Don’t let lower back pain stop you from doing what you love. These home remedies for back pain will help provide relief to you get moving again without giving up doing what you love.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, lower back pain prevents nearly one-third of adults in America from sleeping well, exercising, or completing necessary daily tasks. What’s more, most people who suffer from lower back pain never seek treatment, choosing instead to manage–and mask–pain with medication.
Whether you choose to get professional help by calling a chiropractor or if you opt to try home remedies for back pain, these nine exercises can help you get immediate relief when acute lower back pain flares up.
Believe it or not, simple body weight stretches are some of the best home remedies for lower back pain. No equipment, no strain, no excuses. To get the maximum benefit of these holds, incorporate steady breathing and relax through a number of deep breaths. Remember, it can take up to two minutes to release the soft tissue that surrounds a joint, so work slowly until you can achieve holds of that length.
- Trunk Twist Lie on your back with arms stretched out side to side to form a T. Raise your left knee until it is at 90o while keeping your right leg straight on the ground. Tighten your core to support the lumbar as you lower your left knee to the right side. Hold for 30 seconds, relaxing as your breath deeply. Engage your core to raise your knee back to the center. Bring your left leg to the floor. Repeat this exercise on the other side by bending your right leg and bringing it to 90o while keeping your left leg on the floor. Tighten your core to support the lumbar as you lower your right knee to the left side. Hold for 30 seconds, relaxing as your breath deeply. Engage your core to raise your knee back to the center. Lower your right leg to the floor. Build to 2 minute holds on each side.
- Child’s Pose This popular yoga pose gently stretches muscles and releases tension in the lower back. It can also be deeply relaxing. Start on your hands and knees. Spread your knees apart as you lower into a seated position until you’re sitting back on your heels. Bow forward, stretching your arms out straight in front of you. Hold this bow position for as long as possible, up to two min. Keep your core engaged, so you do not strain the back. To get out of the pose, walk your hands backward until you return to a seated position.
- Cat Pose Start on your hands and knees. Arch your back into a “U” on your inhale. Round your back to the exhale, gently stretching all the muscles of the mid and lower back. Move slowly between an arched and a rounded back. Be careful not to twist and turn. The hips remain neutral during the pose.
The beauty of the LAX ball is that it gives an extraordinary pressure at very specific points. Though we’re talking about using them to relieve muscles in the lower back, LAX balls are also effective for shoulder pain and tight muscles between the shoulder blades. Stash them around the house and even in the glove box of your car. Place the ball behind your back when you drive. The pressure can give you instant relief if you find you experience low back pain on a long trip.
Choose a smooth area of the wall and place the LAX ball at the area where you have lower back pain. You may have to tilt your pelvis forward or even get into a seated position. Apply pressure to the ball, using the wall to stabilize your movements. You can be flexible how you move to experience the pressure at the site of your lower back pain.
Sit on a hard surface, such as a chair or even the floor. Place the ball underneath the buttocks. Hold pressure at the desired point and then begin to shift gently forward and back and from side to side. If you’re in a chair, place the ball behind your back and rotate ball against the area where the muscles feel tight and sore.
- Laying Down
Tape two LAX balls together so that the shape resembles an hourglass. Lie on your back on the floor and position the taped balls at your lumbar so that one ball is on each side of your spine. Be gentle. LAX balls aren’t as forgiving as a foam roller, and the pressure could cause pain on tender muscles. Gently roll back and forth so that the balls glide down the length of the spine.
Foam rollers are great for helping to relieve tight lower back pain, and– bonus–they can feel like a mini massage if the amount of pressure is right.
- Foam Roller on Hamstrings
It may seem counterintuitive to roll out the hammies to fix lower back pain, but tight hamstrings can pull on the discs of the lower back, causing strain and pain. When we release the hamstrings, it takes pressure off the lumbar, which could provide back pain relief.
Directions: Sit on the floor. Raise your leg and place the roller under the hamstrings. Rest your hands behind you and lift your body off the ground. Roll back and forth on the foam roller to release the hamstrings.
- Roller on Glutes
The benefits of rolling out and releasing the glutes are similar to the benefits you get from releasing the hamstrings. When the gluteus muscles are tight, they pull on the lower back muscles, which adds pressure to L1-L5 vertebrae. Pressure on the vertebrae can pinch a disc and cause nerve pain. It’s all connected, which is why it’s important to consult a chiropractor if you find home remedies for back pain don’t give you the relief you need.
Directions: Sit on the floor. Raise the buttocks off the floor and place the roller underneath. Rest back on the hands and begin rocking the foam roller back and forth.
- Foam Roller on Lower and Mid Back
Depending on the severity of your lower back pain, this option may cause pain rather than alleviate it. The reason for this is because a foam roller on the lower back forces an arch in the spine. It may also put pressure on the vertebrae if you’re unable to control the amount of your body weight that lowers into the roller.
Directions: Lie on the floor and create a curve in your lower back. Slide the roller underneath until you’re comfortably balanced. Perch on your elbows to absorb some of the body weight and to help control the back and forth movement as you roll.
In addition to these exercises at home for relief from lower back pain, ice may also help. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
HEAT vs. ICE
While a warm soak or a heating pad may offer wonderful and soothing comfort, it’s not going to help treat lower back pain. The reason for that is heat will draw blood to swollen muscles and could increase pain.
Instead, opt for ice, which has the healing ability to reduce inflammation that could be an exasperating pain. Watch this informative video to learn more about the benefits of ice.
These nine home remedies for back pain can help us release the tight muscles in our lower back that is causing debilitating pain. But be warned: pain is an indicator of a deeper problem. Those tight muscles may be trying to support vertebrae that have shifted and may be pinching a nerve. While all of these exercises can certainly ease acute symptoms, they do nothing to solve the actual cause of a problem if the issue goes beyond fatigued and overworked muscles.
Stretching may worsen your pain if the source of the problem is due to misaligned bones of the spine that are pinching a nerve. Professional treatment by a chiropractor is recommended if you find your lower back pain persists more than a couple of days, or if you find the pain recurring after hours at work, after a night’s sleep or after exercise.
Many people believe lower back pain is a normal part of life–either of sleeping incorrectly, moving wrong, lifting incorrectly or just old age. This isn’t true. Relief from lower back pain is possible. Temporary relief comes from these at-home exercises and, often, permanent relief comes when the vertebrae in the spine are restored to correct alignment. Once the source of the problem is healed, a pain-free life is possible.