If you have low back pain, you may be wondering what the best way to relieve lower back pain is. If you are someone who gets low back pain often, you may already have a few ideas, but sometimes you need to know how to relieve lower back pain fast — like if you have to get to work after waking up with some pain in your back.
While you may not be able to get rid of the pain at home completely, you can take steps to reduce and manage it before you can get in to see a specialist.
Here we will dive into some of the most common low back pain questions and some tips for relieving this pain so you can get back to your day as quickly as possible.
How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Fast
Unfortunately, there is no instant cure for back pain. This is not because back pain is necessarily hard to cure but because there can be many causes for your back pain. Identifying what has caused your pain is typically the best way to solve this issue, but in the meantime, you’ll want to get your body moving and do some stretching to help relieve the pain. You may also opt for over-the-counter pain relievers if your pain is especially bad.
Tips to Relieve Lower Back Pain
Here are some tips to help you relieve lower back pain.
Our bodies are not meant to be sedentary. Unfortunately, however, in the world we live in today, most of us have sedentary jobs or spend a lot of time sitting down when we get home from work. While you may not be able to change how much you sit for your work, you can control how much you move around in your personal life.
Moving is typically one of the best things for back pain because it helps engage your core muscles and helps reduce inflammation by circulating blood. We’re not saying you need to run a marathon when your back hurts, but a nice 30-minute brisk walk can do wonders!
Hot and Cold Therapy
Both hot and cold packs can help relieve low back pain. Hot pads relax the muscles, while cold packs help reduce swelling. Depending on the cause of your pain, hot or cold packs can provide incredible relief.
Work on Posture
Slouching puts a lot of pressure on your low back. This is especially true for women with larger chests because more weight is out of alignment and straining your lower back. So, if you feel your back starting to hurt, place extra emphasis on maintaining good posture throughout the day.
Stretch and Strengthen
Strength and flexibility are the keys to a healthy back. Stretching can help improve flexibility and lessen the likelihood of tight muscles causing back pain. Strengthening, on the other hand, is essential to maintaining a healthy back. Working on your core and hip muscles helps to stabilize your back and prevent it from twisting in uncomfortable ways. If you are looking for ways to do strengthening and stretching at the same time, yoga and tai chi are great options.
Check Your Sleep Habits
Sleep can dramatically affect how your back feels when you wake up. But, the position you sleep in is not the only important sleeping habit to keep an eye on. Our bodies need enough rest each day to perform at their best. So, if you have found yourself staying up late watching that new show that came out on Netflix or waking up constantly in the middle of the night for a snack, these are also habits that you’ll need to address to ensure you are getting good quality sleep.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can help reduce acute pain. Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can also help combat the inflammation that typically comes with low back pain. Keep in mind that OTC pain relievers are not meant to be taken for long periods, and if your pain is not subsiding, you should contact a back pain specialist.
Is It Better to Sit or Lay down with Lower Back Pain?
For most lower back pain issues, lying down is better than sitting. Sitting can put more pressure on your spinal column than lying down. So in most cases, lying down will be better for your back pain.
However, as Harvard Health notes, sitting may feel better than lying down if your low back pain is due to spinal stenosis. This is because stenosis is arthritis in the back that feels better when your back rounds rather than arches. This rounding of the back happens when we sit and gives the arthritic bones more space to spread out.
How Do I Know If My Back Pain Is Serious?
A few criteria suggest that you should seek back pain treatment. These are:
- Pain lasting longer than a week
- Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs
- Pain spreading to your arms or legs
- Pain caused by an injury or trauma
- The onset of gastrointestinal issues, weight loss, or fever
- Worsening pain when sitting or lying down
Is Walking Good for Lower Back Pain?
In most cases, walking is one of the best ways to help relieve low back pain. There are some conditions where it is best to lie down and rest, but walking can effectively reduce inflammation and strengthen the muscles around your back. This can then, in turn, prevent future back pain from coming up because your core muscles are stronger and better able to keep your back from twisting or bending in ways it should not.
How Should I Sleep to Relieve Back Pain?
The best way to sleep is lying on your back with a pillow under your knees. This promotes the most natural alignment of your back and helps prevent unwanted twisting at night.
If you cannot sleep on your back, you can sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees. If you have a waist smaller than your hips, place a small pillow under your waist to help keep your back more aligned. This is especially helpful if you have a harder bed that does not accommodate a curvier figure. The important thing to note when deciding how to sleep is that you aim for the most natural position for your back.
How Long Does Lower Back Pain Last
The length of your back pain will depend on the severity of the back pain and what caused it. For example, if a herniated disk causes your low back pain, it can take months to heal.
On the other hand, if your low back pain is due to sleeping in a slightly odd position the previous night, some stretching and movement can get you feeling better immediately.
What If My Lower Back Pain Doesn’t Go Away?
If your back pain does not go away after trying these tips, it may be time to contact a specialist. Back pain doctors can help you determine the cause of your pain and find the best solutions. There are many treatments available at healthcare practices like the Carolinas Pain Center, so even if some of the treatments above don’t seem to impact your symptoms, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. It is often possible to reduce or even eliminate the experience of lower back pain with the right course of treatment, and we are committed to helping you reach your goals.
Whether you are an expert when it comes to low back pain or you are experiencing it for the first time, there are plenty of things that you can do at home to help relieve your symptoms.
However, if your pain persists for over a week or worsens at any time, you should contact a specialist. If you are in the Charlotte, NC, area, Carolina’s Pain Center can help you.
Make an appointment today to begin your lower back pain treatment.