Lower back pain is highly common in a lot of people. The lower back is not that hard to damage. If you lift heavy objects, have a bad posture, sleep in a certain position or have some sort of injury, then you’ll likely have experienced back pain in one form of the other. It’s that sort of pain that bothers you the entire day and makes day-to-day life miserable.
The pain is bad enough but if undealt with, it can slowly develop into a chronic condition such as arthritis. Therefore, it’s essential to take care of your lower back. The back is the one area of our body that is responsible for so many things. If the back, especially the lower back gets damaged, then a person’s life can change forever. In order to get rid of back pain, strengthening is required. Here’s what to do to get rid of back pain:
Hot and Cold therapy
Ice and heat can come in really handy when dealing with lower back pain. Heat therapy warms up your muscles and makes them a bit more active than they normally are. It also stimulates blood flow to the muscle which is highly important in delivering the essential nutrients for recovery. The result is a soothing feeling which may feel too good to be true if you regularly experience back pain.
Similarly, ice therapy is responsible for relaxing tensed up or tight muscles in the back area. This also helps in relieving pain, it’s a good anti-inflammatory method. However, order matters. It’s recommended that you should use ice first, then heat. For the first 24 to 48 hours of the treatment, start with ice. There are easy ways to do this. One would be to buy an ice pack, the other would be to just place some ice cubes in a plastic bag. Wrap the bag/ice pack in a cloth and then apply it to your lower back for 10 minutes.
A word of caution: do not apply ice for more than 10 minutes. If you want to apply ice more than once then you need to give 10-minute breaks after each ice application. You can repeat this many times for the 24 to 48 hour period mentioned. Next comes heat.
Ice is recommended before heat because the latter can release more inflammatory compounds in your body if applied first. Therefore, heat is recommended one or two days after an injury or after the ice therapy. Applying heat is very simple, it depends on how you want to do it. However, wrap whatever you use such as a heating pad or heat pack in a cloth first to avoid injury to the skin.
Apply the heating pad/pack for a few minutes and then repeat in a similar manner to the ice pack. The heat really does help make the pain go away but you should avoid sleeping with a heating pad at all costs. You can severely damage your skin or suffer burns if the cloth you are wrapping it with comes off. Given the nature of sleep and how our bodies move during sleep, it’s possible for the cloth to come off so it’s best to avoid it.
Sleeping and walking posture
One of the main reasons why anyone would have lower back pain is due to poor posture. This is especially true for those who have poor sleep posture. During the day if we constantly move around with poor posture, we’re giving the lower back more load than it should handle. The problem gets worse when the lower back has to deal with a person sleeping in an awkward position for a long period of time.
That’s why you’ll often wake up to lower back pain. Poor sleeping posture can also lead to what is known as Anterior Pelvic Tilt where your back looks more caved in than normal. If you have back pain, the first thing you should check is how you sleep and how you walk. If you have rounded shoulders and sit for most of your day, then you need to work towards fixing that.
A few rotator cuff stability exercises a day and general awareness help. Bring the chest out and the shoulders back whenever you feel you may be rounding your shoulders. Wearing a school bag with some load in it helps tremendously. That’s because the weight forces your body to bring those shoulders back and down so you can’t bring them forward and round them.
As for sleep, try to avoid positions that are harmful to your back. The best position to sleep with lower back pain would be to lie down on your sides with the knees drawn up to your chest. It’s also known as the fetal position. Another way to help reduce lower back pain while sleeping is to place a pillow between your legs.
Moreover, try to avoid a very soft mattress. This might come as a big surprise but softer mattresses are actually harmful for the lower back. Therefore, a firmer mattress is recommended if you have a really soft one. 80% of your back pain issues will go away if you correct your sleeping position. 9/10 people sleep with poor posture, it’s the root of back pain.
Exercise your core
Another reason why the lower back ends up taking most of the load is due to a weak core. In order to reduce the stress a muscle faces, the surrounding muscles that are there for support should be strong enough to actually provide support. Therefore, one should work towards strengthening their core so that their back has proper support.
Even if you work out, a lot of people tend to ditch training abs over other muscle groups. Our core is not only important for a healthy lower back, but it also helps in the overall stability of the body. Therefore, a strong core is really important for healthy living. There are plenty of workouts that you can do with no equipment and at home.
Training the core doesn’t consume that much time either. All you need is a few minutes every day. If you’re a beginner, start with simple exercises. Even raising your legs a little bit when lying down will engage your core muscles. Do exercises like planks, squats, crunches to really work that core. Avoid planks or other core exercises if your lower back begins to get in the way.
Lower back pain will not go away overnight. It does not happen overnight either. It starts because of the poor lifestyle choices we make which accumulate over time and then come back to bite us. It takes time to rewire your mind and body to adapt to a new posture or adopt a new sleeping posture. However, being aware of this at all times helps and soon it becomes natural. Stay consistent and the pain will soon go away for good.