat therapy
- Expose yourself to natural sunlight at least for 20 minutes a day.
- To reduce back pain, you may also expose the painful area directly to get the sunlight
- If you suffer from varying degrees of pain, you can get the sun exposure during the mid day.
It is widely believed and practiced that you should avoid sun exposure from mid morning to early evening. It is true! Sun spread its harsh rays during the mid day. However, the UV rays benefits those who suffer from lower back pain.
Just apply some oil or moisturize your skin (to prevent skin damage) and soak in the sun for 20 minutes during the mid day! It is the most effective remedy for back pain relief you can ever experience. Try it for some days and see the difference!
11. Gelatin or Agar Agar for Lower Back Pain Treatment at Home
Gelatin is one of the ingredients that can lubricate your joints in a few days and help you get rid of back pain. You can buy the gelatin powder available at the stores.
Take 1 tablespoon of gelatin and mix it with warm water and refrigerate the mixer. Eat this gelatin mix as the first thing in the morning. If you don’t like the taste, add some flavors like honey, a bit of cinnamon, cardamom, lemon juice, etc. Besides, you can add gelatin powder in soups and gravies.
If you are a vegan and hesitate to use gelatin, go for agar agar! Agar Agar is a plant and natural vegetarian substitute for gelatin!
12. Check your weight to Manage Back Pain
Overweight is the major cause of most of the health conditions. Excessive weight generally puts a lot of pressure on your knees and feet! Yet, if your belly is big, it hurts your back severely.
Big belly with wide and heavy waistline pull the muscles. Your spine cannot resist the heaviness of your belly and it gradually becomes stiff, resulting into back pain.
So, make sure your stomach is flat and you lose the extra weight.
Quick Tips to Reduce and Prevent Aggravation of Lower Back Pain
- Don’t bend forward. When the muscles are stiff the risk of injury is high when you bend forward.
- If you want to pick something from the floor, don’t stretch from your chair and try to get it. Get up, bend from your knees and pick the things. If you cannot do it, learn it from kids! They never bend forward to pickup things from the floor.
- Be careful when you ride or drive to avoid the bumps on the road.
- Make sure you don’t wear too tight clothes.
- Check on your shoes. Heeled shoes or hi-heels undoubtedly hurt your back.
- This is for men: Don’t keep your wallet on your back pocket. When you sit with a bit fat wallet (okay a medium wallet) it affects the spinal alignment. When the disc alignment is disturbed it causes pain!
- Remember no form of support brace or any kind of elastic bands may reduce lower back pain. It has no evidence with respect to relieving back pain.
- Keep your posture correct. Sit and stand erect so that your spine is not misaligned.
- Reduce the time of your rest. Involve in a lot of activities.
- Get some more tips on lower back pain management and treatment
While you may need appropriate medical treatment for chronic conditions that caused back pain, these home treatments for lower back pain will reduce the pain to certain extent. However, in most of the home treatments for lower back pain, you need some help. So, don’t be shy and ask for help from your family, relatives, friends, neighbors, anyone who can help you get rid of back pain!