Have Lower-Back Pain? Our Guide to Treating Your Pain the Right Way

Do you suffer from back pain? You’re not alone, as 80 percent of all adults will have lower back pain at some point in their lifetime. Though a lot of people opt to stay in bed to stop the pain, studies show that lying down for longer than 48 hours won’t do you any good (and may in fact increase your pain!). If you’re looking for alternatives, we have a few ways to speed up your recovery.

Research shows that the sooner you return to low-impact activities like walking, the faster you’ll be on your path to recovery. Physical therapy is one remedy that can help, but it’s important that you check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Here are some tips for a physical therapy regimen:

  • Work with a professional. A physical therapist, yoga instructor or other fitness expert are all great people who can guide you through your activities to get back in the saddle.
  • Choose enjoyable exercises. Do you like yoga? Walking? Water aerobics? Try to include activities in your routine that you enjoy and that make your abdominal muscles strong.
  • Avoid certain exercises. Some movements can stress your lower back, so avoid them. These include sit-ups with straight legs, leg lifts while on your back and shoulder presses or bicep curls (while standing).
  • Join an exercise program for people like you. It may make things easier if you have people to go through the journey with you – and many other people have chronic back pain, too.

One thing you can do yourself to help the pain is apply heat or ice. You can also get relief with anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). Here are a few cases when you should see a doctor right away:

  • You have severe pain in your back lasting longer than 24 to 48 hours
  • You have back pain plus a fever
  • You have numbness, pain or weakness in a leg or foot along with your back pain

For more information on treating your lower back pain, please visit: http://www.choosingwisely.org/. For more blogs on back pain, check out these blogs:

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Photo credit: Jasmine Kaloudis

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Read 42 Comments

  1. My back pain is derived from picking up my wife and carrying her. She has MS. I can’t stop doing this so I am at a loss for making the pain stop. Suggestions?

  2. Can you rent a Hoyer lift instead of you carrying her? The lift can put her in a wheel chair and you can push her then instead of carrying her.

  3. I’ve been wanting to start working out more consistently, but I’m afraid of straining my back because the pain can be debilitating. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  4. I often have lower back pain and have wondered the best way to relieve that. I like your tips, especially the one about avoiding certain exercises that will stress my back. I didn’t know some exercises were bad for my back, so I’ll have to research the ones that will help and start doing those regularly!

  5. This is some great information, and I appreciate your suggestion to work with a professional when dealing with back pain. I started a desk job a couple of months ago, and I’m starting to have some problems with my back. I’ll definitely look into working with a professional to get that fixed so I can recover as quickly as possible. Thanks for the great post!

  6. I’m glad you talk about exercising as part of back pain recovery. Many people think you should restrict movement and lie down to recover, however that actually can be detrimental to recovery.

  7. My doctor advised PT coupled with wearing a posture band to relieve upper back pain which I think developed from constantly crouching forward. Do you think these posture corrector bands are any helpful? Is PT by itself is not enough?

  8. Thanks! So pleased you enjoyed the article. Sitting is definitely a huge problem and it is something I have addressed recently as well. Sitting for long periods and then hitting the mats is a particularly bad combination. I now have an adjustable desk that I can stand at and when I sit I use a wobble cushion. If you still have to sit a lot I recommend trying these out if possible.

  9. Lately, I’ve been experiencing some back pain, and it just isn’t going away. So, I’ve been looking for tips and exercises that can help reduce that pain along with a professional to give me more personalized advice. I’m gad that you mentioned to avoid certain exercises that can hurt my back more than help. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a bad exercise!

  10. My wife has struggled with back pain for quite some time now, and I want her to be able to feel some kind of relief from it. I know that she does like yoga and water aerobics. I should tell her to try those out. Making her abdominal muscles stronger really could help her in the long run. We’ll see if she’ll try it!

  11. When you are in pain, the first thing to do is get out of it. New back pain, rest, ice and get them checked, but if you’ve had the pain for a while, it is movement that is important. Chiropractor can get the joints moving again for you. Then it’s up to you to keep it moving with exercise. So much you can do, just stay out of pain. Moving without pain is the key. Great advice.

  12. thank you for posting this article as I found it valuable – do you know of the best equipment for relieving lower and mid back pain?

  13. I like that you mentioned that bicep curls while standing can cause stress to your lower back. I like to work out a lot, and I have been experiencing back pain. I think it’s a combination of gym habits and bad posture from sitting at a desk all day at work. Thanks for the information–I’ll be sure to change up the way I do things at the gym and at work.

  14. We have to agree the fact that after the normal cold and cough if there is any pain the humankind is suffering then it is definitely the backache. Thank you for the cool remedies you shared. Will try at least the walking to get rid of a backache.

  15. I appreciate how you suggest working with a professional to help manage back pain. I’ve had some back pain recently than I haven’t been able to get rid of on my own. At this point, I wouldn’t mind working with a specialist to see if I can speed up my recovery.

  16. My uncle is struggling with a lot of back pain and it prevents him from doing a lot of things that he loves to do, like playing with his grandchildren. I love your suggestion to find a physical therapist or other kind of fitness expert to help you work through the problem. I think my uncle would really benefit from seeing a professional so he can get back to playing with the kids.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Monica! We’re glad you found the content beneficial and hope your uncle gets the appropriate care to help with his back pain. Best, Taylar

  17. So for my job, we do a lot of lifting and ever since last week, I’ve been getting some back pain. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to where I think I should have it looked at. You are probably right that I should see about going to a professional as they would know best as what to do to fix the back pain.

  18. Thankyou for sharing such a nice article and your knowledge with us. This article was really helpful as my mother i suffering from a back pain and me too. This article gave us knowledge on how to treat our pain the right way.

  19. I agree with your mention of biceps curls while standing and how it can cause stress to your lower back. HOWEVER, i think it’s crucial to have proper posture as opposed to just generalizing that it’s the curls that are causing it. Also remember guys, please do not lift more than your limit!!

  20. Very useful tips to lower back pain. If a person regularly follow these tips he will definitely get better results. Thanks for sharing these tips…

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