Does your lower back ache from hunching over your keyboard, putting in another long day at the (home) office? Or maybe you tweaked something on your weekend long run and now all you want to do is lay on the couch with a heating pad. Perhaps your lower back pain is chronic; the result of an old injury or a condition like degenerative disc disease. No matter the cause, lower back pain is, at best, uncomfortable. At worst, it can be debilitating.
While severe lower back pain requires medical attention, the aches and discomfort you may feel from routine issues like poor posture, sitting at your desk for hours on end or going a bit too hard during your last workout can likely be alleviated with home remedies for lower back pain. Here, we share six simple ways to relieve lower back pain, from choosing the right home office chair and getting better sleep to strengthening your core.
Rethink Your Home Office for Relief for Lower Back Pain
Slouching over a laptop on the couch or in your makeshift home office day after day may be wreaking havoc on your lower back (and your neck and wrists, to name just a few areas of concern). For many, the shift to working from home sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic has become a permanent situation, and the need to invest in a high-quality home office setup that works for you and your body – especially your back – is critical.
One change to consider to find relief for lower back pain is your home office chair. Dr. Cassidy Boelk, DC, a San Diego-based chiropractor, shared via Instagram (find him at @doctorboelk) the two qualities a proper work-from-home chair should have to support your back:
“1. Supportive, we do not want the chair to be too firm or too soft.
2. The chair needs to be comfortable. As soon as you sit down, it should be comfortable. It isn’t something that will get ‘worked in’.”
The most important detail, he added, is to be sure your knees are not above your hips when you’re in a seated position. You want your legs to be parallel to the ground to avoid compressing or putting too much pressure on the lower back.
Head to our blog on home office ergonomics tips to learn more about setting up your work-from-home space for success – it could be one of the best ways to relieve lower back pain.
Lower Back Pain Remedy: Strengthen Your Core
Giving your core a good workout regularly is one of the simplest and best ways to relieve lower back pain. Why? Your back and ab muscles play an important role in supporting your spine; the stronger your core is, the less pressure there is on the lower back’s spinal discs and joints. Exercise can also improve mobility, ease stiffness, increase circulation and unleash endorphins that may naturally relieve lower back pain.
Make an effort to include core work in your fitness routine. Simple moves like planks, bridges, leg raises and even sitting on a medicine ball can all engage and strengthen your core.
Loosen Up to Prevent Lower Back Pain
Stop stiffness from evolving into lower back pain with some gentle stretching and movement. The team at Perfect Stride Physical Therapy in New York City shared some moves you can perform to find relief, via @perfectstridept on Instagram, including:
- “90/90 hip rotations: focus on trying not to lean forwards or backwards initially, but working into relative hip internal and external rotation.
- Lumbar segmental flexion: perform a slow bridge with your legs on a wall. Focus on lifting one segment at a time.”
Check out the Instagram post to see video tutorials of these moves and other ways to find relief for lower back pain.
Additionally, you can try to gently stretch muscles like the glutes, quads and hamstrings or use a foam roller to relieve tension in the back.
Fight Lower Back Pain with Better Sleep
Like so much else in life, getting a good night’s sleep may just be the top home treatment for lower back pain. Sleep helps to heal a sore, strained or injured lower back. But, you must make sure the way you sleep isn’t interfering with its restorative powers.
For example, if your mattress is saggy, it’s time to look for something firm to better support your back. You can also use back or lumbar support to get better sleep. Incorporating something as simple as a rolled sheet or towel tied around your waist is an easy lower back pain home remedy. Be mindful of your sleeping position as well. Sleep in a way that maintains the natural curve of your spine – avoid sleeping on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest.
Spice Up Your Diet to Ease Lower Back Pain
One of the easiest – and tastiest – natural home remedies for lower back pain is to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Eating more foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and certain spices can help ease the inflammation that causes pain. Instead of reaching for a snack that may actually cause inflammation – like a donut or a bunch of beef jerky – try a handful of almonds or a yogurt and fruit parfait. Read our roundup of our favorite healthy and natural anti-inflammatory foods and recipes for inspiration.
Keep a Home Treatment for Lower Back Pain at the Ready
Another simple home treatment for lower back pain is applying hot packs or ice for instant relief. Heat therapy – which can include using a hot pack or heating pad, taking a warm bath or shower, or soaking in a hot tub – can improve blood flow and promote relaxation to help you find relief. Cold therapy helps reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. When using a heating pad or ice pack, remember to apply for just 15-20 minutes at a time with two hours of rest in between to avoid damaging your skin.
Finally, one of the best ways to find relief for lower back pain is using an electrical stimulation device like BioWaveGO. This handheld device is designed to deliver therapeutic electrical signals through skin directly to pain nerves, blocking the transmission of pain signals locally before they travel to the brain. Learn more about the innovative pain-blocking technology behind BioWaveGO.