Back pain is the most common reason for people to miss work. When the lower back is in pain, it can ruin your entire day. Even washing your face can be painful as you need to lean forward over the sink. Unfortunately, back pain can affect people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly.
Here are 5 things you can do to help heal lower back pain fast:
- Get Moving. It can be difficult to think about moving when your lower back hurts, but movement can have several positive effects. Exercise like water aerobics and stretching can help decrease inflammation and improve blood flow. Exercise also helps release pain-relieving endorphins and can help loosen tense muscles. A consistent exercise program may also help prevent future episodes. Stretching and strengthening tight muscles can lead to better mobility.
- Go Hot and Cold. Alternating hot and cold packs can be an effective way to reduce pain according to many research studies. The heat helps bring blood flow to the area in pain, which makes it feel better. Then, putting on cold like a cryotherapy ball or ice pack, can restrict blood vessels pushing the blood through promoting healing and resulting in less pain. The combination of the hot and cold seems to be better than just using one temperature therapy method.
- Try Topical Creams. Pain-relief topical creams are another way to feel relief from low back pain. Studies show that creams with capsaicin, (like in many hot peppers), are helpful in treating pain from arthritis. Other topical creams with active ingredients including those with CBD, THC, menthol, and comfrey may also help. The idea of topicals relies on the counter-irritant, meaning they may block pain signals from reaching the brain. This may be why they seem to soothe sore muscles.
- Take a Bath. Like heating pads can help, a warm bath can help relieve lower back pain fast. Best results come from a 15-20 minute dip in the bath according to research and although Epsom salts are thought to be a helpful, many people have reactions to bath bombs. The heat of the water and flotation are what are most helpful to relieving pain. The body becomes unweighted and there is less pressure on the joints.
- Roll out the Muscles. Myofascial release or rolling out muscles with a massage stick can help alleviate lower back pain. Although rolling out the muscles on the back where the pain is most prominent may help, most relief will come from releasing the connecting muscles that pull on the spine. Try rolling out the tops of the thighs to release the hip flexors which attach to the lower back and can pull the curve of the spine into a constant arched position. This arching of the back puts more pressure on the discs between the vertebrae increasing tension and pain on the lower back. Another area to release is the sides of the thighs to release the IT band. This long band of tissue called the ilii-tibial band (IT Band) pulls the hips forward and causes more arch in the spine.
Keep in mind that poor diet, lack of sleep, and even stress can have an impact on the lower back causing pain and discomfort, so it is important to live an overall healthy life to help relieve and prevent lower back pain.
Andrea Metcalf is a celebrity fitness expert specializing in functional fitness including flexibility training. With over three decades of experience in the fitness world, a best-selling book, and more than 500 media appearances, she is a trusted fitness and wellness expert.