Millions of people suffer from back pain. If this is the case, you may be keen to obtain prompt relief so you can return to enjoying your life and work comfortably.
Most back pain will disappear on its own within two to four weeks without treatment, but chronic pain and more persistent cases may require home remedies or more to help you get through your day-to-day life without constant discomfort or pain.
Back pain can have causes that aren't related to an underlying condition. Workouts, lifting too much weight, prolonged sitting and lying down, sleeping in an uncomfortable position, and wearing a poorly fitting backpack are all examples of overuse that can cause soreness.
A few weeks of low back pain can cause discomfort and inconvenience. People living with chronic and ongoing back pain, however, are in an even more challenging position––due to the need to find ways of navigating life while constantly in pain.
When discomfort lasts longer than three months and exceeds the body's natural healing process, it is considered chronic. Low back pain typically stems from disc, joint, or nerve root irritation. The following are some common causes:
Herniated disc in the lumbar region. Discs can irritate nearby nerve roots when the jelly-like center breaks through the tough outer layer. A herniated disc is full of proteins that cause inflammation when they reach a nerve root, and inflammation and nerve compression cause nerve root pain. The disc wall is also richly supplied with nerve fibers, and a tear can result in severe pain.
Disc degeneration. Intervertebral discs are full of water at birth and are at their healthiest. It is natural for people's discs to lose hydration and wear down as they age. As the disc loses hydration, it cannot resist force well––which may eventually cause a herniation when the disc walls tear, causing pain or weakening. Moreover, a collapsing disc can also cause stenosis, applying undue pressure to the spinal cord and nerve roots.
Dysfunction of the facet joints. Each motion segment of the lumbar spine has two facet joints. These joints have cartilage between their bones and a capsular ligament that is richly innervated. As a result, it is possible for these joints to be painful independently or in conjunction with disc pain.
Damaged sacroiliac joints. Each side of the pelvis is connected by the sacroiliac joint at the bottom of the spine, which primarily absorbs shocks and tension between the upper and lower body. Sacroiliitis or too much or sedentary motion of the joint can cause the sacroiliac joint to become painful.
Stenosis of the spine. The narrowing of the spinal canal compresses the nerve roots, resulting in pain. And lower back narrowing can be central, foraminal, or both at single or multiple levels.
Trauma. Spinal fractures or dislocations can cause pain. After a trauma such as a motor vehicle accident or a fall, lower back pain should be medically evaluated.
Compression fracture. When a vertebra fractures, the bone essentially collapses in on itself, causing sudden pain. Fractures of this type are more likely to occur in older adults due to weak bones, such as osteoporosis.
Rarer Causes Of Low Back Pain
Although considerably rarer in occurrence, low back pain may also be caused by:
Infection. An untreated spinal infection, also known as osteomyelitis, can cause severe pain and be life-threatening. Plus, an infection could result from a surgical procedure, injections, or be passed through the bloodstream.
Also, people with compromised immune systems are unfortunately more likely to develop an infection in the spine.
Tumor. Many spinal tumors originate in another part of the body and metastasize to the spine. Furthermore, tumors that spread to the spine typically start from cancer in the breast, prostate, kidney, thyroid, or lung.
Patients with a pre-existing cancer diagnosis should seek immediate evaluation if experiencing any new symptoms of back pain to rule out possible spinal metastasis.
Autoimmune disease. Back pain can potentially point to the presence of certain autoimmune conditions, such as ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, and others.
Seek professional help to screen for and rule out any of the more potentially serious causes for lower back pain, and consider integrating some of the home-based remedies we’ll share to further soothe sore joints and lessen your chronically achy back all from the comfort and sanctuary of your home.
Low back pain caused by spinal degeneration and injury.
- Muscle or ligament strain. Repetitious heavy lifting or a sudden jerky movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments.
- Bulging or ruptured discs. Discs act as cushions between the bones in the spine.
Low back pain is usually caused by the Iliopsoas, Quadratus Lumborum, Gluteals and Multifidus muscles. These muscles attach to your spine and surround it. In reality, the Iliopsoas are actually two muscles that meet at the front of the hip.
Massage can complement conventional medical treatment if you suffer from back pain. It can lessen discomfort and get you back to feeling revitalized and pain-free faster.
