How to Relieve Lower Back Pain (Without Surgery): The Ultimate Guide for Fast Relief
Lower back pain can drain the life force out of you and affect your work, relationships, and even your mental health.
If you need to know how to relieve lower back pain fast, you’re in the right place.
Whether you felt a sudden pang while picking up your kid or are wondering how to care for a slipped disc, this article has a back pain relief solution for you.
In this Ultimate Guide, I will teach you how to cure lower back pain fast at home and share tips to prevent it from coming back.
I will also reveal:
The back pain relief products that really work
Natural remedies for lower back pain
Ten little-known back pain prevention hacks
And some of the most common causes of lower back pain.
Let’s get started.
How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Fast at Home — 3 Remedies for Instant Relief
The WHO estimates that between 60 and 70 percent of people in industrialized countries experience non-specific lower back pain during their lives.
That’s a lot of people in pain.
The good news, though, is that in 85 to 90 percent of cases, surgery can be avoided through treatments including physical therapy, lifestyle adaptations, and pain management.
Even those suffering from specific conditions, such as sciatica or a herniated disc, can find relief with the proper treatment.
Whether you’re dealing with non-specific lower back pain or a more serious condition, you need fast relief from lower back pain — and you need it yesterday.
Follow the three steps below to find instant relief.
#1: Cold and Heat Therapy
If a sudden movement or accident is the cause of your lower back pain, the first thing you need to do is get ice on it as quickly as possible.
Grab a packet of frozen peas — or an ice pack if you’re fancy — and apply it to the affected area for 20 minutes three times per day for the first 48 hours following the injury.
Cold therapy helps limit inflammation, therefore reducing pain.
Alternate your ice pack with heat treatment — you can use a hot water bottle, microwaveable heat pack, or heating pad if you have one.
Heat helps the muscles relax and encourages blood flow, which helps to reduce pain and speed up the healing process.
#2: Keep Moving
A common misconception with lower back pain is that you should limit your movements to prevent further injury.
But if you immobilize your muscles, they will become stiff from lack of use.
If you are in so much pain you can’t move, it’s essential to listen to your body and rest for a couple of days.
But, as soon as you feel ready, it’s essential to reincorporate some gentle movement.
This will keep the muscles from seizing up and help them to heal by encouraging blood flow.
Start by taking short walks and incorporating some gentle stretches, such as those listed below, into your daily routine.
#3: Lower Back Pain Stretches for Instant Relief
These three yoga-inspired lower back exercises can help you find relief from lower back pain.
As you move through these stretches, please make sure you listen to your body and don’t force it to do anything that causes more pain.
If a particular pose doesn’t feel right to you, skip it — we’re looking for relief here, not more pain.
This pose is great for relieving lower back pain as it creates space between the vertebrae, releasing tension and compression in the spine, hips, and lower back.
To come into it, start on all fours with your hips stacked over your knees and shoulders directly above your wrists.
Lengthen through your whole spine as you inhale through your nose, and as you exhale, lower your hips toward your heels (don’t worry if they don’t touch).
You can keep your arms extended in front of you or gently place your hands beside your feet. Choose the option that’s most comfortable for you.
Breathe deeply and hold for at least three to five breaths, or as long as you want.
Come back onto your hands and knees with shoulders over wrists and knees over hips.
Find a neutral alignment of the spine by lengthening through your neck and gently tucking your tailbone.
Engage your core muscles to avoid collapsing through the lumbar spine.
From here, start to drop your belly as you inhale, lifting your head and tailbone at the same time. Avoid collapsing through the shoulders.
As you exhale, start to tuck your chin toward your chest and draw your tailbone in, pushing your shoulders up and arching your back like an angry cat.
Repeat three to five times or as many as you need.
This stretch helps to keep the spinal column flexible and relieve muscle tension.
Follow along with this video to perfect your cat-cow stretch:
This pose alleviates tension in the glute and hip muscles that can cause lower back pain when tight.
If it’s accessible for you, lie on your back on the floor, then bend your left knee and place your left foot flat on the floor.
As you inhale, bend your right knee and cross your right ankle over your left knee.
