Back pain is something that can be incredibly distressing and frustrating. It affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. Some people experience back pain because of poor posture or a work-related injury, as well as general age-related back issues.1
At other times, back pain is related to injury or muscle strain, and it will pass over time. If you have back pain that came on suddenly, try to rest. If it does not get better after 48 hours, it may be worth talking to a doctor.2
Chronic back pain is often managed through a combination of painkillers, physiotherapy, and treatments such as the TENS machine. If you do not want to rely on painkillers alone or find that they do not really help your back pain much, you may want to consider some other remedies as a complement to the pre-existing treatment routine you’ve established with your physician.
Home Remedies for Reducing Lower Back Pain
The good news is that you don’t need to rely on pharmaceuticals alone to manage back pain. There are a lot of other strategies that you can use to manage chronic pain. Most people will turn to home remedies for cramps, allergies, or minor annoyances, yet when it comes to using home remedies, lower back pain is one area where people tend to give up. Try these strategies:
Exercise When You Can
Exercise encourages your body to produce endorphins, which can dull pain and improve your mood. Additionally, exercise relaxes the muscles and improves blood flow. In the long term, exercise can improve your posture and reduce the risk of your back pain returning.3
Get More Sleep
Many people don’t get enough sleep. The side-effects of a lack of sleep are subtle and often go unnoticed because of this. However, a lack of sleep can cause chronic pain to feel worse.
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So, find a way to get comfortable at night, cut down on caffeine, and work to get better sleep quality to reduce your back pain.4 If you struggle to sleep because of your pain, try using a pillow between your legs to support a natural curve in your lower back.
Use Heat/Cold Therapy
Treating your back with hot packs or cold packs can help reduce pain. Cold reduces inflammation, while heat stimulates circulation. Both have value. Many athletes use something called contrast bathing to enjoy the benefits of these two different therapies.
Studies into the effectiveness of heat and cold therapy have been promising.5 If you decide to use cold therapy, do not put ice packs directly onto your skin or use them for prolonged periods of time. Additionally, choose hot packs that feel warm but are not hot enough to burn you.
Relax with Essential Oils
Essential oils are useful for reducing the severity of chronic pain. They can help reduce inflammation, promote relaxation, and reduce a person’s perception of pain. The effectiveness of essential oils, especially as a massage tool, is well-studied.6
Don’t Ignore Back Pain
With a combination of an existing treatment plan and home remedies, lower back pain can be successfully managed. Do not ignore back pain if it occurs frequently or if you experience an episode of back pain that does not go away with rest.
Untreated back pain can cause people to adopt poor posture to compensate for the loss of mobility, and this can lead to additional issues. Talk to your doctor, and work with them to pinpoint the cause of your back pain, as well as to rule out any neurodegenerative conditions.
Back pain can often be prevented with exercise and proper attention to posture. Consider making modifications to your work environment to reduce the risk of back pain. Take care when carrying heavy objects, and if you wear a backpack, use both straps so that the weight is spread evenly. If lifting heavy loads is part of your job, take a manual handling course so that you can to do so safely. Careful precautions will help you keep your spine healthy well into old age.
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