Otherwise, consider the following tips to improve lower back pain. Here are 12 remedies for low back pain that are often overlooked:
#1. Exercise to Warm-up Muscles
Even though exercising when you are suffering from lower back pain may seem counterintuitive, the right movements may provide relief.
By following a few simple steps, you can also loosen your back muscles at home.
Lay flat on your back with your knees bent. Place a firm cushion or foam roller underneath your hips. Allow your body to sink completely into the floor and into the foam roller/cushion. Repeat this stretch three to five times, resting between sets for 30 to 60 seconds. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
#2. Use a Hot/Cold Treatment Pack
Starting ice therapy when you first notice soreness in your lower back is imperative. Inflammation, tissue damage, and pain should be reduced as a result.
In cases of persistent soreness, start using heat therapy after one day. By switching to heat therapy, you should be able to promote tissue healing.
#3. Stretch More
Low back pain can be caused or worsened by weak back and abdominal muscles. Therefore, stretching and strengthening your back and abdominal muscles is crucial for treating low back pain as well as preventing recurrences.
Make your back stronger and more limber at home by trying the following poses:
Cat-cow. During the cat-cow sequence of yoga, your spine is stretched and opens up. You can perform this exercise in the morning or at night before you go to bed.
You will be able to release tension in your spine as well as regulate your breathing with this pose. And it’s even easy enough for beginners, a great starting point.
- Single knee-to-chest. Stretch your hip flexors and spine muscles with this move. Start by lying on your back. Support your leg in the stretch by gently pulling one knee towards your chest. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch legs and hold the other knee for 10 seconds. Repeat this process for each leg three to five times.
- Lumbar rotation: Lie on your back on the floor with hips and knees bent to 90 degrees and feet flat; slowly and with control, rotate your knees to one side keeping your hips in contact with the floor; Hold it for 10 seconds and then repeat the exercise on the other side.
- Piriformis stretch: The most effective way to do this is to lie on your back with your legs straight. Bend your knee and lift your affected leg. Reach across your body with your opposite hand, and then gently pull your knee toward your opposite shoulder. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Do the same with the other leg––two to four times on each side.
Hamstring stretch: You should keep one leg straight in front of you, with your heels on the ground and your toes pointing upward. Keeping your back straight, lean forward over your outstretched leg.
During this exercise, your thighs should feel stretched. Try holding this position for at least 30 seconds.
Cobra pose: Settle into a comfortable position, preferably on a comfy yoga mat. Then lie on your stomach with your legs pointing straight back in a neutral position, rather than angled outward or rotated out from the hips.
The palms of your hands should be flat on the ground beneath your shoulders.
Press your palms together and take a deep breath. You will extend your arms as you reach your chest forward, as well as widen your shoulders and move your spine slowly.
Keep your neck aligned with your spine while gazing upward. Hips should be squared and aligned, with your pelvis and thighs flat on the ground.
#4. Get Better Shoes
The condition of your feet will have an impact on the rest of your body, including hip and back pain. Low back pain can result from improper footwear, which can increase stress and strain on the spine and limbs. So it is crucial to wear appropriate shoes to protect your feet and promote proper posture.
#5. Reduce Your Stress
Typical anxieties and everyday stresses include financial pressures, long work weeks, and medical problems. Often, chronic stress results in a stiff, achy shoulder or back due to muscle tension.
Plus, stress can also lead to back and neck pain. So, finding accessible and sustainable modes of managing the challenges of life is a smart investment to weather life’s ups and downs while maintaining a back free of chronic aches and pains.
#6. Get Better Sleep
Lying flat on your back in order to avoid back pain is said to be effective. However, it is still the hardest way for many people to enjoy deep sleep.
You can still set yourself up for sound sleep and ensure proper spine alignment by placing one pillow under your head or neck and another beneath your knees. This will ensure maximum support while you slumber.
Restorative sleep can help relieve back pain and discomfort as well as promote healing and rejuvenation. Each individual needs a different amount of sleep, but research indicates that a healthy adult needs approximately seven to nine hours per night.
#7. Strengthen Your Core Muscles
Core strength training appears to alleviate chronic low back pain more effectively than resistance training.
