How to deal with lower back pain naturally
Achy lower back? It’s the condition that seems to unite us all once we pass a certain age. Lower back pain is one of the most common back ailments, and it’s not an issue that should be left to worsen. It’s also one of the most common reasons why people end up at the doctor’s when they should be in work.
Lower back pain can be mild to severe, short-lived or long-lasting. Although no one disputes just how debilitating and painful it can be, in the majority of cases there’s no need to go under the knife to find a cure. For most people, there is no specific or certain remedy for lower back pain. Often, it takes the process of trial and error to learn just which prevention or therapy works for you. Before you start popping any of those pain-relieving pills, or book an appointment with your doctor, try some of the natural remedies below.
- What causes lower back pain?
Lower back pain is rarely a sign of something serious and can be prevented by looking after your back and keeping it in good shape. There are many causes of lower back discomfort and most are due to postural problems like sitting at your desk all day, sleeping on a sagging mattress, or carrying a heavy bag (most likely full of unnecessary items!)
It can also be a result of an injury, such as muscle sprains or strains due to sudden movements, or poor body mechanics while lifting hefty objects. At other times, ageing can be to blame as changes to the spine occur over time. These age changes can be noticeable as early as your 30s, and can make you prone to back pain if you’re overdoing it. If you live a fairly sedentary lifestyle, it’s time to stretch those muscles and maintain a healthy weight. You don’t want to be living with lower back pain, so start living a life that reduces your chances as soon as possible.
- Get some exercise
Everybody has heard the doctor’s opinion that when it comes to health problems, sitting is the new smoking. Many of us are so glued to our seats in our professional lives that the only time we actually flex our legs and move our lower back muscles is when we take that trip to the water cooler or bathroom. The human back just simply isn’t designed to spend its day hunched over a computer screen. For any muscle to work effectively, it needs a certain amount of contraction and expansion. When we sit too much – and the chances are, that if you’re reading this, you’re somebody who spends too much of their day sitting - we place our bodies in a set position for an unnaturally long period of time.
Contrary to what some people say, spinal specialists are rarely of the opinion that exercise can increase your future risk of back pain injuries. Conversely, it’s likely that well-regulated exercise can prevent lower back pain.
For chronic couch potatoes, here’s the good news: you don’t have to engage in high-intensity interval training to help your back. Gentle stretches, walking, and periodically standing up at your desk can help stabilise your spine and prevent muscle imbalances. Doing a simple brisk walk two to three times a week can also do wonders! If you can find the time in your schedule, consider an activity like yoga or any other meditation technique to lower your stress levels. Stress and back pain often go hand in hand.
- Soothe the pain with ice and heat
If you’re reading this too late and you’re already suffering, try using hot and cold treatments to reduce the pain.
Cold therapy is great for reducing inflammation, which is almost always the culprit in any back discomfort. Localised cooling acts as a local anaesthetic that slows down nerve impulses, shuts down capillaries, and reduces blood flow, which should ease swelling and pain. Heat, on the other hand, loosens tight muscles and increases circulation. This brings healing nutrients to the affected area, and inhibits the pain messages being sent to the brain.
It’s recommended to use cold therapy for 20 minutes a session for the first 48 hours after the pain sets in, and switch to heat therapy after two days, in 20-minute intervals.
- Go for massage therapy
Any kind of pain is no fun, but there’s an upside to your struggle: it’s a legit excuse to get regular massages. According to a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine, chronic lower back pain sufferers who attended weekly massage appointments reported less pain after 10 weeks than those who didn't.
Treat yourself and your problematic back and head in to Northern Myotherapy for a remedial massage. All our treatments are based on our proven holistic approach, and are designed to provide you with substantial healing and pain relief.
Don’t prolong your agony. Schedule your appointment with us by calling on 03 9078 9953 and get back to living a pain-free life as soon as you can!