Chances are, you or someone you know is living with low back pain. It’s something people everywhere deal with, and it can be really unpleasant to experience.
I treat patients for low back pain every day in my practice. But I also want my patients to know there is a great deal they can do at home to prevent and treat back pain. Indeed, taking some basic self-care steps can make a big difference.
To help prevent and relieve back pain, try:
- Stretching. The more loose and relaxed your muscles are, the less pressure your body puts on your spine. A basic stretching routine is a great idea, especially in the morning. It’ll help keep your body loose and limber all day.
- Yoga. Many yoga poses are specifically designed to help open up the back. Any good yoga instructor will know which ones can help—and once you know them, you can do them wherever you want. If you can though, check out a therapeutic yoga class, as it will be specifically geared towards people with physical issues like back pain. You can also use yoga bolsters to help support your back while in specific poses.
- Movement. This may sound counterintuitive, but often the best thing you can do for a sore back is to move. It will help warm your body up and loosen your muscles. Take a walk or go for a swim, as these will help increase your blood flow to the painful areas without putting too much stress on your body the way running might.
- Applying hot and cold. Try alternating a hot pack and an ice pack, no more than 20 minutes each at a time. The heat helps your back relax, and the cold helps dull the pain.
- Magnesium lotion. Magnesium is a mineral that your body uses to calm itself down. It’s great for any kind of stress or tension. You can get it in lotion or oil form and apply directly to your back.
Remember, prevention is always the best approach. The more you do to take care of yourself before your back gets especially painful, the easier a time you’ll have of it.