The core muscles stabilize your trunk. We rely on these muscles to stabilize our spine. When your core is weak, even the simplest movements can cause injury.
Consider simple exercises like holding a plank position or completing some sets of tried-and-true crunches to tone the body while tightening and strengthening core and back muscles.
#8. Mind Your Posture
Proper posture keeps your bones and joints aligned. Consequently, joint surfaces wear less abnormally, the ligaments holding the spinal joints together are less stressed, and your muscles work more effectively.
Besides, proper posture can also prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and prevent back and muscle pain.
#9. Try Spinal Decompression Surgery
Patients with severe pain caused by compressed nerves can benefit from decompression surgery. Pain is significantly reduced in up to three out of four patients who undergo the operation.
Furthermore, spinal decompression therapy can help some patients prevent or postpone invasive spinal surgery, including spinal fusions or discectomy surgeries––as a highly-effective nonsurgical treatment for lower back pain.
#10. Get Restorative Sleep
To reduce strain on the spine if you sleep on your back, elevate your knees or lay a pillow under them. For side sleepers, putting a firm, flat pillow between your knees will help your lower spine and hips straighten.
Alternatively, support your midsection with a waist pillow or lumbar support cushion.
Restorative sleep can alleviate pain and back discomfort while allowing your body to heal, repair, and rejuvenate. We get that each person’s sleep needs will vary, but research suggests that a healthy adult should sleep for seven to nine hours each night.
It’s also important to note that the restful sleep phase is critical for a variety of health processes like energy and cell regeneration. We experience an increase in glucose metabolism during this time of rest, which supports long and short-term memory.
Plus, blood supply to the muscles increases during deep, especially restful sleep, facilitating the growth and restoration of tissues and bones.
#11. Boost Endorphins with Self-Care
Join in on an in-person or on-demand workout or indulge in a deep-tissue massage to loosen muscles and tissue to aid in back and overall body relief––with an added boost to the lymphatic system with either, further aiding in the body’s daily process of detox and cleansing.
#12. Engage your brain
As we’ve shared, back pain can stem from anything from impact trauma, to a herniated disc, but in instances of unexplained back pain, emerging medical hypotheses explain that persistent back pain with no obvious diagnostic source is not always caused by tissue damage.
Rather, that pain is triggered by the central nervous system (CNS) and resides within the brain itself, potentially a psychosomatic manifestation of a psychological trauma.
Foods For Better Back Health
Diet plays a vital role in spinal health and that directly impacts whether your lower back is feeling flexible and soothed or sore and inflamed. Take time and care to incorporate some of the following foods, vitamins, and minerals into your diet to provide your body with optimal spinal support.
The following minerals and vitamins aid in maintaining spinal health:
- Magnesium, which can reduce muscle tension, is found in dark green leafy vegetables, fish, beans, seeds, nuts, avocados, and bananas.
- Calcium, Vitamin D and K which support bone health and prevent osteoporosis.
Cruciferous veggies like kale, spinach, and broccoli are all anti-inflammatory powerhouses––squelching the fire of free radicals that would seek to cause oxidative damage if left unchecked and worth adding to your weekly meal plan to keep your spine spry.
Other smart food selections for an anti-pain diet protocol include: avocados; nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, and Brazil nuts); lean proteins, like chicken and turkey; beans; and antioxidant-rich dark cocoa.
Plus, green tea–especially if spiked with turmeric and a spec of fresh black pepper to activate the potent anti-inflammatory curcumin, along with a sprig of fresh ginger brewed and steeped delivers a soothing salve that boosts lower back health and fights free radical damage throughout the body.
Furthermore, a vitamin D deficiency can evidence itself with the symptom of an onset or worsened achy back and muscle spasms. Incorporate vitamin-D-rich foods like salmon, tuna, meaty mushrooms, and fatty and rich egg yolks to your diet to better support a well-fed and nourished body fueled by foods that support back health.
Life is a lot less enjoyable with a bad back. Everything feels more difficult when it’s hard to sit or stand for long without soreness and aching pain gnawing at you.
Fortunately, persistent pain in the past isn’t a predictor of future health, and you can banish most back pain using the helpful tips we’ve shared without ever stepping foot inside a doctor’s office.
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