Lower back pain can be very stressful at any time, but especially so when it happens suddenly. The stress is not only physical due to muscle tension contributing to the pain, but emotional as well due to alarm and worry caused by the sudden pain. So it is important to calm down both forms of stress in order to get relief from the sudden lower back pain.
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The first thing to remember to calm yourself when this happens is that you are not alone. Almost everyone will suffer with sudden lower back pain at one point in their lives. As we age, the discs between the vertebrae in our spines lose their effectiveness. They get smaller and can't cushion our spines like they used to. And when this happens, sudden or unexpected movements can become very painful. Even minor movements can sometimes cause pain!
Whether your sudden lower back pain happened due to some form of physical activity, or just some minor movement, the following simple tips and stretches can help you to get some relief from the pain and tension in your lower back:
- Apply heat to the affected area. Heat can temporarily reduce pain and stiffness.
- Take some over-the-counter pain relievers. Specifically NSAID's such as Advil, because they can help reduce any inflammation in the area.
Once the pain has subsided somewhat, try some of these simple exercises. Only do what feels right to you, and BE CAREFUL! Don't try to do too much too quickly.
If your pain feels better when standing or lying down, try the following:
- Rest - Lie on your back with a pillow underneath your knees, a rolled towel under your neck, and your arms extended to your sides with palms up. Then just relax and breathe normally for at least 10 minutes.
- Press-up Back Extension - Lie on your stomach with your arms bent and forearms on the floor. Then raise your upper back by pushing your forearms against the floor. Do not use your back or stomach muscles at all, and keep your forearms on the floor while doing this. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then release.
If your pain is only relieved by sitting down, do the following exercise:
- Knees to Chest - Lie down on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Slowly bring one knee up to your chest and hold for 30 seconds, then bring it back down and repeat with the other knee. Next straighten one leg out onto the floor, rest for 30 seconds, then bring it back and repeat for the other leg.
Finally, if no position is relieving your pain, go for a walk! It may sound like a terrible idea but walking actually reduces pain for many people! Be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed, and stand up tall with your head up. Move your shoulders every once in a while to relieve tension in them.
At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate everyone as much as possible about their back pain and sciatica, because it is proven that the more people know about their problem the more likely they are to eliminate it!
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