Ohhhhhhhh my aching back. There it is again and it just won’t leave. That dreaded lower back pain threatening to level you every time you move. Think you’re the only one hobbling around, clutching yourself from behind? Far from it. These days, it seems as if just about everyone and her sister is suffering. The worst part? Not only can there be excruciating pain that keeps us home from work and everything else that needs doing, but it can limit our everyday fun activities, like shopping and workouts, stuff we need to keep us sane.
Are you a lower back pain sufferer? No more letting it rule your life. Howard VanEs and Rick Harvey are the authors of Yoga, The Back Pain Cure: The Yoga Therapy Back Care and Low Back Pain Treatment Program and they’re here to help.
Ready to get back in the game? Read on for natural first aid you can do to help cure your back pain today.
HOW TO CURE LOWER BACK PAIN IN 5 STEPS
1. FIND THE CAUSE
Back problems are caused by a number of factors including accidents, sitting for long periods of time, sleeping on your stomach, being overweight, not getting the right kind of exercise, diseases like arthritis or fibromyalgia, wearing shoes with little or no arch supports or worn heels, and muscle/skeletal problems.
2. TREAT WITH ICE
Acute lower back pain is the result of an injury that occurred within the past two days. To treat it, apply an ice pack as soon as possible. Doing so reduces swelling, tissue inflammation, muscle spasms, and pain. At the same time, the ice enhances the flow of nutrients into the area, aids in the removal of waste products, and promotes healing. Apply the ice pack to the painful area on and off for a period of 24 to 48 hours as follows:
- For WOMEN the time limit is: 15 minutes on, then 30 minutes off
- For MEN the time limit is: 20 minutes on, then 30 minutes off
NOTE: Remember, when using ice never place the ice directly on your skin as it can burn the skin much like a frostbite injury. Always use a layer of towel between the ice pack and skin.
3. MAKE IT MOIST
After the first 48 hours of an injury, you can use moist heat (avoid dry heat). The advantage of moist heat is that it is more comfortable on the skin than ice or dry heat, and it can temporarily reduce muscle spasm in the surrounding tissue by increasing circulation to the damaged tissue. As the muscle tissue and spasm subside and relax, more flexibility is gained and the healing process can accelerate. Moist heat can be created by using a moist heating pad from a drugstore. You can also use a wet a hand towel and wrap it around a hot water bottle or heated herbal bean bag.
- For WOMEN the time limit is: 15 minutes on, then 3 hours off
- For MEN the time limit is 20 minutes on, then 3 hours off
4. PICK A POSE
Whether you back pain is acute or chronic, it can be helped with traction. A yoga posture called legs on chair pose is a great way to bring traction to your low back. This posture gently stretches the muscles of the low back and creates space between the vertebrae. That’s how it relives back pain and releases any spasms. To practice legs on chair pose, you need a chair and a folded blanket or two nearby. Position a chair in front of you. Lie on your back and place your calves on the chair seat. If you are on the shorter side, you will find it more comfortable to build up the floor by putting a folded blanket or two under your hips, back, and head. If you are taller side, just place a folded blanket on the chair seat. Place a folded blanket or towel under your head as this is the best position for supporting your neck and for relaxing.
Let your calves rest into the chair and your hips rest into the floor. You can put your hands on your stomach or take them out to 45 degrees from your body with your palms up. Rest here for 10 to 15 minutes.
To come out of the posture, bring your knees into your chest and roll onto your right side into a fetal position. Remain here for a moment or two and then using both hands slowly press up into a seated position.
This posture can be used 2 to 3 times a day if you are in chronic pain and in conjunction with the ice or heat therapy. Apply the heat or ice either before or after you do legs on chair pose.
A word of a caution: If on a scale of 1–10, the pain in your lower back is 8 or higher, then DO NOT attempt this posture and contact your doctor right away.
5. GET TO SLEEP
A major challenge for people with backaches is being able to sleep. The best position to help you sleep and reduce muscle spasms in the lower back is lying on your side with a small pillow or folded towel placed between your knees. This will take the pressure off of your back (joints/discs) which should help relax the low back muscles.
Howard VanEs and Dr. Rick Harvey are the authors of Yoga, The Back Pain Cure: The Yoga Therapy Back Care and Low Back Pain Treatment Program. Howard is an highly experience yoga teacher and Dr. Harvey is a chiropractor. Their book is a culmination of over 10 years of collaborative work successfully helping thousands of people with low back problems. Yoga, The Back Pain Cure is available at Amazon and www.booksonhealth.net.