How to Relieve Back Pain 

image001 Back pain is perhaps the most common complaint that may interfere with day to day activities of a person. Research data suggest that almost 80% of all individuals in US report at least one (or more) troubling episodes of backache that required pharmacological intervention. Back pain may be associated with other symptoms like numbness or paresthesia, aching pain involving muscles, limited range of motion and inability to walk or perform daily activities. So, how to relieve back pain? From mild to severe, back pain can be relieved by home remedies and medical interventions.

Causes of Back Pain

In order to manage or treat back pain, it is very important to know the cause of back pain. Most cases of back pain have a multi-factorial origin (more than one factor is responsible for symptoms). Most popular ones are listed below.



Mechanical Problems

Age related degenerative changes and thickening of ligaments can pose mechanical problem that makes any physical activity difficult across spine.


Physical injuries are a leading cause of backache that is reported more frequently in physically active young athletes. Most common injuries are fractures, sprains, ligament tearing and deep tissue damage.

Medical Conditions

Changes in the normal curvature of spine that includes scoliosis or spondylolisthesis and other structural abnormalities of spine. Disorders of joints like arthritis and inflammatory conditions. Common medical condition that may lead to back pain includes fibromyalgia, kidney stones and endometriosis.

Tumors and Infections

Bone tumors are a leading cause of morbidity that affects the architecture of bone in a number of ways.

How to Relieve Back Pain

Back pain may be intense or moderate; however, every case does not require medical intervention or specialist opinion. Moreover, even in moderately severe cases, you can try home remedies first until medical help is available.

1. Relax the Back

Support your back on an even surface that allows your tissues to relax and reduce the spread of inflammatory response. You can also use pillows or cushions to support your body and spine. Immobilization helps in all inflammatory, infectious, vascular and organic causes of backache. Make sure to avoid strenuous physical activity until your tissues have fully recovered from the traumatic insult. Gentle massage is soothing and promotes natural healing by flushing out toxins and chemicals from the blood; while at the same time increasing the drainage of blood and lymph from the inflamed tissues.

This video introduces the essential massage for lower back pain:

2. Apply Ice to the Strained Area

Application of cold compresses or ice is soothing and helpful in a number of ways. Ice therapy reduces redness and inflammation- mediated tissue damage that decreases edema and relieves pain. Take a hot/ warm towel and place ice cubes or crushed ice in it. Now apply the towel with ice on the affected region (never apply ice directly on the damaged tissue). Although, most people believe that heat therapy or warm compresses are a better or preferred option in acute injury, which is not true. Warmth increases the blood supply to affected tissue thereby further causing edema and much slower healing.

3. Combine Heat with Stretching

Heat therapy with stretching is generally a great combination to alleviate chronic no- inflammatory pain (like degenerative spinal disorders). Stretching in the form of exercises or inverted hanging causes traction in the spine that alleviates pressure from the spinal nerves and relieves pain. It also enable spine to heal itself as a result of enhanced blood circulation. Combining heat with stretching ensure early healing and a wider range of movements.

4. Avoid Harmful Activities

Human body has a remarkable capacity to heal tissue damage and injuries. The healing processes are started soon after injury itself and if you avoid harmful activities (any activity that poses more stress onto already damaged fibers), the healing will continue at a very rapid pace. Abnormal or unhealthy posture poses excessive stress and strain on already damaged and distorted tissues. Changing your balance and adopting a more comfortable position helps tremendously in many cases.

5. Do Light Exercises

Exercises are helpful in promoting movement and improving range of motion by decreasing edematous swelling. Besides traditional gym and high- muscle endurance exercises, you can also perform yoga and meditation, aerobics and swimming that are fairly helpful in alleviating pain and promoting muscle activity across tense joints and tissues without causing much pain and discomfort.

Here is a video to show you some simple exercises to relieve back pain and stress:

6. Try OTC Methods

Over the counter pain- killers are generally effective in relieving mild to moderate backache. Make sure to avoid high doses for prolonged periods of time. Acupuncture is perhaps one of the ancient methods of management of chronic pain that involves spine or vertebral joints. Acupuncturists introduce needles at certain specified points on the body to promote the flow of energy and promote holistic healing. Besides, acupuncture is fairly soothing for pain and discomfort too.

7. Medical Treatments

Medications including narcotics for severe pain are the traditional pain remedies. Physical therapy is helpful in improving movements across the inflamed joint. Inflammation mediated swelling blocks the blood circulation and delivery of nutrients.Steroid injections are helpful in inducing early remission and instant relief. These injections not only make the movement across spine easy but also enhance healing and recovery speed.There are some cases that respond only to surgery (includes bone tumors, complicated fractures and vertebral bone abscesses) Moreover, in some cases, surgical reduction helps in improving the pace of recovery and healing. Speak to your healthcare provider to know more about the available options.

When to See a Doctor

Sometimes, home remedies and over the counter pills are ineffective at relieving backache and in all such situations, it is absolutely hazardous to sit back and wait for injuries to heal by itself, make sure to see a healthcare provider at your earliest convenience if the injury is of severe nature or getting worse despite rest and home remedies. Look for following danger signs:

  • If you are experiencing moderate to severe pain with swelling that is refractory to over the counter pills.
  • Pain, numbness or loss of function in the genital or pelvic region
  • Swelling in any part of the body especially back
  • Weight loss that is not associated with any diet modification or exercise