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20 Home Remedies to Relieve Lower Back Pain (LBP)

Liberate yourself from the grip of persistent back pain with simple and effective home treatments. Reclaim comfort!
20-home-remedies-to-relieve-lower-back-pain-LBP
Most of us have faced pain in our lower back at some point in life. Main factors like stress, imbalance, or stiffness in muscles can be the cause of strain and pain in your lower back. Also, lower back pain can vary in intensity may be a dull ache, acute or chronic, and could last for a few minutes, hours, or days. Sometimes lower-back pain travels across body parts, it can move down to the buttocks causing discomfort to the legs and can exacerbate while bending, standing, or moving.

Any type of body pain is discomforting and there are triggers associated with it, here are some common components behind lower back pain:

  • Prolonged sitting in poor postures
  • Weak core muscles and tight hip flexors
  • Overworking the muscles of the lower back
  • Heavy lifting or repetitive movements
  • Accidents, falls, or sports-related injuries
  • As we age, the spinal discs may degenerate
  • Obesity puts stress on the lower back.
  • Inactivity can lead to weakened muscles
  • Medical conditions like arthritis, sciatica, or spinal stenosis
  • Herniated discs, also known as slipped discs
Lower back pain is a prevalent issue that can stem from many of the above-mentioned factors. Fortunately, many cases of lower back pain can be effectively managed with rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and physiotherapy. But in some cases, strict medical supervision and accurate diagnosis are more suitable.

How long does back pain last?

The duration of back pain can vary widely depending on the underlying cause and can be categorized into 3 types.
Acute Back Pain:
Acute back pain is short-term and mostly occurs due to strain in muscles and minor muscular injuries. This type of pain happens suddenly and usually lasts for a few days to a few weeks. With proper rest, self-care, and over-the-counter pain medications, acute back pain usually resolves.
Subacute Back Pain:
Subacute back pain is prolonged in duration and can stay for 4 to 12 weeks. This type of pain comes suddenly or over time, sometimes medical interference is required if the pain is severe and interferes with daily activities, sleep, or work. To heal subacute back pain there can be many treatment options like physiotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and other medical care.
Chronic Back Pain:
Chronic back pain requires expert medical intervention, as the pain is severe and challenging to manage. Pain can last more than 12 weeks and can occur daily. As the pain can’t be managed through initial treatments it is necessary to reach the root and identify the source of the pain. Chronic pain can disrupt an individual’s daily life activities and regular treatment via medical interventions is the only solution to improve a person’s quality of life.

Home remedies to prevent lower back pain

In 2020, low back pain (LBP) affected 619 million people globally and it is estimated that the number of cases will increase to 843 million cases by 2050, driven largely by population expansion and aging.

Acute pain can turn into chronic if not taken care of in the early stages. Things always get problematic if not taken care of properly and timely, identifying the symptoms and cause of the pain helps in limiting the growth and creating an effective pain relief plan.

1. Regular Low-Impact Exercises

While exercise is generally beneficial, it can sometimes be hard on the body, so opt for low-impact exercises which are as good as other intensive forms and are less demanding. Low-impact exercises are gentle on the joints and muscles, activities like walking, swimming, body balance, pilates, or yoga will help to strengthen your back, improve range of motion and muscle flexibility without putting excessive strain.
On the other side, high-impact exercises like running, strength training, or weight-lifting are more challenging, keeping your muscles and bones under stress and tension. So there are more chances of injuries, you can try high-impact exercises but start slow first get used to low-impact exercises, and build up from there.

2. Maintain Proper Posture

Adopt correct posture, good posture holds your body upright against gravity. Good posture helps in stress reduction on your lower back while sitting, standing, and lifting objects and also helps in maintaining spinal alignment. Right posture plays a key role in preserving spinal alignment and supporting the natural curvature of the spine. By adopting a good posture, you distribute the load on your spine more evenly, minimizing the risk of strain and discomfort.
Tips to better posture
  • Be mindful of how you stand and sit, ensuring your spine is straight and your shoulders relaxed.
  • Avoid slouching or hunching over when using electronic devices or sitting for extended periods.
  • Take breaks to stretch and move throughout the day to give your body a chance to readjust to its natural resting position and gradually correct any postural imbalances.

