Your back might hurt from an old sports injury or a chronic condition such as arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis or might have sprained it while working in the yard or cleaning house.
For pain that won’t go away, or severe back pain should be checked by a doctor or a physical therapist.
But sometimes you can treat nagging pain and discomfort on your own.
Dr Yajuvendra V Gawai is a consultant Orthopaedic surgeon specializing in Sports medicine, Arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) and Joint preserving cartilage surgery. He has wide experience this field both international and in India. Currently he is attached to Nanavati hospital – Vileparle, Gurnanak hospital – Kala Nagar, Bandra – East, Parakh hospital – Ghatkoper as Consultant in Orthopaedic, Sport medicine and arthroscopy surgery . Prior to that he was working with Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital as head of Sport Medicine Programme . His Special interests are Shoulder, Knee and Hip Arthrocopy and cartilage reconstruction.
1. Keep Moving
You might not feel like it when you’re in pain. But this is probably the first thing your doctor will recommend.
2. Stretch and Strengthen
Strong muscles, especially in your abdominal core, help support your back. Strength and flexibility may help both relieve your pain and prevent it.
Yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are just a few of the ways to strengthen your core and the muscles around your hips. One exercise that targets your entire upper and lower back is to lie on your tummy and lift up your legs and arms in the flying position.
3. Keep Good Posture
This helps ease the pressure on your lower back. You can use tape, straps, or stretchy bands to help keep your spine in alignment. Aim to keep your head centered over your pelvis. Don’t slouch your shoulders or crane your chin forward.
If you work in front of a screen, rest your arms evenly on the table or desk, and keep your eyes level with the top of the screen. Get up from your chair and stretch and walk regularly.
4. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Shedding extra pounds lightens the load on your lower back.
If you need help, ask your doctor for advice on a diet and exercise plan that may work best for you.
5. Quit Smoking
Nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products can weaken your spinal bones and take away vital nutrients from the spongy disks that cushion your joints. A healthy spine keeps your back flexible and its muscles from getting stiff and sore.
Research suggests that if you smoke, you may be four times more likely than nonsmokers to have degenerative disk disease or other spine problems.
6. Try Ice and Heat
You may have heard that one is better than the other for relief from back pain. The short answer is that the best option is whichever works for you.
Usually, ice is best if your back is bothered by swelling or inflammation. A heating pad may be better if you’re trying to relax stiff or tight muscles.
7. Know Your OTC Medications
Nonprescription pain relievers can help with muscle aches and stiffness. The two main types of over-the-counter options are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen. NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
8. Rub on Medicated Creams
Skin creams, salves, ointments, or patches may help when your back feels stiff, sore, and tense. Many of these products contain ingredients such as menthol, camphor, or lidocaine that can cool, heat, or numb the affected area.
Put on creams right where you hurt. Ask someone to apply it if you have trouble reaching the spot.
9. Ask About Supplements
It’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from foods. But ask your doctor if supplements might help.
For example, many people don’t get enough vitamin D, which is important for bone health. That can happen from lack of exposure to sunshine or because your body can’t absorb enough vitamin D from foods.
Always talk to your doctor before you take any supplements.
10. Throw in the Towel
A rolled-up towel can be a handy tool for back pain relief. Try putting it under your pelvis when you’re lying down. Let your hips relax over the towel and help stretch out the tension in your lower back. See how to sleep on your back.