Back pain is a very common condition. About 80% percent of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lifetime. It is the greatest cause of work-related disability and one of the top reasons for workplace absences. Back pain can interrupt your day or interfere with your plans. In fact, there’s an 84 percent chance that you will develop low back pain in your lifetime. But back pain isn’t always something you can ignore or wait for it to resolve on its own. Thankfully, there are several ways to treat back pain at home. These remedies include everything from herbs to massages. Keep reading to see how you can ease your back pain.
Best Home Remedies for Back Pain
Vitamin D is vital for calcium absorption and building strong bones. A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to the softening of bone surfaces in the spine, weaker muscles in the back and inflammation in the vertebrae.
Research has shown that patients with low back pain have significantly lower blood levels of vitamin D than healthy controls.
A clinical trial published in Pain Physician assessed the impact of vitamin D supplementation on 68 patients with chronic lower back pain. All of the participants were deficient in vitamin D and had been experiencing back pain for at least 3 months. They filled out pain and disability questionnaires at intervals throughout the study.
Massage can help sore or tense muscle
Gently massaging a sore or tense muscle is one of the most effective ways to loosen it up and relieve pain. One study found that massage therapy along with traditional treatment:
- reduces back pain
- improves back function
- lessens use of anti-inflammatory medications
- minimizes days in bed
They also found no difference between relaxation massages and structural massages, although structural massages tend to be more expensive.
Consider asking your partner or a close friend for a massage, if cost is an issue. You can also ask them to use medicated ointment for extra pain relief.
Research has shown that when a person lies on their side on a hard mattress, only the hip and shoulder are supported and the spine flexes toward the mattress. On a soft mattress, the hip and shoulder sink down and the spine bends away from the mattress. A medium-firm mattress offers the best support for the lower back.
Back pain and stiffness progressively improved while sleeping on the new mattress and physical discomfort decreased. There was also a significant decrease in the number of ‘poor sleep days’ per week.
The medium-firm bedding systems reduced back pain by approximately 48% and improved sleep quality by 55%. Symptoms of stress also significantly decreased.
Stretches to improve your symptoms
Exercises are good for people who have low back pain. They can help restore muscles and protect you from future pain. Some exercises that are known to reduce symptoms are:
- walking on flat ground
- standing backbends
- Cobra pose
Stretching can also loosen up tense muscles and strengthen those that need some help. Anytime you begin stretching, you should approach each step gently. Stop any stretching exercise that causes pain as forcing a stretch damage or cause strains.
Fish oil, rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation associated with a range of health conditions.
A study published in Surgical Neurology investigated the use of fish oil for pain relief. Researchers followed 250 participants that had been evaluated by a neurosurgeon for neck or back pain. Most of the patients had been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease (DDD), and all of them were taking prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to control their pain.
Adjust how you sleep
Spending a few nights on the floor with a pillow underneath your feet can really help your back, even if it might be a little trickier to stay sound asleep. If you’re a side sleeper, putting a pillow between your knees can help your muscles relax more.
Sleeping on your stomach can be bad for your back. If this is the only way you can fall asleep, the Mayo Clinic recommends placing a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis to prevent back strain.