- More than half a billion people (540 million) are estimated to suffer from low back pain (LBP) worldwide.
- Between 1990 and 2017, LBP’s impact on the worldwide burden of disability has risen more than 50%.
- 3 million productive work years are lost to low back pain annually in the United States alone.
Despite these staggering figures, doctors often do not treat low back pain appropriately – using methods that do not follow current best practices within medicine. Commonly (and incorrectly), surgical operations, scans, and opioids or other pain medications are used for treatment. Plus, patients are advised to take a break from work and focus on rest.
Today’s medical best practices are actually the opposite. According to those, patient should initially stay active, keep working, and learn about LBP. Plus, a patient should visit their general practitioner, said The Lancet, rather than going to the emergency room. Of course, you can also go straight to the chiropractor for immediate and lasting relief.
While getting professional treatment is often important, you can also find relief through various at-home treatments. Here are five of the most effective ones:
Take a soak in magnesium sulfate, commonly known as Epsom salt. Following a workout or any other time you feel sore, you can get relief with a 20-minute soak. The time allows the salt to permeate your skin and enter your troubled muscles.
Temperature is a key ingredient of this tactic too. Particularly if you suffer from a heart issue, be careful not to let the water get over 104°F. Ideally, you want it to be 92 to 100°F, per the Arthritis Foundation. In other words, it should be warm but not hot.
Epsom salts are pain-relieving to the muscles, as well as exfoliating and softening to the skin.
You can use a tennis ball to deliver self-massage, relaxing the muscles in your back. Take the ball and move it from one side to the other in your lower and middle back.
If you like, combine this strategy with Epsom salts, bringing the ball into the bath with you.
Often people think you can heat your lower back in order to improve the condition – and it can seem this way since heat conceals pain and does, in fact, reduce muscular tension. However, heat contributes to additional inflammation and can, in turn, lead to further pain.
You can reduce the inflammation that accompanies your pain through ice. Ice for 20 minutes at a time as soon as you start to feel hurt. After the first 48 hours, it is OK to switch to heat.
Once you have mitigated the pain and the flare-up is over, it is time to start building. The stronger the back extensors and other muscles that support your lower back, the less likely you are to feel strain or pain.
You will get more support in the back by strengthening your abdominal, hip, and pelvic muscles. One exercise it is often wise to avoid if you already have back pain, which can be exacerbating, is crunches.
There is another core reason you need to keep those muscles strong, and it relates to chiropractic: it helps bolster and correct your spinal alignment and posture.
Posture & ergonomics
It is difficult for your back to hold up your weight when you slouch – so straighten up. An ergonomic setup can help with your posture and reduce stress on muscles as well.
Beyond at-home care: chiropractic
As indicated above, you can reduce your low back pain by improving your spinal alignment – the central focus of chiropractic care. In a chiropractic adjustment, a doctor of chiropractic (DC) applies a measured pressure to any joints that are stuck in an unhealthy position due to injury, pain, strain, and inflammation. This process can help you heal and relieve your soreness while alleviating your pain. It can also help improve the range-of-motion in your joints.
The evidence for the positive impact of chiropractic has been building for decades. A compelling study from 2008 looked broadly at the capacity of chiropractic in the treatment of sub-acute, acute, and chronic LBP. For the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics study, the researchers looked at a total of 64 clinical trials and 823 additional documents. The authors determined that it is both preventive and is “likely to speed and improve outcomes” to combine exercise with chiropractic.
Are you experiencing low back pain? Beyond the impact of various at-home treatments, you may also get long-term relief from chiropractic care. At ChiroFX, we provide a wide range of services for the relief of stress, pain, and discomfort. “Dr Minor, Alex, and Zelda are as good as it gets,” noted our patient E.M. in a 5-star Google review. Meet Dr. Minors.