Nothing can ruin your day quicker than back pain. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can simply ignore until it goes away. There are several ways to immediately treat back pain. Healthier habits can also help resolve the underlying problem and strengthen your back. Keep reading to see how you can ease your back pain at home.
Stretching serves two main purposes: It loosens up tense muscles and strengthens those that need some help. Depending on the location and cause of your back pain, certain stretches can reduce back pain, while others can cause more pain. Stretching should be gentle, so stop any stretching exercise that causes pain. If you force a stretch, you could do more damage than good. Consult your doctor for help in deciding the best stretches for your back pain. Once you get the hang of it, regular stretching can ease back pain quickly and effectively.
Fix Your Posture
Most of us spend a good amount of time sitting down, whether it’s at work or during the commute to and from work. Sitting down for long periods of time may be more harmful than you realize. But you can minimize the impact by sitting properly. Correct posture in a chair means having all the bones in your spine lined up neatly, like a stack of perfectly aligned blocks. This means keeping your feet flat on the floor and your computer keyboard within easy reach so you’re not leaning forward. This is one part of proper office ergonomics.
Adjust How You Sleep
Sleeping on your back is best. Spending a few nights on the floor with a pillow underneath your feet can really help your back, even if it might be a little trickier to stay sound asleep. If you’re a side sleeper, putting a pillow between your knees can help by allowing your muscles to relax more. Sleeping on your stomach can be bad for your back. If this is the only way you can fall asleep, the Mayo Clinic recommends placing a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis to prevent back strain.
Ask for a Massage
Gently massaging a sore or tense muscle is one of the most effective ways to loosen it up and relieve pain. However, not everyone can afford a personal masseuse when back pain kicks in. So, consider asking your partner for a massage! For added benefit, ask your loved one to use some medicated ointment to double your pain relief.
Try Rubs and Ointments
There are plenty of pain rubs and ointments on the shelves. Some standards include Icy Hot or Tiger Balm. The effectiveness of these medications can vary from user to user, so go with what feels best and suits your needs. Some typical turn-offs with these ointments are the smell and difficulty of putting it on your own back. One popular product is Biofreeze, a natural compound with a cooling sensation without the greasy texture. It comes in menthol and unscented varieties as well as a spray form.
Take Over-the-Counter Medicines
There are many over-the-counter medicines for pain, even some targeted for back pain, such as Tylenol or Advil. Sometimes back pain can be so severe that it might require use of painkillers. Be sure to follow the usage guidelines and take only the recommended amount. If you’re taking pain medication regularly for your back pain, you should talk to your doctor, as these medicines may have more unwanted side effects in the long run.
Slow It Down
Too often, the body’s aches and pains aren’t caused by physical injury but because we push ourselves too hard. Make sure you take your time and schedule breaks when doing physical activity if your back hurts. Stress also adds to how your body reacts to pain, so the calmer and more relaxed you are, the more your back will thank you.