Ways to Immediately Relieve Back Pain

By Sarah Jones 1 year ago

1. Change shoes

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If you’re currently struggling with back pain, it might be time to assess your shoe collection. High heels, unstable shoes, or shoes that don’t fit you properly can all contribute to back pain, so be sure to ditch anything that’s going to cause problems for your posture. It can be helpful to invest in some comfy day-to-day shoes and leave the heels for a special occasion.

2. Arnica

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Reddit users swear by this one. Many are finding back pain relief from arnica gels, which can apply directly to the skin to ease muscle pain, as well as swelling, bruising and minor injuries. Health studies show that arnica gels are especially effective when combined with acupuncture, but more research needs to be done to know for sure.

3. Exercise

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We know it’s tough to get yourself moving when back pain strikes. But taking a short walk, going swimming, or taking part in other low-impact activities can help get your muscles moving as they should be. Exercising on the reg will ease tight muscles, and can potentially prevent those dreaded back pain episodes from flaring up as often.

4. Make some changes to your work station

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Did you know that your work station might be causing you back problems? The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that a healthy work station can minimize back pain, so make sure your screen is at eye level and that you can comfortably reach your keyboard. If you do any heavy lifting in your job, lift with your legs, NOT with your back!

5. Stretch

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For those days when your back pain gets really tough, try some simple stretches at home. You don’t need any fancy equipment – just some clear space. Practice touching your toes (or trying to get as close to them as possible) and holding for 30 seconds. You can also try out some cat-cow yoga poses, where you alternate between arching and dipping your back when on your hands and knees.

6. Use a cold press

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Ice packs are amazing at soothing muscle injuries, but you need to make sure you’re using them properly. Always apply a cold pack to your back first, as this will lower your body temperature and help constrict the blood vessels while reducing swelling and inflammation. This is great for pains like slipped discs.

7. Use heat packs

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Once you’ve used a cold press, you can then gently apply heat to your back with a handy over-the-counter heat pack. This can soothe an achy back and encourage blood flow, which enables healing. If you don’t have any heat packs, you can just use a hot water bottle instead – just take care not to burn or scald your back.

8. Book a massage

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If you have some cash for a professional back massage, get yourself booked in! Massage has been proven to reduce pain in the short term, and involves techniques like kneading, friction, and gliding, which are applied to the soft tissue of the back. Just be aware that back massage isn’t suitable for people who have deep-vein thrombosis, active tumors and non-healed fractures.

9. Use a CBD cream

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CBD is a hot topic these days, and it’s making its way into everything from creams to lotions. The ingredient cannabidiol (found in cannabis plants) has been found to ease pain, so it’s especially good at easing those tweaks and aches in your back. It’s even been found to ease symptoms of back in people recovering from spinal surgery!

10. Use anti-inflammatory medication

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If you’re struggling with your back pain and need some quick relief, you can take anti-inflammatory tablets like ibuprofen. This will take the edge off the pain and help you continue with your day-to-day activities. Bear in mind that pain killers like paracetamol aren’t generally recommended for back pain.

11. Don't' stay in bed for long periods of time

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It might be tempting to climb into bed and stay there, but this will NOT do your back pain any good. If anything, it might actually make it worse. Be sure to try and move around during the day- getting stuck in one position for a long period of time can make your back muscles tighten up pretty badly. You’ve been warned!

12. Quit smoking

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Health studies suggest that if you smoke, you might be four times more likely to have degenerative disk disease and other spine problems than non-smokers. The nicotine in cigarettes and tobacco products can end up weakening your spinal bones, and reduce the vital nutrients that you need to keep your discs cushioning your joints.

13. Stay at a healthy weight

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We know this is easier said than done, but maintaining a healthy weight really does wonders for your body- including your back. Weight loss will help with pain as it will reduce the strain on your back, so try reducing the amount of fatty and sugary foods you consume each day to see a difference. Crash diets are NOT a good idea though.

14. Get into yoga

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If you’re looking to increase your movement while improving posture, yoga is the route to go down. Slow stretches are great for easing pain, and will strengthen muscles over time. As if that wasn’t enough, your brain will also benefit too, as the positions will encourage deep breathing and relaxation.

15. Tai Chi

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This traditional Chinese exercise is great at alleviating those aches and pains – especially in your back! The slow, mindful movements combined with deep breathing techniques can ease tightness. It also strengthens the muscles in the abdomen and pelvic areas that help support the lower back, which improves balance and flexibility.

