Home Remedies for Back Pain

1 Aug


Thank you so much for visiting my guide on home remedies for back pain. It means a lot to me to have you here.

I’ve had to deal with back problems my whole life and frankly I know how much it sucks to deal with back pain.

I’ve gotten to a point where 90% of the time things are manageable and don’t interfere with my day to day life. I think that’s a reasonable goal anyone with back pain can accomplish.

Beyond professional treatment (which I obviously recommend!) there are a number of tips and tricks you can apply in your daily life that can greatly help you. Below you’ll find my advice on these home remedies for back pain.

I also invite you too to share your advice and experiences in the comments at the end.

Apply Ice.

Along with using a heat pad, using ice packs are one of the easiest, quickest, and cheapest home remedies for back pain. Ice packs are cheap, easy to keep around, reusable, and effective. It’s thought that it works to relieve back pain by reducing inflammation. However it can be messy if you are literally using a bag of an ice and not an ice gel pack or cold pack. My chiropractic doctor gave me this one here years ago, a Comfort Gel Pack, and I still use it. Click here to see more ice packs and gels packs.

Be sure to always wrap the ice pack or gel pack in a towel and never apply it directly to your skin. You can actually really do some damage to your self if you put ice packs against your body directly!

You might find that you get better results if you alternative between using ice packs and heat pads, using each one for 2-3 days before switching to the other.

Apply Heat.

Heat pads are easy to use, inexpensive, and provide a comfortable, soothing solution to pain back. You’ve probably heard before to be careful not to fall asleep wearing a heat pad. It’s true. You can actually (surprisingly) burn yourself or just damage your skin if you fall asleep with an electric heat pad on and it was against your skin for far too long. But that’s easy enough to avoid, and heat pads are great for a relaxing, soothing remedy you can do at home. Heck, they even feel good even when your back doesn’t hurt!

Aside from electric heat pads, you can also buy microwavable heat pads or pillows that you heat up and then use. These are great – especially the scented ones!

To buy or see a list of popular heating pads for back pain, click here.

Stay Active.

Don’t take back pain lying down.
Unless your doctor tells you to, don’t make the mistake of thinking you need bed rest to make your back feel better. Lying in bed for days will either do nothing or make your problems worse.
Using care and common sense, you should stay active and stick to your normal routine as much as possible.

For me personally, I know that getting out and doing something as simple as walking when my back is stiff and sore typically works to alleviate some of that pain.

Enjoy a Massage.

Massage therapy is a wonderful, all natural treatment for back pain. Professional massage work is fantastic and I highly recommend it (who wouldn’t? :)), but you can also learn how to do some simple massage work at home and provide massages between you and your partner or a friend.

Another option is the use of massage toys or even a full fledged, mechanical massage chair if you’ve got the money for it. (Sometimes these chairs can worsen back pain but I discovered that specifically that the Osaki Massage Chair was one of the few, if not the only one, that really helped my back. The reason is that it properly supported my back instead of having me lean back too far in the chair.)

Update: A July 2011 confirms that massage therapy is definitely helpful for treating back pain. This is a big deal because it you read the study closely you can see that it was generally as effective as OTC pain medicines and for almost half the people in the study, massage therapy has really, really dramatic effects on greatly or entirely reducing their back pain. Read more about the study here.

Massage Photo by 05com.

Try a Firmer Mattress or Use a Firm Mattress Topper.

The idea of a luscious, super soft mattress sounds nice until reality hits for people with back problems: it’s terrible. When a mattress is really soft and sinks in deeply on your weight, you will find it doesn’t provide enough support for health back posture. This is why popular mattresses like Temperpedic, while maybe fantastic for many people, are not comfortable for people with back pain. A firmer mattress is a good idea if you can afford it and suspect some of your back pain might be related to your bed.

If a brand new mattress is too expensive, you can firm up your existing bed by adding a mattress topper, such as this 3 inch extra firm mattress topper from Sleep Better.

Don’t Sleep On Your Stomach.

Sleeping on your stomach can aggravate back pain symptoms. Ideally you will want to sleep on your back. If you feel the need to sleep on your side, try putting a small pillow in between your legs to balance out your hips. I also never sleep with a big pillow underneath my head. It’s weird but yes, this somehow messed up my alignment and causes pain – almost instantly. Honestly you probably already know what the best posture if for you to sleep, the trick is just following your own advice. It’s amazing how strong the urge can be to sleep in positions that are good for sleep but bad for the back!

Take OTC Pain Relief Medicine.

For some reason, many people with back pain – this author included – have a tendency to take aspirin for headaches but not for back pain. The only time I would take medicine for my back was if it was prescribed by a doctor, but the truth is that over the counter pain relief can absolutely help with back pain, too. I personally used ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), but
Tylenol and Aspirin are good too.

You should check your medicines with this drug interactions tool to be on the safe side and pregnanct women should of course only take what their doctor advises.

Taking over the counter pain relief medicine on a habitual, daily schedule is ideal for some people. However, you’ll want to discuss that with your doctor before doing so, especially if you drink alcohol since you should not be mixing acetaminophen and alcohol, nor with ibuprofen.

You Might Also Be Interested In

Here are some other blog posts and guides I’ve written that I think you might be interested in.

  • My Back Hurts – A look at some of the treatments and therapies I’ve used in my quest to stop back pain.
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy – An interesting treatment for back pain that can you do either at home or at the doctors office. I don’t think a lot of people know about it which is a shame.
  • Also see my reviews on related devices, such as the EMS Unit, TENS 3000, and TENS 7000.
  • NINDS Back Pain Fact Sheet – A thorough look at back pain provided by NIH.
  • 15 Herbs That Help You Sleep -Because back pain often results in sleep problems, you might be interested in my guide to herbal sleep aids.

Closing Thoughts

I want to mention up front that while many things above require buying something – like an heat pad or something to make your mattress firmer – one of the bests thing you can do for back pain is stretching and it’s entirely FREE. That being said, spending a couple dollars on an ice pack or heat pad is something I highly recommend, at the very least, as it is something you can keep on hand to provide instant pain relief and use again and again without having to spend any more money.

If you find this guide helpful, please click the Facebook Like button at the end of the post and share it with your friends. I also invite you to share what’s worked for you and any other home remedies you can advise to help those of us reading this guide.

I would specifically like to hear from women who can share home remedies for back pain during pregnancy and during periods. Are there things from this list that have helped and can you offer additional advise?


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