If this is enough for you, stay here. If you need a deeper stretch, with your next inhale, bring your left knee in toward your chest and hold onto the back of the thigh.
Hold for as long as you need, breathing deeply, then release and repeat on the other side.
5 Lower Back Pain Products That Actually Work (and Won’t Make Your Bank Account Cry)
If you suffer from lower back pain regularly, it may be worth investing in some products that can help with day-to-day pain management.
The good news is there are some highly effective back pain treatment products out there that are also relatively inexpensive.
Here are five of the best.
#1: Muscle Relief Cream
There are many topical muscle relief creams on the market. Some have a heating effect, such as Deep Heat or Tiger Balm.
My personal favorite is Fisiocrem, which I find highly effective for relieving muscle soreness and helping to release tension.
#2: Hot-Cold Packs
Since cold and heat treatment is one of the most effective ways to deal with lower back pain, it can be worth buying a reusable hot-cold pack or two.
You can keep one in the freezer ready for emergencies and keep the other on hand to heat in the microwave when you need it.
#3: Acupressure Mat
Similar to a yoga mat but covered in tiny plastic spikes, an acupressure mat is designed to target acupressure points in the back.
Despite looking like a medieval torture device, many users swear by their pain-relieving properties.
#4: Back Brace
If you’re recovering from a lower back injury, you might want to consider a back brace.
This gives support to the core muscles and stabilizes your back to help the affected area heal and prevent re-injury.
#5: Foam Roller
A foam roller is a hollow tube covered in raised bumps that allows you to perform a self-massage, targeting your pain trigger points.
How to Relieve Back Pain While Sleeping (and Finally Get Some Sleep)
If you suffer from lower back pain while sleeping, it’s best to avoid sleeping on your back.
Instead, try sleeping on your side, in the fetal position, with a pillow between your knees.
This will help to keep your spine in good alignment and reduce pressure and pain.
If you must sleep on your back, try placing a pillow under your knees for low back pain relief.
Practicing good sleep hygiene before you go to bed can also help relieve lower back pain while sleeping.
Try giving yourself a massage with a pain relief cream and listening to a guided meditation to help your mind and muscles relax before bed.
How to Relieve Herniated Disc Pain in Lower Back When You’ve Tried Everything
The pain of a herniated disc in your lower back can be excruciating.
I have a friend who is 80 percent disabled because of the herniated discs in her lumbar spine, and she swears by these two methods for easing the pain.
The first method is to spend 10 to 15 minutes a day lying face-down with one or two pillows under your hips to elevate them.
This will create space between the vertebrae in your lower back and help alleviate the pain.
The second method is to regularly apply the cold and heat therapy mentioned above to reduce inflammation and help the muscles relax.
How to Relieve Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy
Lower back pain is common during pregnancy.
During the first trimester, it can be caused by hormonal changes and stress.
Later, when the baby grows bigger, it puts pressure on the lower back, often causing pain.
If you are experiencing low back pain during pregnancy, try:
Cold and heat therapy
Massage (look for a specialist in pregnancy massage)
And sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees.
However, there are some cases in which lower back pain during pregnancy can be a sign of a more serious problem.
Consult your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Fever and a dull ache
Sporadic or severe pain
3 Natural Remedies for Lower Back Pain and Inflammation (Yes, They Really Exist)
Perhaps you’re tired of popping painkillers and wondering if there are any natural ways to reduce your lower back pain.
If so, you’re in luck.
I’ve compiled three proven natural methods for reducing and managing lower back pain and reducing your dependency on painkillers.
#1: Anti-Inflammatory Foods (or: How I Cured My Back Pain)
For over a decade, I suffered from a mysterious chronic lower back pain that no doctor, chiropractor, or osteopath was able to diagnose.
I always thought I had a pretty healthy diet, but when I decided to give it a radical overhaul by eliminating sugar and refined carbs, my lower back pain all but disappeared.
And, unsurprisingly, it becomes worse again whenever I “cheat” on my new diet.
The food we eat can either support our health or work against it — and it even influences our levels of pain.
