A bout of lower back pain will happen to most of at some point in our lives. The good news is, as many as 90% of all episodes of back pain resolve within six weeks, no matter if the episodes are caused by injury or a structural or nerve problem. Here are several ways to effectively relieve lower back pain – and prevent it from recurring.
Address the Pain
It’s difficult to come up with a plan of action for your lower back pain while in the middle of an episode, so your first course of action may be to take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (also known as an NSAID) to help ease your pain. Ibuprofen and naproxen are two readily available over-the-counter NSAIDs. Research shows that NSAIDs are slightly better at giving relief to lower back pain sufferers than their counterpart, acetaminophen. Taking an NSAID should be a short-term answer to an acute pain problem, not a longer-term solution. NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal problems if taken over long periods, so consult your physician if you feel the need to take them for longer than ten days.
Take the Heat (and Cold)
For the first 48 hours after lower back pain sets in, an ice pack is a must. Use it on the affected area for twenty minutes several times per day. Cooling your lower back down using ice will shut down capillaries and reduce blood flow to the area. Reduced blood flow will result in reduced swelling. Cold also puts a damper on your nerves’ ability to conduct pain signals.