Have you got pain in your lower back right now? You’re not alone. Millions of people suffering from chronic lower back pain, and while there is no one certain cure, you just need to find what works for you.
Here’s how you can relieve the aches straight away without medication or expensive appointments.
1. Release your endorphins
Endorphins can be just as effective as any manufactured pain medication you can buy over the counter. When endorphins are released in the body, they help block pain signals from registering with the brain, and can also help alleviate anxiety, stress and depression, which are all associated with chronic back pain.
Some ways to release your endorphins include laughing and smiling, eating dark chocolate, listening to music, socialising and having a nap.
2. Stretch your hamstrings twice a day
It might seem a bit strange but one of the easiest things you can do to help alleviate lower back pain is to gently stretch your hamstrings. Tight hamstrings place additional stress across the lower back.
3. Sleep properly
It’s not just about amount of sleep you get, it’s also about the position and mattress on your bed. If you wake up with a bad ache in your back, it could very well be time to get a new mattress. If you do have a supportive mattress, try these tips:
- Back sleepers should put pillows under their knees.
- Side sleepers should place pillows between their knees to keep their spine in a neutral position.
- Stomach sleeping causes the neck and head to twist and can put unnecessary stress on the back.
4. Back stretch
Stretching your back works all the core muscles and helps to beat inactivity, which is a major cause of back pain.
How to do it:
- Lie on your back with both legs bent at right angles on a chair or block
- You can just rest your hands on your stomach or lay your arms out at the side below shoulder level, palms facing up
- Breathe from your stomach. Let the lower back relax.
- Hold for 5-10 minutes
5. Leg stretch
Stretch your legs and you will feel it help out your back too.
How to do it:
- Lie on your back with one leg resting on a chair, knee bent at 90 degrees, while the other leg is extended straight out and resting on the floor
- Make sure both legs are aligned with the hips and shoulders
- The foot of the extended leg should be propped upright to preventing it from rolling to one side
- Hold 10 minutes then do it on the other side
6. Hot and cold therapy
Researchers have found that continuous (eight hours daily) application of low-level heat eased acute back pain better than ibuprofen and paracetamol, and this can be done with wearable heatpacks or pads. Another way to get some heat into the area is to take a hot bath.
Alternative with a cold compress to reduce pain and swelling every hour or so, though be careful as using ice for too long can cause stiffness. Use cold for pain in the first 24 to 48 hours after pain starts, and apply cold packs for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
7. Do the bridge
Another great exercise for mobilising the lower back is the bridge.
How to do it:
- Lie on your back with knees bent and your feet placed hip distance apart on the floor.
- Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out, lift your hips off the floor until shoulders, hips and knees are in a straight line.
- As you breathe in lower your hips to the floor.
- Repeat six times.
8. Breathe in deeply
It sounds easy but it’s often one of the main things we forget: to take a few deep breaths. Getting oxygen into your body so it can operate effectively is extremely important. Breathe in for a count of four and out for four.
Tell us, how do you relieve your back pain?