I’m always trying to encourage my patients to help themselves when it comes to their back problems. The more you help yourself, the less you need to come see me! So here are some tips for lower back pain relief at home (and yes they work, I sometimes even do them myself!):
We all know it’s good to exercise, but I’m always being asked which exercises are best for back pain? Well…….research has recently shown what I’ve always been saying. It doesn’t really matter what you do, just do something! Obviously high impact sports are going to increase your likelihood of injury (stay away from football, rugby and dead lifting especially!). Also any exercise which causes your back pain to flare up is a no no for you. The key piece of advice is stick to something you enjoy, and are therefore likely to continue doing. Exercise is not just for when you’re having problems with your back, but a way of preventing future episodes. It does this by keeping the joints mobile and the muscles strong.
If you wake up feeling stiff and achy, its just because your body hasn’t moved much in the night and joints and muscles have tightened up. Stretches are great to get you going a bit faster (and not just for the morning may I add). A lot of low back pain can be alleviated with some simple gluteal stretches. My personal favourite is the figure of 4 gluteal stretch. Another tip here is have patience with the stretches, hold at least 30 seconds or as long as it takes to feel the muscle relax a bit. Also, if the stretch hurts a bit, then it’s probably doing you good (sorry).
People only seem to ice when their back has already become painful. Obviously it’s good to use an ice pack during these times to reduce inflammation and give natural pain relief, but it could also stop a painful episode in it’s tracks. Here’s some golden advice: if you feel a warning twinge in your back (especially after an activity) pop the ice pack on ASAP. I’m not promising a miracle cure every time, but it may well prevent a painful episode from developing. Lets face it, what harm can it do? Just make sure you protect your skin from ice burns with a towel.