Use Hot and Cold Therapy
The process of alternating between heat and cold can really help relieve back pain. Heat therapy helps by stopping the pain messages sent to the brain and stimulating blood flow through the affected area. Cold therapy helps by reducing inflammation and acting as a local anesthetic by slowing down nerve spasms.
To use this type of therapy, start with 20 minutes of heat, and then switch to 20 minutes of cold. You can use an ice pack, bag of ice, or bag of frozen vegetables for your cold therapy. For the heat therapy, you can use a heat wrap, heating pad, or take a hot bath.
Release Your Endorphins
Endorphins are a natural hormone your body releases to help with pain. They’re just as strong as many of the manufactured pain relievers, but they also help relieve depression, stress, and anxiety. One of the best ways to get your body to release endorphins is by exercising. Activities such as swimming, brisk walking, light jogging, and yoga are great for getting your endorphins flowing while also being easy on your back.
Get Good Sleep
Good sleep is essential for helping your body heal and repair. Unfortunately, if you’re suffering from back pain it can be hard to get the restorative sleep you need. Sleeping on your side is best for your back. To avoid waking up in pain, use a thick pillow under your neck to keep your head on the same level as your spine. A pillow between your knees can also help provide some extra support for your lower back.
Retrain Your Thinking
Pain specialists understand that pain is a complicated sensation. Chronic pain can provoke emotional reactions like fear, which can make your pain feel even worse. Techniques such as relaxation training, which involves deep breathing and concentration, or visualization therapy, which involves concentrating on a mental image of a pleasant event or scene can help release tension from your muscles and relieve pain. Developing these skills can help your brain reduce or even completely ignore pain signals from your back.
Stretch Your Hamstrings
Perhaps one of the easiest techniques you can use to alleviate some back pain is gently stretching your hamstrings two times a day. Tight hamstrings can put more stress on your lower back and your sacroiliac joint. In turn, this can lead to even more pain. To remind yourself to do these exercises, you can associate your stretches with another activity, such as brushing your teeth.
Often, there is no single cure for back pain. Instead, you have to find what works for you. If you’re still suffering from pain, consider trying one of these commonly overlooked treatments.