Perhaps you were lifting something heavy and bent your body the wrong way.
Or you might be suffering from a degenerative condition like arthritis.
Whatever the case may be, having low back pain can be very uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, low back pain is very common.
In fact, statistics show that 1 in 4 individuals have had a recent bout with low back pain.
And that’s in the United States alone.
While low back pains are often harmless, there are instances when visiting orthopaedic specialists will be required.
For instance, when symptoms like weakness, numbness, or tingling in the legs manifests, it can be an indicator of something serious and seeking immediate medical attention is recommended.
However, for mild and routine low back pain, the following simple remedies would often suffice:
If the pain is caused by a mild injury, using ice the first 24 to 48 hours is recommended to help reduce the inflammation.
While using heat therapy to help relax the muscles might seem like a good idea, it can be counterproductive as heat can further trigger the inflammatory process.
That being said, it would be a good idea to use ice first and then switch to heat therapy after 48 hours or once the inflammation has been minimized.
Whichever method you use, make sure to take it off after 20 minutes to give your skin time to rest.
If the pain lingers, visit your orthopaedic specialist to play safe.
Be on the move.
If your low back pain is mild, it would be a good idea to keep moving.
Go to work, make the bed, walk the dog.
Once you feel a lot better, it would be a good idea to do aerobic exercises—bicycling, walking, swimming—to help keep you and your back more mobile.
However, make sure you do not overdo it.
Case in point: you don’t necessarily have to run a marathon if your back is still sore.
Keep your back strong.
Once the pain has receded, ensure you help avert future episodes of low back pain by keeping the muscles that support your lower back strong.
When working the muscles of your back, make sure you include the back extensor muscles as they can help you maintain your proper posture and they can help ensure proper alignment of the spine.
To add more back support, keeping the pelvic, hip, and abdominal muscles strong is also recommended.
However, it would be best to avoid doing abdominal crunches as they can put more stress and strain on the back.
When in the office, don’t stay slumped in your chair the entire time.
Make it a point to get up at least every 20 minutes or so and stretch.
When hard at work, there is a tendency for people to spend long periods bending forward.
However, standing up and stretching can do wonders for your body and for your back.
When you can, consider doing exercise disciplines that allow you to stretch and strengthen your back at the same time like yoga and Pilates.
Be mindful of your posture.
While many may not be aware of it, slumping can make it challenging for your back to support your weight so make sure you are mindful of your posture at all times.
Also, be extra cautious when lifting heavy objects.
Rather than bending over from the waist, bend and straighten from the knees.
In addition, design your workspace in a way where you do not need to hunch forward just to see your computer monitor.
Furthermore, opt for a desk chair that can comfortably support your lower back while allowing your feet to be firmly planted on the floor.