Lower back pain can strike at any time. Whether you lifted something incorrectly, slept weird, or deal with chronic arthritis, lower back pain can be extremely debilitating.
However, there are ways to manage your chronic back pain from your own home. Of course, if your pain stems from an injury or your start to experience tingling in your legs, go see a doctor immediately.
1. Chill It
Within the first 24 to 48 hours of experiencing back pain, icing the affected area can decrease inflammation, according to E. Anne Reicherter, PhD, PT, DPT, associate professor of Physical Therapy at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. After 48 hours, heat is the best way to treat your pain. With either method, make sure to take it off after 20 minutes to give your skin a rest.
2. Keep Moving
"Our spines are like the rest of our body -- they're meant to move," says Reicherter. Don't overdo it, but don't stay inactive. Keeping up with your daily routine can help heal your spine by making sure it doesn't become too stiff from immobility.
3. Strength Training
You can help prevent lower back pain by doing daily exercises to build up those muscles. "They help you maintain the proper posture and alignment of your spine," Reicherter says. It's not just hip muscles either. Having strong hip, pelvic, and abdominal muscles all help give your back support. DO NOT do abdominal crunches. They put too much strain on your back.
"Because most of us spend a lot of time bending forward in our jobs, it's important to stand up and stretch backward throughout the day," Reicherter says. Getting up every 20 minutes can help ease potential back pain. Using a regular stretching routine is the best way to go.
5. Plan Your Workspace
For someone who sits at a desk, there are many ways to prevent back pain. Make sure your monitors are high enough so you don't have to hunch to see your work. As well, keeping your mouse within reasonable reach and making sure your feet are firmly on the ground can all help prevent lower back pain.
6. Watch Your Posture
Avoid bending at the waist, especially when picking up objects. Keep your spine straight and lift with your knees. Also try to avoid slouching when you stand, as this contributes to lower back pain.
7. Wear Low Heels
High heels affect your ability to stand properly, putting lots of pressure on your lower back. Heels less than 1 inch are ideal for preventing lower back pain.
8. Watch Your Weight
Diet and exercise are a big factor in preventing and treating chronic lower back pain. Excess weight puts pressure on your spine, which leads to the pain.
9. Stop Smoking
Smoking increases your risk of osteoporosis, which is a weakening of your bones. It can lead to compression fractures in your spine. Studies show that smokers are more likely to have lower pack pain than non-smokers.