Recurring or chronic pain in the lower back is a common ailment experienced by four out of five adults. Lower back pain affects the L1 to L5 vertebrae and can be the result of several factors. One of the most prevalent causes of lower back pain is bad or incorrect posture, especially when sitting. Being in a hunched position or overextending the back can strain the cushions of the vertebrae, called “discs,” which you need to stop the vertebrae from rubbing together.
Other common lower back pain causes are:
- A sedentary lifestyle: Frequent inactivity and a lack of exercise make the muscles weak. If your core muscles — such as those in your sides, hips, abdomen, and back — aren’t strong enough to sufficiently support your upper body weight, there will be too much pressure on your spine and lower back. Prolonged sitting, which oftentimes is unavoidable if you have a desk job, also places much stress on the lower back.
- Sciatica: Caused by herniated discs or bone spurs, this condition triggers lower back pain that can radiate to the backs of the legs.
- Muscle strain: This can be caused by overexertion while exercising without proper stretching, strenuous activities such as lifting heavy objects from the ground without observing proper posture, or sudden movements that caused the muscles to twist.
Most cases of lower back pain can be self-managed and treated at home with a few lifestyle adjustments and supplementary practices. Let’s talk about what you can do to alleviate pain in the lower back quickly and safely.
How to Relieve Lower Back Pain
Alleviate Lower Back Pain Naturally with TENS
This is our go-to method for combating pain.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS for short, is a natural, non-invasive, and convenient method of relief for body pain.
It works by applying low voltage electrical currents directly on the skin above the pain point. This does two things, as a result.
First, it stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing chemical. Essentially, TENS shows your body how to stop pain all on its own.
Secondly, it prevents the pain signals from registering in the brain, in something called the Gate Theory. TENS “closes” the gates to your central nervous system, meaning that pain signals can’t reach your brain and spinal cord. Thus, you don’t experience pain as a feeling.
PowerDot’s trademarked Smart TENS setting and proprietary algorithm helps you create a custom program based on the type of lower back pain you’re experiencing (acute or chronic), the cause of your pain (injury, surgery, etc.), and the level of your pain tolerance. This means you’ll have a pain-relief program personalized to your needs and goals.
Plus, you can easily track your progress over time via the app.
What we love about TENS is how safe it is — completely natural and incredibly effective.
TENS is the first thing we recommend you try if you’re experiencing pain in the lower back; but we’d like to offer a few more tips, as well.
Improve Your Posture
If you frequently find yourself sitting in a hunched position, correct your posture by imagining a line from your head down through your spine. To fix your shoulder position, try rolling them backward slightly. This helps to correct the common issue of hunching your shoulders forward.
Lastly, you want to maintain a neutral position in your pelvis. Engage your core so that your ribs are almost stacked over your pelvis — not jutting forward or rounding back.
If your job requires you to be seated for a long time, consider making some changes to make your workspace more conducive to lower back health. Set your chair to ensure your feet can rest flat on the floor with your knees at the same level as your hips. The backrest must support the lower curve of the lower back, and if it doesn’t, consider getting a lumbar support cushion.
If you’re on a computer or laptop for most of the day, try to position the monitor at eye level so that you’re not forced to lean back or slouch forward. Aim to keep frequently used items within arms’ reach to minimize twisting and extending of the back.
Apply Hot and Cold Treatments
Alternate between using heating pads and ice packs for temporary but immediate lower back pain relief. Applying heat via adhesive wraps, hot water in a bottle, or even a hot bath improves blood circulation, letting oxygen and nutrients flow into the muscles and help speed up the healing process.
Ice, on the other hand, suppresses inflammation and swelling.
Practice Yoga and Meditation
One study concluded that a 12-week yoga program for adults who repeatedly suffer from lower back pain is more impactful than just the usual care routine. Yoga helps improve muscle flexibility and strength, especially stretches for lower back pain such as arching, child’s pose, and bird dog.
This is ideally paired with the practice of meditation and mindfulness. which help manage the psychological effects of recurring pain in the lower back such as frustration, irritability, and stress.
Incorporate Exercises for Lower Back Pain
Improve your overall physical health with exercises designed to alleviate lower back pain but don’t require strenuous movements. Stretching exercises focused on the lower back, glutes, and hips can improve muscle flexibility to better support the weight of the upper body. (Yes, your back pain might actually be starting in the glutes or hips!)
Strengthening exercises work on the core muscles to reduce strain on the lower back. Low-impact aerobic exercises, like walking and stationary biking, promote the circulation of blood and aid in the healing of muscles.
Lower back pain can range from annoying to downright debilitating; but rest assured there is action you can take to find relief from the pain.
Consistently using PowerDot’s Smart TENS can boost the release of your endorphins and block pain signals from reaching your brain. Make this a part of your lifestyle, and you’ll find the discomfort subsiding.
Make additional changes to your lifestyle like improving your posture, trying yoga, and focusing on exercises that will target your lower back pain. If you commit to these habit changes, your body will thank you.
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Learn more about how to relieve lower back pain while working from home.