Are you suffering from lower back pain? You’re not alone. Statistics show that 80% of the global population struggles with back pain at some point throughout their lives.
Sometimes it may feel like a pulled muscle, other times it could be acute, stabbing pain, and you may even feel it traveling down your leg. Bad posture, prolonged sitting, or standing, sleeping on the wrong mattress are just some of the causes that make lower back pain such a common condition.
The good news is, in most cases, you can treat at home with a few simple remedies. Let’s explore the most common causes of lower back pain and what you can do to alleviate the symptoms.
Causes of Lower Back Pains
Muscle strain is probably the number 1 cause of lower back pain. This can happen especially if you’re spending a lot of time either sitting at your desk, in your car, or you may be doing the opposite – standing most of the day.
Your posture contributes to a tightening of the lower back muscles. If you add lifting heavy weights, twisting while lifting, or even just exercising without properly warming up to that, you’re in for a disaster.
The good news is, this is one of the easiest types of pain to treat: rest, relaxation, ice, and some anti-inflammatories will usually do the trick.
Broken or herniated discs are a more serious cause of lower back pain. Depending on the degree of the rupture, the pain can vary from mild to severe.
When the lumbar disc breaks through the outer layer, the herniated portion can press on the nerve, which along with the inflammation from the hernia can lead to severe pain that usually travels across the leg.
Scoliosis, lordosis, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, or other chronic conditions of the spine can lead to lower back pain.
Treating this type of pain will depend on its cause, but therapy and exercises can be helpful in most cases.
Osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones weaken over time and become more prone to breaking doesn’t usually present any symptoms until a fracture appears.
Sometimes, however, it can cause low back pain, especially if it starts weakening the hips and the sacroiliac joint.
An inflammatory condition that can affect the spine, knees, shoulder, and other joints, osteoarthritis can present itself with pain ranging from mild to severe depending on the degree of inflammation.
The disease is usually progressive, but home remedies can alleviate symptoms.
7 Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain
1. Applying oils or ointments
Oils and ointments are a quick and easy remedy that you can use anytime and anywhere.
Many of them have anti-inflammatory properties that help manage pain and may aid you in regaining some mobility.
You can also use them regardless of the cause of the pain. They’ll have a beneficial effect both for pain due to an injury, osteoarthritis, chronic conditions, and even disc damage.
2. Placing a cold compress
A cold compress is one of the first things to do when dealing with a muscle strain, along with resting the injured area.
The compress will help lessen the inflammation and can shorten the time needed to recover.
3. Follow a back-friendly exercise program
Rest is the best thing when the pain is acute, especially in the first 1-2 days from the onset of the symptoms. Afterward, it is best to try and do some gentle, back-friendly exercises.
If your pain is due to a chronic condition, your exercise program should always include back-friendly movements.
Be sure to always do a proper warm-up, follow the advice of a trainer who specializes in back issues regarding correct postures, and what exercises to do and which to avoid.
4. Stretching frequently
Stretching can maintain your muscles mobile and can prevent injuries, stiffness, and even bulging discs. Try to incorporate the stretches throughout your day. Take 2-3 minutes to stretch every couple of hours while you’re at work.
If you’re a driver, remember to try and stretch and walk a little every time you get a chance to pull over. Remember, maintaining spinal health and mobility doesn’t require complicated moves. Simplicity and consistency are often a better solution!
5. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
Sometimes you need something more than stretching, compresses, or applying ointments.
In this case, you can try an over-the-counter pain reliever. They work by reducing inflammation and with that, they could help reduce your lower back pain.
6. Massaging the painful areas
A massage may feel like a solution that’s too simple to work. A 2011 study found that massage therapy can help reduce back pain and improve back function, as well as minimize the need for pain medication and reduce the healing time.(1)
7. Eliminating stress
When it comes to lower back pain, eliminating stress can do more than you can imagine. For instance, an Epsom salt bath will help alleviate pain caused by muscle tension, which is usually a result of both physical and psychological stress.
Shoes that don’t fit well are a different form of stress because they can be very taxing on your spine. In fact, poorly-fitted shoes are a common cause of both lower back and neck pain.
So if you’ve tried every possible home remedy, you feel a little improvement, but then your pain just keeps coming back even though you don’t have a chronic condition, consider switching shoes.
Consult A Specialist To Relieve Your Lower Back Pain
If your pain persists over a few weeks, is so severe that you feel you can barely move or get out of bed, and no over-the-counter medication or natural remedies help, it is time to see a doctor. The exact medical procedures will depend on the cause.
For instance, for fractures caused by osteoporosis or tumors, one may undergo a vertebrae cement augmentation. Sciatica, spinal stenosis, or severe chronic back pain may be treated with lumbar epidural steroid injections.
When the main cause of the pain is arthritis, paraspinal joint injections may be necessary. In other words, you’ll need to consult a spine specialist, who will be able to pinpoint the exact cause of your pain and recommend the best treatment.
If you’re in Arizona, you can try VISPdocs, vein specialists who can help you with lower back pain treatments regardless of the cause.