The hunt for real lower back pain relief can feel like an endless quest.
We obsess about the exact cause and cycle through lower back pain relief exercises, chiropractors and pain killers whilst trying to track down the very best ergonomic chair.
None of these gave me relief in 20 years of lower back pain problems.
But I’ve now found surprising ways to cure my lower back pain and in this post I’ll share how I learned to:
I do hope they help you find the lower back pain relief you are looking for.
This post does not give qualified medical advice. Back pain can be a sign of serious illness.
How To Relieve Lower Back Pain Fast Easily
I learned the hard way 3 key rules of relieving lower back pain fast:
Number 3 surprised me but it was critical to relieving my back pain.
The other 2 rules look obvious but I was doing them very wrong!!
So I’ll explain now how to put these rules into practice PLUS 5 big don’ts when you have lower back pain.
Keep Moving …
- Move a little, often. Don’t stay in 1 position for more than 30 minutes.
- Go for a gentle 10-20 minute walk twice a day. Don’t carry anything.
- Do any gentle exercises that relax stiffness twice daily for 2 minutes.
Alternate Muscle Relaxants …
- Gently massage hands, feet, shoulders, knees & thighs. Or whatever you can reach pain free.
- Apply muscle rub to back twice daily. I use tiger balm & this cream.
- Apply hot water bottle or ice pack.
- Take a shallow warm bath with epsom salts or any natural relaxant e.g. rosemary, mint, thyme.
Reduce Inflammation …
Diet & daylight are odd tips for back pain but had a huge impact for me:
- Get outside an hour a day, early.
- Avoid sodas, sugar & artificial fats.
- Get plenty of fibre.
- Drink a dessert spoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water first thing on an empty stomach.
- Eat yoghurt with turmeric & ginger.
- Drink magnesium rich green soup or smoothies with added nuts.
I’ll explain more in the long term relief section below but just try them!!
Don’ts For Lower Back Pain …
5 big back pain don’ts I learned from 20 years of problems are DO NOT:
- Stay in bed curled up in a ball sleeping or lie on your back all day.
- Rest in one “comfortable” position for more than 30 minutes.
- Avoid all exercise.
- Take pain killers unless essential.
- Rush to a chiropractor.
The first two freeze muscles in the wrong place and gentle movement is key to releasing contorted muscles.
Sometimes pain killers and a very gentle chiropractor do help but they can also hinder our back’s ability to heal itself with really relaxed rest.
What To Do Next
I find the 3 key rules relieve back pain fast and are now all I need to manage back strain and twinges.
But it took time to get here.
So in the next section I will dive deeper and explain further about how I cured my lower back pain.
If you want more practical tips right away jump to section 3 on how to relieve lower back long term.
How I Cured Lower Back Pain
I first strained my back 20 years ago.
Increasingly frequent strains made it hard to sit without lower back pain.
Muscles would spasm causing sciatica in my legs and at it’s worst I couldn’t get out of bed without help.
I obsessively tried to pinpoint pain & saw seriously scary chiropractors.
I did work out my piriformis muscle was a big problem but complex piriformis stretches didn’t solve it. Nor did my fancy desk chair.
What actually cured my lower back pain was surprisingly simple:
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet
- Daylight & Vitamin D
- More Magnesium
- Good Digestion
- Vitamin B12
- Frequent Gentle Movement
- Whole Body Balance
- Managing Stress
Now, I know they sound airy fairy.
But our lower back is the most complex junction in our bodies so lower back pain is often gridlock.
Gridlocked Back Pain
Our lower back is constantly pulled in different directions. So back muscles need the flexible strength to return everything to its place.
They can’t do this if there is an almighty old snarl up caused by :
- Strain elsewhere in our body
- Persistent low level inflammation.
Nothing has space to give and so our back stays painfully jammed.
The key to curing my back pain was:
- Addressing other strains
- Reducing the inflammation that was causing a bunch of problems from psoriasis to gastritis.
In the next section I will explain how to do this to break the gridlock and relieve lower back pain long term.
How To Relieve Lower Back Pain Long Term At Home
Anti Inflammatory Diet
It never crossed my mind that diet could trigger back pain or relieve it but a simple anti-inflammatory diet broke my back pain gridlock.
It is not complicated. Simply avoid:
- Sodas of all sorts
- Sugar as much as you can
- Highly processed carbs
- Artificial & processed fats.
Go easy on acidic food:
- Fruit juice
- White wine.
Enjoy quick anti-inflammatory hits:
- Apple cider vinegar ACV
- Turmeric, cinnamon & ginger
- Green tea
- Garlic (unless you have heartburn)
- Celery juice
- Aloe vera juice
- Herbal teas
- Simple gut healthy ingredients like plain yoghurt, kefir & pickles.
I am sceptical of silver bullet DIY remedies but a spoon of ACV in a glass of water on an empty stomach for 2 weeks gave huge relief to my long strained back muscles. It may not work for you but is worth trying.
Daylight & Vitamin D
Who would have thought daylight could be key to back pain relief?
