Back pain can be very unpleasant, whether it lasts for a few hours or several days at a time. It can range from mild to excruciating and even disabling, making simple tasks difficult or impossible to do. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get rid of back pain that won’t require expensive medical treatment. Check out this list of the top 10 ways to get rid of back pain so you can keep your back healthy and free from pain!
1) Eliminate bad habits
When it comes to mitigating back pain, a critical aspect is eliminating bad habits that exacerbate your discomfort. Even something as simple as a poor posture at work can cause undue stress on your spine and create muscle tension that contributes to back pain. A good way to start managing these potentially harmful habits is by being mindful of them throughout your day. For example, try tracking how much time you spend in front of a computer or standing at a desk with good posture versus bad.
2) Be physically active
The old adage use it or lose it is certainly applicable here. If you’re someone who sits for a large portion of their day, get up and walk around every once in a while. If you can walk outside instead of on a treadmill, all the better.
3) Listen to your body
Oftentimes, back pain is simply a side effect of being on your feet for too long or dealing with an overly stressful day. If you can do so, take some time off from standing or sitting and spend some time lying down, ideally on your back. Oftentimes, that’s all you need to get your body working properly again—it will feel better once you’ve relaxed.
4) Eat nutritiously
By paying attention to your diet, you can help keep aches and pains at bay. A healthy diet ensures that you get plenty of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals—the building blocks your body needs for strong muscles and bones. However, if you have back pain that doesn’t seem to go away with rest or medication, speak with a doctor or physical therapist who can diagnose its cause and recommend a treatment plan.
5) Spend time relaxing
While it’s obvious that you shouldn’t be working out when you have back pain, it’s just as important not to stress your body. Physical activity causes stress on our bodies, and while short-term stress can be beneficial (like when running away from a bear), long-term stress causes inflammation in our muscles and joints. These symptoms will likely result in more pain.
6) Stay hydrated
Dehydration is often what causes back pain in healthy individuals. Keeping your body properly hydrated will ensure that there’s no excess strain on your back. To alleviate severe pain, experts recommend downing at least 64 ounces of water a day. You can also increase water intake by eating foods that contain large amounts of water, such as cucumbers and celery.
7) Meditate daily
People who live in highly stressed and busy lifestyles tend to be less flexible, less strong, and more prone to injury than those who practice relaxation techniques. By integrating meditation into your daily routine you can reap a variety of benefits including increased strength, mobility, flexibility, stress management and focus. In addition, a growing body of evidence suggests that meditating for as little as 20 minutes each day may help lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety.
8) Use heat
Heat can help reduce back pain because it relaxes your muscles and helps them return to their normal length. Heat can also help reduce inflammation, which is often a cause of back pain. Using heat won’t eliminate your back pain entirely, but it can relieve some symptoms. Applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to your back is a good way to bring on those benefits. Just make sure you don’t burn yourself!
9) See a doctor
If your back pain is severe or persistent, a doctor should see you. Be open and honest about what hurts and when it started. If an MRI or X-ray shows abnormalities in your spine, you might be referred to a spine specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon, physiatrist (physical medicine specialist), or neurosurgeon. These specialists may recommend physical therapy—or surgery for more serious issues—depending on what’s causing your back pain.
10) Follow an exercise plan
Routine exercise is one way to improve strength and flexibility and reduce your risk for chronic back pain. A well-rounded plan that incorporates a mix of aerobic activity, flexibility training, core strengthening, and balance exercises can also help relieve low back pain. The key is consistency; aim for at least three 30-minute workouts per week.