Take control of your back pain by incorporating the following suggestions into your daily routine. Sometimes just knowing there are steps you can take to get relief will ease the anxiety and helplessness that sometimes comes with the pain.
Even with all the high tech medical options available, a simple ice or cold pack application can still be one of the more effective, proven methods to treat a sore back or neck. Ice is typically most effective if it is applied soon after an injury occurs, or after any activity that causes pain or stiffness.
Ice can also be very helpful in alleviating postoperative pain and discomfort. While any form of applying cold to the injured area - such as a bag of ice wrapped in a towel or a commercial ice pack - should be helpful, combining massage therapy with ice application is a nice alternative for pain relief.
While the overall qualities of warmth and heat have long been associated with comfort and relaxation, heat therapy goes a step further and can provide both pain relief and healing benefits for many types of lower back pain.
In addition, heat therapy—such as heating pads, heat wraps, hot baths, warm gel packs, etc.—is both inexpensive and easy to do. Some patients find more pain relief with heat (either moist heat or dry heat) and others with ice. You can also try alternating the 2 therapies.
Relaxing your mind, whether through meditation or prayer, has been shown to help heal and relax the body. Carve out some quiet time each day to quiet your mind and practice mental techniques that have been shown to help with pain relief.
If you have tight hamstring muscles (the large muscles in the back of your thighs), the motion in your pelvis may be limited, which can increase stress across your lower back. To decrease this stress it is a good idea to incorporate hamstring stretching exercises into your daily routine.
Hamstring stretching should typically include applying even pressure to lengthen the hamstring muscle for 30 to 45 seconds at a time, once or twice each day. There are a number of different ways to stretch your hamstrings, and if you have a back condition you may want to check with your doctor or physical therapist to discuss which position will work best for you.
Massage and water therapy
Massage therapy is a proven method for alleviating lower back pain, and can also improve sleep and lessen anxiety and depression (which sometimes accompany pain). Some insurance plans will cover massage therapy.
Another treatment option is water therapy. In addition to the physical therapy benefits, water therapy has the added benefits of relaxation and sensory alterations due to water temperature and hydrostatic pressure. It also reduces pressure on the joints of the spine and allows for further range of motion.