Reducing your consumption of inflammatory foods and increasing your intake of anti-inflammatory ones can help reduce inflammation, a major source of lower back pain.
Some anti-inflammatory foods include:
Blueberries, strawberries, cherries, and oranges
Leafy greens (such as spinach and kale)
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts
Inflammatory foods to avoid include:
Soda and sugary drinks
Foods that are highly processed and high in sugar, such as cookies or fries.
You might also want to consider reducing or avoiding gluten, even if you’re not allergic to it, as it can irritate the intestines, causing inflammation and pain in the lower back.
Make sure to consult your health professional before starting a new diet, especially if you have other health conditions or are pregnant or nursing.
#2: Improve Your Sleep Quality
Research shows that a lack of sleep causes greater pain sensitivity while getting adequate sleep reduces pain.
To improve your sleep quality, practice good sleep hygiene by avoiding screen time for at least two hours before you go to bed.
Incorporate relaxing practices that will help your body and mind relax into your evening routine, such as:
Gentle yoga or stretching
You might also want to try a natural sleep remedy, such as:
Tryptophan with Vitamin B6
Chronic stress wreaks havoc on your body and can interrupt your sleep cycle, causing increased sensitivity to pain.
It’s impossible to live a stress-free life, but you can manage your stress so that it doesn’t impact your health.
Activities such as Tai Chi, yoga, deep breathing, and meditation can help you switch off your fight-or-flight response and release endorphins — the “feel good” hormones.
This will help your muscles relax, as well as activating your body’s self-repair mechanisms.
10 Little-Known Lower Back Pain Prevention Hacks That Experts Recommend
You know that old saying — “prevention is better than the cure”?
Well, it applies to back pain too.
The good news for back pain sufferers is that a lot of your pain is preventable with a few simple lifestyle tweaks.
Here are 10 of the best back pain prevention hacks.
#1: Get Rid of That Lumpy Old Mattress
An old mattress can wreak havoc on your back.
If you regularly wake up feeling stiff or sore and your mattress is more than eight years old, it may be time to get a new one.
#2: Sensible Shoes Are the New Sexy
Any woman knows that high heels are killer for your lower back.
In fact, any shoe that fits poorly or changes the way you walk can cause your lower back muscles to work overtime, leading to pain.
Running shoes are a great option as they offer a lot of support and are designed to absorb shocks as you walk.
And if you love wearing sandals, try a pair of Birkenstocks, which mold to fit the shape of your feet.
#3: Sitting Is Overrated
Anyone who has ever worked at a desk knows that sitting for long periods can be excruciating if you suffer from lower back pain.
Sitting puts 30 percent more pressure on your spinal column than standing or walking and can increase your risk of sciatica, herniated disc, and non-specific back pain.
If you spend long periods sitting for work or studies, consider changing your work setup.
Raise your screen to eye level and invest in an ergonomic keyboard, mouse, and chair, or even a standing desk.
If possible, regularly switch between different activities to avoid repetitive muscle strain injuries.
#4: Don’t Be a Slouch
Your mama was right when she told you to stand up straight.
Good posture maintains the natural curves of your spine in the correct position, while slouching puts strain on the spine and back muscles.
When standing, hold your shoulders back, keep your head aligned with your spine, and pull your belly in.
When sitting, place a cushion or towel behind your lower back and keep your feet on the floor with your knees at a 90-degree angle.
#5: Get Moving
Physical movement or exercise helps to improve muscle strength.
If the muscles have become weak from leading a sedentary lifestyle, strengthening them can help relieve lower back pain.
This could be as gentle as a 20-minute walk or as energetic as a HIIT workout. Find what works for you so that you can stay motivated and make it a habit.
#6: Adjust Your Sleeping Position
Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees keeps your spine aligned and helps prevent lower back pain.
If possible, sleep on your right side, as this puts less pressure on your heart.
#7: Take a Cue from Your Cat
Have you ever noticed how often cats (and dogs, for that matter) get up and have a gentle stretch?
That’s because they know it’s good for them.
