Low back pain is no joke. If you are one of the 16 million adults that suffers from low back pain each year then you know that it can really put a damper on your day. While we don’t always know what causes low back pain there are some insanely easy ways that you can to relieve it. This article takes a look at 7 of the top ways people can manage lower back pain. And the best part? They don’t cost a thing! Read on to find out more!
7 Easy Ways To Relieve Low Back Pain:
Stretching is a great way to reduce tension in the muscles that support your spine. If you are already living with low back pain then you probably know that stress and tension can make your pain worse. When we take the time to stretch our muscles we can improve our range of motion and increase our mobility which decreases the risk of further injury.
So, what sort of stretching do you have to do? Many people think you have to sign up for expensive yoga classes or Pilates but research has actually found that a general stretching session can do just as much good. In one particular study, researchers looked at patients in a self-care group, patients in a yoga group, and patients in a group that focused on stretching. At different points throughout the trial (6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months) they found that the effectiveness of stretching was “similar to yoga”. Compared to the self-care group those who participated in yoga and stretching were using less medication to manage their back pain. The stretchers also had “better back functioning” and were “significantly more likely” to rate their back pain as” better” or “completely gone" at follow-up times.
Stretching for just 10 minutes each day before bed, or when you wake up in the morning, can make a significant difference to recovering from low back pain and can have a huge difference on your day. All it takes is time!
Sleep is one of the most under-rated treatments that we can do for low back pain. When we sleep, our bodies are able to fight the inflammation that builds up throughout the day.
Studies on people who had good long-term sleep compared with those who had poor long-term sleep found that those with poor sleep had nearly “twice the risk of back-related disability”. The researchers found that long-term poor sleep contributed to a “substantially increased risk of chronic and disabling back pain that (was) largely independent of (their) adherence to physical activity guidelines”.
What this data tells us is that the anti-inflammatory properties of sleep are an important component of back pain treatment and recovery and that sleep might even be more important for reducing back pain than exercise!
Your posture can make a huge impact on how you experience low back pain. Poor postural habits have been directly linked to low back pain. Slouching at your desk, sitting all day, hunching over your phone - all of these are likely to cause problems with low back pain.
Research has found that simply being aware of your posture can lead to “clinical improvements” in low back pain. When we are more aware of how we are sitting or standing we tend to correct ourselves and not slouch or hunch as much.
While fancy ergonomic office furniture can make a difference (if used correctly), you don’t have to spend a fortune on fads for this remedy. Simply taking time to stand properly, or making sure that you are sitting upright with your legs at a 90 degree angle and your feet firmly on the floor can go a long way to helping correct your posture and reducing your incidence of low back pain.
Much of the chronic pain that we experience can be directly attributed to chronic inflammation and there is strong evidence that what we eat is related to how much inflammation we experience. Inflammation and something known as “oxidative stress” are the main pathways of chronic pain. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and aging) and antioxidants in your body.
Studies have shown that certain foods are better able to fight these inflammatory effects than other foods, while some foods can actually cause inflammation. A diet that is rich in nuts, green, leafy vegetables, fresh berries and salmon can reduce inflammation and the chronic pain that accompanies the inflammation. While there is no one specific diet that researchers recommend, choosing foods that are high in anti-inflammatory properties can have significant benefits for your low back pain.
Here’s an interesting fact: Being dehydrated can make you shorter by the end of the day. It’s true! When we are dehydrated the soft fluid-filled disks that cushion our vertebra shrink - making the bones closer and our spines shorter. This actually makes us shorter!
But vanity aside, being dehydrated can increase low back pain. Research has found that hypohydration can actually increase our sensitivity to pain and also make us more aware of pain. One specific study found that “a person’s hydration status may be an important factor in their perception of acute pain”. Dehydration can not only make us feel pain more intensely, but it can actually cause herniated or bulging disks and do damage to our spines.
When we make sure that we are drinking enough water throughout our day we can reduce our incidence of back pain, as well as reducing our sensitivity to pain in general. Now that’s worth raising a glass to!
International guidelines on low back pain have been based on extensive research and reviews of all the scientific studies available. Healthcare professionals have put together their list of best practices for the management of lower back pain, and exercise is one thing that is at the very top of the list. The unanimous recommendation is that exercise should be used as a first line treatment for chronic lower back pain.
One particular study found that there was a” beneficial effect for strength/resistance and coordination/stabilization exercise programs compared to other interventions in the treatment of chronic low back pain”. This doesn’t mean that you need to rush out and start a CrossFit program, but making some sort of exercise program part of your daily routine can have significant benefits.
Low impact aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, and strength training can make a significant difference to how often you experience low back pain and how intensely you experience it. Exercise doesn’t have to feel like a chore - it might just take a bit of experimenting to find out what works for you and what you enjoy doing.
It sounds almost too simple to be true. Breathing can make a big difference to back pain. Research has shown that there is a direct link between poor core stability and chronic low back pain. Proper breathing techniques can affect low back pain in many ways. Firstly, deep breathing can cause your body and muscles to relax, reducing pain and tension in your lower back muscles. Secondly, the muscles that you use for breathing are connected to your vertebrae so practicing controlled breathing might help in correcting the alignment of your spine.
The studies around deep breathing for low back pain recommend that deep breathing exercises be part of low back pain treatments .
There are so many promises that are made when it comes to managing low back pain and it can be hard to know what to try. Lower back pain is a unique experience for everyone and what works for one may not work for another. These 7 tried and trusted ways to manage low back pain have science to back them up and since they are basically free they can be a great place to start!