Low back pain can quickly derail a training plan and disrupt your regular routine. For most people, getting relief as fast as possible is a high priority. This type of injury can often be treated at home, but the key is to act fast when the symptoms begin. The longer you try to avoid treatment, the worse the inflammation may get.
Follow these home treatment tips for fast-acting low back pain relief:
This classic approach is still around for a reason: it works. The combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation is proven to help reduce pain and inflammation. Rest your body for a couple of days after low back pain starts, but don’t allow yourself to become too sedentary, as this can actually contribute to the problem. Staying active in moderation helps maintain range of motion and keeps the muscles that support your spine strong and flexible.
Ice can be applied with cold packs or a cryotherapy system. Many people make the mistake of applying heat to treat low back pain. While this approach may be helpful after the initial swelling has subsided, if you have any inflammation at all, the best method is cold therapy.
Turmeric is an herbal treatment that may help reduce the inflammation that contributes to low back pain. It is believed that curcumin, the active component in turmeric, helps block the inflammatory pathways that generate pain and swelling. Try adding turmeric to food when preparing it, making a turmeric drink with milk or tea, or taking a daily supplement. One of the benefits of this herbal supplement is that it provides an anti-inflammatory effect without the unwanted side effects of over-the-counter NSAIDs. Before starting any regimen with turmeric, consult your doctor.
Another way to help relieve low back pain without taking medication is to use an herbal compress. There are countless combinations of herbs you may use to help reduce pain and inflammation, but most of them are designed to increase circulation, reduce swelling, and relax tight, sore muscles. One example is the combination of ginger, turmeric, and camphor. Eucalyptus also has anti-inflammatory effects and may be used on its own or in a compress with other herbs.
Physical Therapy Stretches
While recovering from low back pain, it’s important to try not to overstretch your muscles. However, staying limber with safe stretches may help reduce some of the tightness that contributes to your discomfort. Try some of these gentle stretches to help relieve low back pain:
- Both knees to chest: While lying on the floor, bring both of your knees to your chest, one leg at a time. If you don’t feel enough of a stretch, lift your head off the floor and toward your knees.
- Single knee to chest: While lying on the floor with your knees bent, bring one knee to your chest to stretch the muscles in your hip and lower back. Repeat on the other side.
- Child’s pose: Starting on your hands and knees, gently lower your hips toward your heels while keeping your arms stretched forward over your head. Relax into the pose, and allow your low back muscles to release tension.
- Lower back twist: While lying on the floor with your knees bent, extend your arms to each side to create a T shape. Slowly lower both legs to one side, keeping your knees together. Hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
If low back pain gets worse or doesn’t go away, it’s a good idea to consult a physician for a diagnosis and additional treatment options.
For more tips on low back pain relief and recovery from other types of injuries, download Muscle Strain 101: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment. This free guide will help you learn how to identify a muscle strain, what to do when it happens, and how you can avoid it in the first place.