16. Avoid repetitive postures

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Many of us are already aware of the side effects of sitting awkwardly, but sometimes we do it without even noticing. Sitting in hunched positions every day (especially when we’re sat at computers and laptops) can cause a LOT of back pain, so make sure you’re sitting with your back against the chair with your feet flat on the ground.

17. Practice pilates

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Pilates is similar to yoga, but it focuses on six basic principles including flow and deep breathing, centering or tightening the torso muscles and concentration, as well as managing posture and precision. This helps strengthens your core muscles, including those in your back, which can ease joint pain.

18. Stop hunching your shoulders

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Hunched or rounded shoulders are a tell-tale sign of bad posture, which leaves us more susceptible to back pain. When we hunch our shoulders, it not only impacts our appearance and body language, but also causes chronic pain and stress in our upper back and neck. So if you catch yourself with hunched shoulders, try and consciously lower them as much as you can.

19. Stand correctly

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It might seem like an obvious point to make, but standing up correctly is pretty important. If you’re finding that you tend to unconsciously lean on one side or put pressure on one of your legs, your weight won’t be evenly distributed, putting more strain on your muscles. This doesn’t exactly help your posture either.

20. Try aerobics

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Whether you want to get stuck into the water or keep your feet on land, aerobics is a great way to get those muscles working! It can help improve back pain and endurance, as well as physical function and mental health. Aerobics classes are often classified as high, moderate or low intensity, so you’ll easily find a class or workout suited to your level.

21. Menthol cream

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There are tons of pain relief creams on the market for back pain, so let us point you in the right direction. If CBD creams aren’t really your thing, opt for a cream that contains menthol, as this gives a cooling effect that can dull high-intensity pain. Make sure you’re careful with how much you apply though – too much will make your body more sensitive to pain over time.

22. Pull your shoulders back

Rounded shoulder posture causing this? Extreme grinding and cracking with every movement, please help! : r/PostureTipsGuide
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Instead of slumping forward and tightening your abdominal muscles, it’s a really good idea to start pulling your shoulders back. If you’re struggling to maintain this, give yourself five to ten minutes each day to gently stretch your arms back, which will help strengthen your back muscles and reduce pain.

23. Improve your core stability

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While we’re on the subject of strengthening muscles, how about trying out some core stability exercises? These exercises are thought to improve the coordination and activation of your torso muscles, which may help reduce pain. It also decreases tension and muscle spasms, and improves torso stiffness.

24. Acupuncture

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Acupuncture definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for fast, effective relief from your back pain, it might be something worth considering. Therapists insert hair-thin sterilized needles into precise points in the body, which stimulate sensory nerves in the skin and muscles. This releases trapped tension and “blocked energy” from your body.

25. Spinal manipulation

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Before we go any further, make sure you don’t let anyone manipulate your spine unless they are a trained professional! If you visit a chiropractor, they will apply pressure directly to your body to correct spinal alignment. It can be a pretty painful experience, but it can definitely work wonders if you’re brave enough.

26. Get enough sleep

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We know we discussed staying in bed for long periods of time, but you still need your sleep! If your back pain is down to an injury, restorative sleep will be a crucial part of the healing process, so make sure you’re getting your full eight hours. Inadequate sleep can actually make back pain worse, as you’ll be holding tension in your muscles.

27. Try meditation

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According to health studies, the way your brain interprets and processes pain signals plays a pretty important role in how you perceive your pain. This is where meditation can be really helpful, as you can help your brain manage its pain signals more effectively. Meditation will also help you with some deep breathing techniques, which are really useful when that pesky pain strikes.

28. Find activities that make you happy

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Back pain can cause havoc in your life, but don’t despair. Finding activities in your life that make you happy can release endorphins, which are really helpful in combatting stress. And if you’re less stressed, you’ll be in less pain, as your muscles won’t be tense! Things like going for coffee with friends or walking your dog are good places to start.

29. Eat turmeric

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Turmeric is a superfood with tons of benefits. This distinctive yellow spice contains the compound curcumin, an antioxidant that helps protect your body from free radical molecules that can damage cells. It’s also been found to ease swelling and reduce inflammation, so it can be helpful to up your intake. Try it in a curry, or even add it to milk.

30. Mindfulness

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Similar to meditation, mindfulness can help distract your thoughts away from your back pain, and help you relax your muscles. Tight muscles can aggravate pain, so we want you as relaxed as possible! If you’re not sure where to start with mindfulness, there are plenty of handy videos on YouTube that you can do at home.

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