“I cannot sit for more than 2 hours at a stretch else my back starts hurting.”
“Every evening I come back home with a bad pain in my lower back that I’m unable to do any other tasks.”
“I have to pop a pain killer every other day for my back pain that just doesn't seem to go away.”
Sounds like your story or a sentiment shared by someone in your family and friend’s circle?
Almost everyone experiences lower back pain every now and then. Be it mild or severe, short-term or long-term, lower back pain can greatly affect the quality of life.
How to tackle Lower Back Pain at home?
Flexibility Stretches (Back extensions, Knee Rolls, Cat Stretch)- Stretches can help keep your lower back healthy. Stretching of the joints, muscles, and nerves is very important to ensure that there are no imbalances throughout the musculoskeletal system. The key to stretching is that if it hurts, stop doing it. Stretching should be gentle. Before getting out of bed in the morning do some stretching like reverse bicycling motion or slowly raising your hips while keeping knees bent. Discuss with your doctor/ physiotherapist prior to beginning any routine so that you do yourself more good and no harm.
Workspace Ergonomics – Ensure that you don't have to hunch forward to see your computer monitor or reach way out for your mouse. Your forearms should be approximately parallel with the floor when typing. When you’re sitting, your thighs should be at right angles to your body or sloping slightly down. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest comfortably on the floor and your knees are about level with your hips.
Watch your posture – Poor posture while sitting, standing, lying down or moving around can be a major cause for back pain. Your daily activities add up to the acute pain you eventually start feeling. So it is necessary to make a note of your posture for everyday tasks. Proper posture keeps all parts balanced and supported. Be especially careful of your posture when lifting heavy objects. Never bend over from the waist. Instead, bend and straighten from the knees. At regular intervals during the day, take a moment to make a mental note of posture and back support.
Opt for flat heels – Over time, wearing high heels can shorten the muscles in your calves and in your back, leading to pain and muscle spasms. High heels may create a more unstable posture, and increase pressure on your lower spine.
Soothe the pain with temperature – While in pain, heat and cold therapy can help reduce it but you must understand which is appropriate and when. Use cold for acute pain or a new swollen/inflamed injury. Use heat for chronic pain or an injury that is a day or more old.
For heat therapy, apply heat to the area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Moist heat always works better than dry heat. It stimulates blood flow and inhibits the pain messages being sent to the brain. Use cold therapy to reduce inflammation that usually occurs with back pain. Homemade ice and gel packs are the best picks for a simple and affordable way to relieve chronic back pain.
A couple of additional pointers to keep in mind if your back hurts terribly –
- Avoid sitting on soft, low couches.
- On long road trips, take regular breaks to walk around for a few minutes.
- Get good sufficient sleep every day.