I don’t know about you, but for me, even mild pain or discomfort reduces the ability to perform regular tasks.
Especially if it lasts. Especially if it’s back pain.
I just can’t sit in one place and concentrate on my work.
If you’re anything like me, you must be looking for ways to relieve lower back pain with both a quick and a long-term effect. Well, here they are below. Hope you’ll get a relief with one of them.
What Causes Upper and Lower Back Pain?
To be able to get rid of back pain without complications, you should know what causes it. Some treatment options can be effective with one type of pain and dangerous with another. Thus, if you don’t know the reason for your pain, you might only make it worse.
So, have a look at the most common causes of back pain and try to understand which one is your case:
- injuries (spasms, strains);
- unhealthy lifestyle (improper posture, constant heavy weight lifting);
- spine-related problems (scoliosis, osteoporosis, bulging disks, etc.);
- other causes (pregnancy, infections, tumors, arthritis, etc.).
“Wearing high heels increases pressure on your lower back and may result in poor posture. However, wearing completely flat footwear all the time isn’t very healthy either. Some researchers connect both of these extremes to foot and lower back pain. Ideal shoes for proper posture are the ones with arch support.”
How to Relieve Upper and Lower Back Pain
Now that you’ve got an idea of where your pain possibly came from, consider the following ways to get rid of it:
- Take a break.
Sometimes you might feel pain in your shoulders or lower back because of the pressure that accumulates when sitting or spending time in any other same position for long periods of time. Experts recommend taking short breaks from monotonous work every hour or so. During these breaks, you can lie a bit and let your body treat back pain itself by relaxing completely. Or, you can change the position by walking or stretching so that the pressured parts of your spine could loosen up. By the way, such breaks are good for your brain too, not only for your body.
To me, stretching is one of the most powerful ways to relieve upper back pain and fix lower back pain. It is effective both as an immediate treatment and as a preventive means in the long run. The movements should be slow and steady. Proper breathing is also important. Note that it makes sense to stretch not only the painful area but your whole back, especially if stretching isn’t your regular activity.
- Take a pain reliever.
I personally treat back pain with meds only when I can’t stand how much it hurts any longer.
Pain is part of your body’s defense mechanism.
It signals you that something is wrong and that you need to take action on it. Besides, when some area on your body hurts, you will be naturally more careful when moving and doing everyday activities in order not to disturb that area and let it heal itself.
If you just kill the pain, you won’t know if what was wrong has cured. Thus, you will keep on doing your routine activities and might disturb the affected part of your body, which can make things even worse.
- Turn to heat/cold therapy.
If your muscles are strained, a warm bath can fix lower back pain and relieve upper back pain by relaxing your muscles. You can add Epsom salt for an even better effect. When bathing is not an option, you can pour hot water in a bottle and press the bottle against the painful area.
Applying ice is also effective, especially when the cause of pain is an injury. Note that you should wrap the ice pack in a towel or any other piece of cloth so that your skin wouldn’t be in direct contact with it. Otherwise, you’re risking to get a frostbite.
“Both heat and cold are used to help with back pain and are equally effective. However, these two types of therapy are used for different kinds of pain. Basically, warm compresses are applied to reduce stiffness and help muscles relax, while cold compresses are effective at reducing swelling.”
- Take advantage of manual therapy.
Massage is not only a relaxing but also a pain relieving pastime. You can do it yourself, ask your partner or friend to help you, or address a professional. A medical specialist may advise that you take a course of massage therapy for complete healing.
Acupuncture is another type of manual therapy when little needles are applied to concentrate on certain points on your back. It originated from China and is mostly used to relieve lower back pain and stiffness in the middle back area.
- Get a mattress for back pain sufferers.
Proper spinal alignment during sleep is crucial, given how much time we spend sleeping. If your back hurts in the morning more than later in the day, I have bad news for you — your mattress isn’t supportive enough for your body.
But here are some good news too:
A new bed for back pain relief from this study has chances to help you get rid of back pain forever.
Although some models are advertised as universally comfortable, you should still take into account your body’s needs when shopping for a new mattress.
While you’re researching and looking for the most suitable bed, you can help your body align during sleep using your old mattress and a pillow. If you want to relieve lower back pain, put an additional pillow under your knees (back sleeper’s remedy), between your knees (side sleeper’s remedy), or under your abdomen (stomach sleeper’s remedy). In case you need to relieve upper back pain, you should pay attention to your main pillow. If you’re sleeping on a too high or too low one, your whole spine gets out of alignment.
- Keep your back straight.
One of the back pain help solutions for a long-term effect is learning to keep the right posture. If your job requires you to spend 8 hours sitting, you should make this your primary goal for the next month. Actually, it will likely take you less than one month. Here’s one simple thing you should do:
Set an alarm for every 15 minutes, which will remind you of checking your posture and straightening up.
At first, this may be distracting, but you’ll get used to that. Besides, once you learn to watch your posture and straighten up subconsciously, you might notice other benefits of correct posture and its effect on your brain.
When to See a Doctor?
Spine-related problems are very serious and may have different complications when ignored or treated improperly. So, seeing a medical professional is recommended. But if you’re anything like me, and like most people on Earth probably, you don’t really like visiting doctors.
So, let me tell you when it’s really a must:
- you’ve got a fever;
- you’ve tried alternative therapies and they’ve made your pain worse;
- you feel tingling and numbness;
- pain doesn’t go away for a long time (a month or so);
- you don’t seem to find an obvious cause of pain.