Back strain treatment; Back pain - home care; Low back pain - home care; Lumbar pain - home care; LBP - home care; Sciatic - home care
Low back pain refers to pain that you feel in your lower back. You may also have back stiffness, decreased movement of the lower back, and difficulty standing straight.
There many things you can do at home to help your back feel better and prevent future back pain.
A common myth about back pain is that you need to rest and avoid activity for a long time. In fact, doctors DO NOT recommend bed rest. If you have no sign of a serious cause for your back pain (such as loss of bowel or bladder control, weakness, weight loss, or fever), stay as active as possible.
Here are tips for how to handle back pain and activity:
EXERCISE TO PREVENT FUTURE BACK PAIN
Through exercise you can:
A complete exercise program should include aerobic activity such as walking, swimming, or riding a stationary bicycle. It should also include stretching and strength training. Follow the instructions of your doctor or physical therapist.
Begin with light cardiovascular training. Walking, riding an upright stationary bicycle (not the recumbent kind), and swimming are great examples. These types of aerobic activities can help improve blood flow to your back and promote healing. They also strengthen muscles in your stomach and back.
Stretching and strengthening exercises are important in the long run. Keep in mind that starting these exercises too soon after an injury can make your pain worse. Strengthening your abdominal muscles can ease the stress on your back. A physical therapist can help you determine when to begin stretching and strengthening exercises and how to do them.
Avoid these exercises during recovery, unless your doctor or physical therapist says it is OK:
TAKING MEASURES TO PREVENT FUTURE BACK PAIN
To prevent back pain, learn to lift and bend properly. Follow these tips:
Other measures to prevent back pain include:
Chou R, Loeser JD, Owens DK, et al. Interventional therapies, surgery, and interdisciplinary rehabilitation for low back pain: an evidence-based clinical practice guideline from the American Pain Society. Spine. 2009;34(10):1066-1077. PMID: 19363457
El Abd O, Joao ED, Amadera JED. Low back strain or sprain. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD Jr, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 48.
Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. Health care guideline: adult acute and subacute low back pain. Updated November, 2012.
Review Date: 9/22/2016
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 9-1-1 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only—they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.