Stretching relieves not only muscle tension but also emotional stress, and it stretches out tight muscles that may be pulling on your lower back, such as your hamstrings.
A daily 10-minute stretching routine such as the one below can go a long way in preventing lower back pain.
#8: Focus on Your Core Strength
When you think of core muscles, you might picture rippling abs.
But your core actually includes all the stabilizing muscles in your torso, from your glutes to your shoulder blades.
Weak core muscles can put strain on your lower back, causing pain, while strengthening this entire girdle of muscle can help prevent it — poppin’ abs are just a bonus.
#9: Stub It Out
Nicotine causes the spinal discs to degenerate and reduces blood flow to the muscles and connective tissue, which can lead to increased pain — so if you’re a smoker, you might want to consider quitting.
#10: Prioritize Self-Care
The stresses of daily life can cause or aggravate low back pain, so it’s important to find time for self-care.
Make time each day for activities that help you relax, such as:
Massage — for both relaxation and pain relief
Journaling about your emotions
Gentle yoga or stretching
A relaxing bath or shower
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
Acute Lower Back Pain Causes
Acute, non-specific lower back pain usually goes away in six weeks or less. Its causes may include:
Compressive injury — a one-off from a repetitive strain with a trigger event, such as putting on your socks.
Mechanical issues — such as a sprain, strain, sciatica, sacroiliitis, torn ligaments, or general wear and tear caused by sitting for long periods, poor posture, or strenuous or high impact exercise.
Acute Lower Back Pain: Right Side
If you experience acute pain on the lower right side of your back, it may be an indication of appendicitis or a problem with the right kidney, which hangs slightly lower than the left one.
Acute Lower Back Pain: Left Side
If the pain is on the left side, it could be a sign of pancreatitis.
Chronic Lower Back Pain Causes
Lower back pain becomes chronic when it lasts for six weeks or more, at which point you should seek medical advice.
The following are a few of the conditions that can cause lower back pain to become chronic:
Ankylosing Spondylitis — inflammation of the spinal joints
Spinal Stenosis — an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal
Spondylolisthesis — when a bone slips out of position
Herniated Disc — when a part of the spinal disc slips out of its normal position
Spondylosis — a degenerative disorder that causes loss of spinal structure and function
Fibromyalgia — a condition that causes chronic pain in the muscles, joints, and tendons
Osteoarthritis — a degenerative condition of the joints caused by wear and tear
Abnormal curvature of the spine — this could be lordosis, kyphosis, or scoliosis
Cancer — only in rare cases
Lower Back Pain Causes: Female-Specific
Sometimes, lower back pain in women can be caused by specific gynecological issues.
One of the most common of these is period pain, but it can also be caused by conditions such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and fibroids (growths that develop within the uterus).
Lower back pain is common during pregnancy, but it can indicate an ectopic pregnancy in some rare cases.
Women who have given birth by Cesarean Section are also prone to lower back pain since the intervention cuts through the core muscles, leaving them weak.
This pain is preventable, but unfortunately, many Cesarean patients suffer from it due to the lack of postoperative rehabilitation they receive.
When Should I See My Doctor About Back Pain?
You should see your doctor if you are experiencing lower back pain as a result of or along with any of the following symptoms:
Recent serious trauma
Pain in your legs that becomes progressively worse
History of cancer or osteoporosis
Tingling or numbness in your legs or groin
Unexplained weight loss
Difficulty urinating or loss of bladder control
Discomfort when sitting or sleeping
What do Doctors Prescribe for Lower Back Pain?
Some of the treatments that your doctor may prescribe for lumbar pain include:
Lower Back Pain Is Not a Life Sentence
Living with lower back pain can be miserable, but the good news is it’s easier to relieve — and prevent — than you think.
Making a few lifestyle tweaks for back pain prevention and having some pain-relief tricks up your sleeve for when pain rears its ugly head can make a huge difference to your quality of life.
By applying the tips in this guide, you can create a virtuous circle: by decreasing your pain, your sleep will improve, promoting greater well-being and less low back pain.
I hope these tips on how to relieve lower back pain bring you the relief you’re looking for! Let me know how it goes.