Well it can. But don’t dash out and pay for vitamin D supplements.
A blast of daylight early in the morning sets our body clock. Without it we struggle to sleep properly and genuinely deep sleep is our daily de-inflammatory cycle.
Enjoying an hour outside every single day can help our back muscles relax enough to break the gridlock.
Our lower back is full of muscles and our muscles need magnesium.
But lots of us are low on magnesium.
Again, that doesn’t mean forking out for supplements is the answer.
Another surprising player in our lower back logjam is constipation!!
Persistently blocked bowels can press on the sacral nerves in our spine triggering sciatica.
Pain killers taken for back pain can actually cause constipation.
Use these simple diet & lifestyle tips to get constipation relief fast.
Vitamin B12 is an often ignored power house for a healthy back.
It reduces inflammation but also renews damaged nerve cells.
We cannot get it from plants. I didn’t eat meat for many years and ended up both B12 and iron deficient despite taking supplements.
Vegans & vegetarian with back pain should read what every vegan should know about vitamin B12 from the Vegan Society and check B12 levels. It is too easy to go short.
Frequent Gentle Movement
Many of us spend hours at work sitting or standing in one position.
And then do the same at home.
This can put constant pressure on specific back muscles & lock twisted muscles in a frozen spasm.
Many of us then spend hours of our lives and small fortunes trying out ergonomic chairs, standing desks etc to solve this problem!!
But the best solutions cost nothing:
- Move around every 30-40 minutes.
- Take active mini breaks.
- If working at home take a few minutes to:
- Put a laundry load on
- Empty the dishwasher
- Go out & deadhead flowers
- Put the bins out
- Nip to the corner shop
- Sweep the kitchen floor etc.
- Or at work do desk stretches or go and talk to someone.
- Time block work in different positions as much as you can.
- Take a short walk each lunch break to unlock muscles – it will also do wonders for blood sugar!
Whole Body Balance
Our lower back – as we’ve seen – is our body’s major road junction.
Odd problems elsewhere can distort lower back muscles and block traffic.
Key issues to look out for include:
Painful foot infections like warts and athlete’s foot distort our gait.
This can twist balancing muscles like the piriformis and trigger sciatica.
So fix your feet to ease back pain!!
Some of us have strong thighs but weak core and upper body muscles.
So we over rely on our thighs for hard work and end up with tight though not painful thigh muscles.
But tight thigh muscles strain lower back muscles into painful positions.
Gently massaging thighs to loosen them can relieve back pain.
Many of us express stress in our shoulders. They get knotted tight and screen work locks them tighter.
But we feel the pain in our back – and head – not in our shoulders.
Try these very simple stretches to relieve stiff stressed shoulders …
Tightly gripped tense hands trigger tension throughout our bodies.
We often don’t notice the tension.
But we can actually use basic hand exercises to reduce body tension and even lower blood pressure:
- Take stress, tennis or small ball
- Hold ball in one hand
- Squeeze for 60-90 seconds
- Switch to other hand
- Repeat 3 times for each hand
- Do 2 or 3 times a week.
Badly Fitting Shoes
Back pain relief shoes are big business. They can help but finding a pair that works isn’t cheap.
We may just need to be honest about shoes we love: ditching my fave but too tight trainers plus my slip on heels helped loads.
Do ditch painful shoes …
Stress and back pain can trap each other in a very vicious circle.
Stress causes tension which makes us vulnerable to muscle strain and then back pain which causes stress.
So we need to break the stress cycle short and long term by:
Endorphins block pain, so boost them for short term lower back pain relief that helps break the gridlock:
- Get outside as much as you can!!
- Laugh at comedy shows
- Meet funny friends
- Treat yourself to dark chocolate
- Play favourite upbeat music
- Practise creative skills
- Indulge your inner introvert …
- … or extrovert
- Enjoy a glass of red wine
- Do an act of random kindness
- Eat plenty of happy food:
- Berries, cherries, bananas, plums
- Nuts & seeds
- Oily fish e.g. salmon, sardines
- Leafy greens.
A Sustainable Lifestyle
It’s no accident that back pain often strikes when life is most hectic.
Many of us need to build some slow time back into our lives:
- Real rest days weekly
- Weekends with nothing scheduled
- A slow season every year – most religions traditionally provided this through e.g. Lent, Ramadan.
Unlocking Your Back Pain
I hope these simple tips help unlock your lower back problems.
None are silver bullet solutions but we can get instant relief for our back pain with the first 3 rules :
And then release the gridlock to relieve lower back pain long term with these easy lifestyle fixes :
- An anti-inflammatory diet
- A daily dose of daylight
- Boost magnesium
- Relieve constipation naturally
- Keep a close eye on vitamin B12 as a vegan or vegetarian
- Move around every 30 minutes
- Fix knock-on niggles & strains:
- Ease stress short & long term by:
Do let me know what works for you. And please shout with questions.
More Home Remedies
If you are struggling with other health problems check out my other simple home remedies …
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