Whether you tweaked your back on the job, shooting hoops with your kids, or carrying yet another load of laundry up the stairs, we can all agree that lower back pain is… well… a pain!
Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit healthcare providers, with around four out of five people experiencing lower back pain at some point in their lives.
While anyone can experience lower back pain, some people are more likely to have it than others. Risk factors for lower back pain include:
Back pain that’s sudden, severe, or just won’t go away should always be checked by your primary care provider, but sometimes you can treat nagging pain and discomfort on your own. Check out the tips below for managing your lower back pain!
Keep moving and maintain a healthy weight: Staying active helps keep muscles loose, and exercise helps build core strength. Yoga and pilates are great options for more gentle movement. If your back pain is too severe for even light movement, talk to your primary care provider about whether physical therapy might be helpful.
Practice good ergonomics at home and at work: Choose a chair with good lumbar support that allows your feet to be flat on the floor, and avoid crossing your legs. Position your computer monitors at eye level to reduce strain on your back and neck. Relax your shoulders away from your ears, keep your wrists in line with elbows, and be sure to take frequent breaks to move and stretch. If your job is more sedentary, consider alternating sitting with standing if possible as sitting produces the most strain on the low back. When lifting anything heavy, keep it close to your body and use your legs, not your back!
Stretch and roll: Stretching and using a foam roller can reduce tension and pain.
Use pain relief medications for comfort: Topical lidocaine or capsaicin patches or creams can be great options for over-the-counter pain relief. Check with your care team to see if you are a good candidate for NSAIDs (like ibuprofen or aspirin) for pain and inflammation.
Use heat to soothe pain: Apply a moist washcloth under a heating pad to help heat penetrate deeper muscles, improve blood flow and healing, and loosen tight muscles.
Now you have some tools in your toolkit to manage your lower back pain! But remember that managing back pain is a marathon, not a sprint. Even when you use some of the methods above, symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
Consult your primary care provider ASAP if you experience any of the following:
If you need help managing your lower back pain, consult your care team today through the Firefly app. Not a member yet? Get started by signing up or giving us a call at (855) 869-9284.