As people enter middle age, they are more likely to experience bouts of low back pain. In fact, according to the Harvard Special Health Report Men’s Health: Fifty and Forward, back pain affects about four in five Americans at some point in their lives and equally strikes men and women. Age is often the culprit. Over time, the bones and joints in your lower back begin to change. Your discs (the structures that serve as cushions between the bones in the spine) tend to wear out and sometimes become fragmented. These structural alterations sometimes cause pain.
Another cause of low back pain, although it occurs less often, is a herniated disc. Sometimes, a disc pushes outside the space between the bones and compresses a nerve at the point where it branches off the spinal cord. When the sciatic nerve that leads into the buttocks and leg is affected, the pain is called sciatica. Yet, most cases of low back pain stem from strain or sprain due to simple overuse, unaccustomed activity, excessive lifting, or an accident. In most cases the best move is to wait and see if the pain resolves on its own. If the pain does not improve after three to four days, then it’s time to see a doctor.
Home remedies for Lower back pain
Cold and heat therapies. It’s best to use cold compresses or an ice pack, not heat, immediately following a back injury, since this can alleviate pain by numbing the area and prevent or reduce swelling. About 48 hours after the onset of back pain, though, applying heating pads or a hot-water bottle to your back may be helpful. The warmth soothes and relaxes aching muscles and increases blood flow, which helps the healing process. Keep in mind that heat therapy is only helpful for the first week.
Limited best rest. Once the mainstay of treatment for back pain, bed rest has fallen out of favor. Doctors now know it’s better to keep moving, so that your muscles don’t become stiff. Bed rest can still be useful relief from low back pain, particularly if your pain is so severe that it hurts to sit or stand. But try to limit it to a few hours at a time and for no more than one or two days.
Exercise. While physical activity may seem counter intuitive when you’re already experiencing pain, the reality is that regular exercise provides a long list of benefits, including strengthening the muscles around the affected area, and easing stress on bones and joints. In addition, it reduces stiffness due to increased flexibility of the muscles and soft tissue surrounding the spine. Stretching exercises can also help ease lower back pain.
Wear Supportive Shoes. While wearing high heels and flip-flops is popular, wearing these types of shoes on a regular basis will have a cumulative effect on the spine. The high heels throw your spine out of alignment, while flip flops offer zero support. In addition, some people naturally overpronate. Supportive footwear is a good way to provide better alignment and support for your spine, especially if you do a lot of walking or standing for long periods of time at work.
Physical activity. Exercise helps build strong, flexible muscles that will be less prone to injury. It can also help the healing process for an aching back, prevent problems in the future, and improve function. Work with your doctor to develop an exercise program, or seek a referral to another health professional who can. A good program typically includes the three major forms of exercise: aerobic activity, strength training, and flexibility exercises.
Engage your brain. Pain specialists have long understood that pain is more complicated than just a sensation. The way your brain interprets and processes pain signals plays an important role in how you perceive your pain.
The good news is that you can develop skills for your brain to reduce or ignore some pain signals.
Mindful pain management. Practicing mindfulness and meditation, which typically involves slow, controlled breathing and focusing the mind, may help reduce the pain sensation. It can also help with relaxation. To get started with mindfulness and relaxation techniques, many free videos are available online.
Turmeric. The main component of turmeric is curcumin which is known to exhibit significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, both of which can help in reducing muscle pain. (4)
Incorporate turmeric in your regular cooking as it is a versatile spice that can enhance the flavor of many dishes.
Drink turmeric milk, a popular healing tonic that can help alleviate various pain and repair worn-out muscles.
Regularly consume turmeric tea to help ease back pain.
Take turmeric supplements but only after consulting your doctor.
Cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy may help you to think about your pain differently or learn new strategies for managing it.
Use essential oils. Essential oils are therapeutic potions that can help relieve lower back pain, usually by curbing the underlying inflammation or inhibiting the perception of pain by manipulating the neural pathways. These oils help soothe the body and uplift your mood, making you feel less pain.
Peppermint oil, lavender oil and copaiba oil have been found especially helpful in this regard.-
Mix a few drops of your preferred essential oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oil, and then apply it all over the painful area.
Use essential oils for aromatherapy. Add a few drops of diluted essential oils into a diffuser and breathe in the soothing vapors for pain relief.
Stretch your hamstrings twice daily. One often overlooked contributor to lower back pain is tight hamstrings. If your hamstring muscles—located in the back of your thighs—are too tight hamstrings your lower back andsacroiliac joints will be stressed, leading to more pain. Hamstring stretching should be done carefully and at least twice per day for 15-30 seconds each time.
Massage. Massage therapy could provide short-term relief from acute, subacute, and chronic back pain. (10) Frequent massages may be costly, but getting a massage once a month can be effective and affordable as well. It is important to select the massage best suited to your problem.