- Back pain can be caused by several reasons, including muscle strain and pinched nerves.
- There are several home remedies for back pain.
- Doctors don’t recommend getting surgery to manage back pain.
Treating lower back pain depends on several factors, including how long you’ve been hurting, the severity of your pain, where exactly you are hurting, and whether your pain is structural or muscular.
Justin J. Park, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon with The Maryland Spine Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, says that most back pain cases resolve in a week or two. However, other factors could cause back pain to last for up to six weeks, like your age and level of activity.
Here are some of the best lower back pain remedies to find relief fast.
1. Anti-inflammatory drugs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce back pain. Research finds that these anti-inflammatory drugs give slightly better relief than acetaminophen (Tylenol). Dr Park warns limiting your intake for not more than ten days without consulting your doctor.
2. Ice and heat
The cold shuts down capillaries and reduces blood flow to the area where you have pain, which helps ease the swelling, according to associate professor at Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing, Lisa DeStefano, DO. Cooling also thwarts your nerves’ ability to conduct pain signals. On the other hand, heat loosens tight muscles and increases circulation, bringing extra oxygen to the rescue.
3. Supportive shoes
Wearing heels can be painful on your back, especially if you wear them for hours at a time, says Dr Park. He recommends throwing some flats into your regular footwear rotation instead of heels.
4. A new mattress
If your mattress is more than six years old, get a new one. A medium-firm mattress may be better for the back than firm beds, according to Carmen R. Green, MD of the University of Michigan Back & Pain Center.
5. Gentle stretches
To help stabilize your spine and prevent muscle imbalances, do gentle stretches, walking, and periodically stand up at your desk.
Experts recommend yoga too.
6. Prescription medications
For back pain that persists for more than a month, see your doctor. He or she may prescribe muscle relaxants, topical pain medications, or cortisone shots.
7. Physical therapy
A PT will teach you stretches to treat your back pain, as well as exercises to fix any imbalances that might have caused your pain. He or she may also use other treatment techniques, like ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and active release therapy.
According to one 2013 review of research, acupuncture may provide even more relief than painkillers. The needles help change the way your nerves react and may reduce inflammation around joints.
Because so much of pain is due to muscle strain, Dr Park recommends getting a good massage.
10. Mood booster
Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University, believes that fear, anxiety, and catastrophizing can amplify back pain. Brain circuits that process pain can overlap dramatically with circuits involved with emotions so that panic translates into actual pain. Dr Mackey says, start by accepting that you have pain, and believe that it will get better.