3. Ergonomic Workspaces

Use chairs and workstations designed for proper support to your body to minimize back strain during long periods of sitting. If you spend most of your time sitting then those poorly designed chairs or workstations can disturb your spinal alignments, put stress on your joints, and strain the supporting muscles and ligaments of your body. Try to replace them if you have already started feeling lower back pain, invest in sitting that is effective and healthy for your back so that you can work for long hours with good posture and without trouble.

4. Proper Lifting Techniques

Many times when we lift something heavy from the ground we strain our back muscles. Improper technique and carelessness in how we approach lifting tasks can lead to muscle pulls and injuries. To ensure a safer approach, it is essential to adopt the correct technique when you are going to lift any heavy object or weight. Begin by positioning your feet apart to establish a stable base and center of balance, then first bend your knees to lower your body position. By employing this “bending knees first” method, you reduce the amount of stress on your lower back, as the load is lifted more with your leg muscles rather than relying solely on your back.

5. Supportive Mattress and Pillows

A firm mattress provides adequate support to the natural curvature of the spine. It helps keep the spine aligned during sleep, preventing any unnecessary stress or strain on the back. Similarly, the right pillow can reduce pressure and tension in the neck and shoulders while keeping the spine aligned, ensuring added comfort. With a supportive mattress and pillows of good quality, there are fewer chances of the spine sagging into an unnatural position. When the spine is properly aligned, it allows the muscles to relax, leading to a more comfortable and rejuvenating sleep experience.

6. Heat Therapy

Heat therapy or thermotherapy means applying a heating pad or warm compress to relax tense muscles and soothe lower back pain. Heat therapy improves blood circulation and improved circulation helps in repairing damaged muscles, alleviating inflammation, and reducing back muscle stiffness, ultimately contributing to pain relief and enhanced mobility. You can apply heat therapy with the help of a heating pad(Electric or microwavable heating pads), warm compress, or hot water bottles.

7. Cold Therapy

Cold therapy is a kind of local therapy and it is best for small areas of pain, take an ice pack and put gentle pressure, when ice is applied to the affected area it causes vasoconstriction and results in blood vessel narrowing. This helps to reduce blood flow to the area and decrease inflammation, thus alleviating pain and swelling.
In addition to reducing inflammation and numbing the area, using ice on the back can also help to prevent further tissue damage. When the tissues are injured, swelling can put additional pressure on the surrounding structures, exacerbating the pain. Ice therapy helps to minimize this swelling and can aid in the recovery process.
A few fast facts on cold and heat therapy
  • Heat therapy is generally suitable for addressing non-inflammatory conditions or chronic pain. For acute injuries or inflammation, cold therapy may be more appropriate.
  • Cold treatment works by decreasing blood flow to the affected area and is mostly effective when applied within 48 hours to an injury, cold therapy is mostly in the cases experiencing acute pain.
  • Heat treatment promotes blood flow, which is opposite to cold therapy. Improved blood flow aids in muscle relaxation, and is more suitable for addressing chronic pain and stiffness.
  • Alternating between heat and cold therapy may provide relief for back muscle pain, and reduce inflammation and soreness.
  • When using heat or cold treatments, it’s essential to avoid extremes. Never apply extreme heat that could cause burns or extreme cold that could damage the skin.
  • Never place ice directly on the skin, as it can lead to cold burns or frostbite. Always use some barrier like a thin cloth or towel, when applying heat or cold to the skin.

8. Stress Reduction Techniques

Relaxation techniques are therapeutic both physically and psychologically, which help you reduce stress, tension, and anxiety. Mind and body are interconnected and fostering relaxation in one body part positively impacts the other parts too. The primary goal of relaxation is to promote a state of deep calm and tranquility, which in turn can alleviate physical discomfort. Practice relaxation methods like deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation(PMR) to relieve stress-related back pain.

9. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Our spine supports our body’s weight, extra weight on our body is direct pressure on our spine. This increased pressure due to extra weight could alter the natural curvature of our spine leading to a forward shift in the body’s center of gravity.
Due to excess weight muscles and ligaments that support our spine need to work harder to maintain stability. Also, excess weight accelerates wear and tear on the joints of the spine, which can cause many problems like intervertebral disc compression, development of osteoarthritis, degradation of spinal tissues, and increased risk of musculoskeletal issues.
What are different exercises that you can do to lose weight and support your spine?

