Lower back pain affects millions of people each day. It can range from an ache to a debilitating pain that requires medical attention. If you have a history of lower back pain, you know how uncomfortable it can be. There are some simple things you can do at home to help relieve lower back pain. You don’t have to suffer, here are some tips you can use to relieve lower back pain at home.
Over the Counter Medications
NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) help to reduce inflammation in the area causing you pain. They are an effective over the counter choice for treating back pain. Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), aspirin, and naproxen (Alleve) are examples of NSAIDS you can get at your local store. Be aware however that these medications can cause stomach upset, and if used as a long term solution may increase the risk of ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is also an effective pain reliever. Acetaminophen works differently than NSAIDS in that it works on the nerves to relieve the pain instead of reducing inflammation. According to the Mayo Clinic acetaminophen is just as effective as NSAIDS for back pain relief. If you’re concerned about the risk of ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding, acetaminophen may be a good choice for you. Check with your doctor if you’re unsure which over the counter oral medication is best for you.
Deep heat lotions are a popular choice. They work by heating up the area affected and some people have reported relief from pain from these lotions. Ice packs and heat have also been shown to give relief from back pain. Alternating ice and heat may help to reduce inflammation and relax your muscles to give you relief.
Be careful not to use your heating pad on high to prevent burns. You may want to use a warm damp towel directly on your skin, cover the towel with a sheet of cling wrap and a towel, and then apply the heating pad to the towel. This will give you a moist heat that is very soothing. Also do not place ice directly on your skin. Place the ice in a zippered bag, wrap it in a soft towel, and then place it on your back.
Many people find that stretching exercises help to relive back pain. One example of a stretching exercise if to place your hands on a counter and place one foot out behind you like you’re going to do squats. Next bend your leg nearest to the counter while slowly leaning back on the extended leg. Repeat this exercise five or six times, and then change the position of your legs. This exercise stretches and strengthens your back muscles. Take it slowly and check with your doctor about which exercises are best for your condition. Laying with your legs up on a few pillows to stretch your back muscles can also help, as will sleeping with a pillow between your legs if you are a side sleeper.
If you are experiencing lower back pain, check with your doctor to rule out any causes such as a kidney stone or UTI. Most doctors recommend returning to normal activities as soon as possible, and do not recommend more than a 48 hour down time. Try these simple home remedies to see if they help you get relief from lower back pain.