Aerobic and Non-Aerobic Exercises:
An effective workout routine involves both types of exercises aerobic and non-aerobic. Both exercises offer unique benefits on their own and are essential components of a well-rounded fitness strategy. Try to combine these exercises as they can help you improve and achieve your weight loss goals with extra benefits like strength, endurance, and flexibility.

What are aerobic exercises?
Aerobic exercises, cardiovascular exercises, or cardio exercises all are the same, these types of exercises involve rhythmic and continuous movements that engage large muscle groups of our body. All those activities that increase your heart rate and breathing rate for an extended period can enhance the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, increase lung capacity, and improve blood circulation.

During aerobic exercises, the intensity is moderate, and the activity is sustained for an extended period like 45 minutes to 90 minutes session. To meet the energy demands of these activities for an extended time our body utilizes oxygen to break down carbohydrates and fats through a process called aerobic metabolism. This process efficiently produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency used by cells.

Examples of aerobic exercises include: Running, Cycling, Swimming, Jump rope, Dancing, Brisk walking, Rowing, and Aerobics classes

What are Non-Aerobic Exercises?
Non-aerobic exercises, or anaerobic exercises, are activities that primarily focus on building strength, power, and muscle mass and involve short bursts of intense effort or resistance training.

During non-aerobic exercises, the intensity of performing exercise is high, and the activity is typically of shorter duration which involves bursts of intense effort. The body’s aerobic metabolism alone cannot meet the immediate energy demands under these conditions. Instead, the anaerobic energy systems kick in to provide rapid energy through other metabolic pathways. One such pathway is anaerobic glycolysis, where the breakdown of stored glucose produces ATP without the need for oxygen.

Examples of non-aerobic exercises include: Weight lifting, High-intensity interval training (HIIT), Sprinting, Jumping exercises, Resistance band exercises, and Bodyweight exercises.

10. Frequent Breaks

Remember the rule “Stand, Stretch, and Walk”
Our muscles adjust to a static position, and if not stretched they get stiff due to poor blood circulation causing muscle imbalances, pain, and discomfort. Take breaks to stretch and move around during prolonged sitting, when individuals sit for extended periods in poor postures it can lead to musculoskeletal strain, particularly in the neck and lower back regions. Encourage regular breaks and incorporate postural shifts or adjustments during work hours.
What is Paresthesia?

Paresthesia is a sensation of tingling, often termed “pins and needles” or numb feeling, especially in the feet or hands. This occurrence is often connected with sitting in a position that compresses nerves or blood vessels, resulting in temporary numbness. It happens when constant pressure on nerves or blood vessels prevents proper blood flow and nerve function.

When you stand up after sitting for a long time, blood flow resumes, and nerves begin to send messages again, resulting in tingling or pins and needles. It is often innocuous and disappears once normal circulation and nerve function are restored. However, if you frequently have this sensation or if it lingers, it’s advisable to pay attention to your sitting posture and take rests to avoid prolonged nerve compression.

11. Avoid High Heels

High heels affect foot posture, when women wear heels their toes are pointed downward and the heel is elevated due to which the body’s weight is pushed forward. As body weight is being pushed forward, to compensate lower back needs to be arched more than its normal position to maintain balance leading to extra strain on your back and knees. High heels can significantly alter the natural curvature of the spine and cause an imbalance in weight distribution, leading to increased pressure on our lower back.
Few suggestions that will help you enjoy wearing heels without discomforting your spine:
  • Wedge Heels: Consider wearing wedge heels as wedges provide a more stable platform.
  • Platform Heels: Platform heels feature a broad sole under the front of the foot, reducing the height difference between the front and back.
  • Proper Sizing: Only choose heels that are the perfect fit for your feet, too tight or too loose can contribute to discomfort and affect your posture.
  • Limit Wear Time: Reserve wearing heels for shorter periods and special occasions, and avoid prolonged periods of standing or walking in heels to prevent excessive strain on your spine.
  • Sit Whenever Possible: Take breaks and sit down whenever possible, especially if you need to wear heels for an extended period, this allows your spine to relax and reduces continuous pressure.
  • Posture Awareness: Stand tall, engage your core muscles while walking, and avoid leaning too far forward.
  • Alternate with Flats: Alternate between wearing heels and comfortable flats to give your feet and spine a break.

12. Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water to keep spinal discs well-hydrated and maintain their elasticity. The intervertebral discs between the vertebrae of the spine act as shock absorbers, providing cushioning and support for the spinal column. These discs are composed of a gel-like substance surrounded by a fibrous ring, and their hydration level plays a crucial role in their functionality.
What is disc degeneration-related back pain?

As we age, the discs lose water content, becoming less flexible and more prone to stiffness. This natural degeneration can result in reduced disc height and impaired shock-absorbing capabilities. Consequently, the discs may struggle to adapt to compression during activities, contributing to discomfort and pain, particularly in the lower back.

13. Gentle Stretching

Stretching for lower back pain will bring you the relief you’ve been craving, perform regular gentle stretching exercises to improve flexibility and reduce tension in the lower back. Stretching exercises like child pose, knee-to-chest stretch, trunk rotation, Cat-Cow, seated hamstring stretch, and pelvic tilt can help lower your pain and increase your range of motion. Perform these simple stretches throughout your day to help prevent and decrease neck and back pain.

14. Over-the-Counter Pain Medications

Use over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, nonprescription pain relievers are easy to find at your local drug store for temporary relief. If OTC medicines don’t relieve your pain, you must visit a doctor to know the exact cause of your pain.

15. Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Maintaining a healthy diet can have a multifaceted impact on overall health, including reducing inflammation, managing weight, and promoting good spinal health. Incorporate foods with anti-inflammatory properties to reduce inflammation and pain in your lower back.
Some examples of anti-inflammatory foods are:
  • Omega 3 – canola oil, walnuts, and fish
  • Monounsaturated fats – olive oil, peanut oil, nuts, avocado
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Herbs, spices, and teas – ginger, turmeric, oregano, sage, cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, and green tea

16. Avoid Prolonged Inactivity

A sedentary lifestyle can cause stiffness in our muscles and joints limiting the range of motion of our back muscles. Not moving enough also weakens the muscles that support our spine like those in the abdomen, buttocks, hamstrings, and thighs. It’s essential to stay active and incorporate regular exercising into our daily routine to improve our flexibility and strengthening the muscles that protect our spine.

17. Lumbar Support Cushions

Use a lumbar support cushion when sitting for extended periods to maintain proper spinal alignment. Ergonomically designed lumbar support cushion molds to your lower back, maintaining a neutral spinal alignment while sitting for long hours. A curved cushion or lumbar roll, can be manually placed to fit the proper areas of the lumbar region.

18. Core Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening your core muscles, the muscles around your spine, abdomen, and hips, is crucial for providing support to your lower back. Engage in exercises such as bridges, planks, leg raises, and pelvic tilts to target these core muscle groups. Strengthening your core not only stabilizes your spine but also offers various benefits, including reduced back pain, enhanced athletic performance, and improved overall daily functioning.

19. Healthy Sleeping Habits

Find a comfortable sleeping position that supports your back and promotes restful sleep. Flat back or side sleeping, decide for yourself and find the best position that provides comfort to your lower back, important is that your spine be aligned to the natural position and you must not feel any stress on your back.
Some experts will say side sleeping and a pillow in between your legs is good, while some will say flat on your back and a small pillow under the back of your knees, choose what reduces stress on your spine and supports the natural curve in your lower back. Follow the sleeping position for some time if you feel relieved it’s good, if the pain persists either change the sleeping position or take expert help to fix your posture.

20. Consultation with Healthcare Professional

If you experience severe back pain that is not diminishing despite home care, consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and personalized treatment. This can include a chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopedic physician assistance. Your healthcare provider may ask various questions about how long you’ve had back pain, how severe your pain is, how you got the injury or what is your lifestyle.

Conclusion

In conclusion, preventing and managing lower back pain is crucial to living a quality life. Home remedies are like self-care tips, that can help you with your pain but the results can be temporary. Pain is no joy and needs to be cured ASAP, if you experience unremitting pain seeking guidance from a healthcare professional is essential to receive a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment for optimal back health.

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