How many of us wish we never had to utter those words again?  Try the fast-acting solutions below – especially ice and heat – for immediate relief. Then ,as soon as possible, slowly get moving again. When your back is feeling moderately better, do the stretching and strengthening exercises. Back pain often strikes when something’s amiss with the delicate column of bones, muscles, ligaments and joints that holds you up. But many other conditions, like strains, arthritis, hairline spine fractures and even kidney infections, can cause your back to throb.

Ice first, heat later:
• As a pain reliever, ice works really well. It temporarily blocks pain signals and helps to reduce swelling. Several times a day, place an ice pack wrapped in a towel on the painful area for up to 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a bag of frozen peas. During the first few days of home treatment, apply the ice pack as often as necessary. Later, you may still want to use ice after exercise or any physical activity.
• After about 48 hours, switch to moist heat to stimulate blood flow and reduce painful spasms. Dip a towel in very warm water, wring it out, then flatten and fold it. Lie on your stomach with pillows under your hips and ankles. Place the towel across the painful area , cover the towel with cling film, then put a heating pad-set on medium – on top of the film. Leave it on for up to 20 minutes. You can repeat this three or four times a day for several days.

• Capsaicin. Derived from hot chile peppers, topical capsaicin may be useful for some people in relieving pain. “Capsaicin works by depleting substance P, a compound that conveys the pain sensation from the peripheral to the central nervous system. It takes a couple of days for this to occur.
Rub in some relief

• Ask a partner or close friend to massage the aching area. If you want to use a cream or ointment sold as a ‘back rub’, then do so, but with care – these topical creams tend to cause skin irritation after a few applications. For a simple back massage aid, stuff several tennis balls into a long sock, tie end of the sock, and ask your partner to roll it up and down your back.
• Rise and shine. Each morning before you get out of bed, lie on your back and slowly stretch your arms overhead. Gently pull your knees to your chest, one at a time. To rise, roll to the edge of your bed, turn on your side, put your knees over the edge, and use one arm to push yourself up as you let your feet swing to the floor. Once you’re on your feet, put your hands on your buttocks and lean back very slowly to stretch out your spine.

Massaging your back with an herbal oil can help your muscles relax and relieve pain. You can use any herbal oil such as eucalyptus oil, almond oil, olive oil or coconut oil. Heat the oil until warm and massage it gently over the aching area.

Try these herbal soothers:

• There are many herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties, which is what makes them effective upper, lower, and middle back pain remedies. Some of the most widely recommended herbs include willow bark and devil’s claw, which need to be taken orally. Pureed capsicum, applied topically, can also be very effective in relieving back pain as it contains capsaicin which helps to numb the affected area.
Perfect your posture:

• Look for the posture that puts the least stress on your back. Stand up straight with your weight evenly balanced on both feet. Tilt your pelvis forwards, then back, exaggerating the movement. Then settle into the position that feels most comfortable. Now ‘work your way up’ your back, focusing on one area at a time. First concentrate on the area near your waist, then your chest area and finally your neck and shoulders. Try to feel which position is most comfortable and least stressful. This is the position maintain when you’re standing walking and beginning or ending any exercises.
• When you’re sleeping, lie on your back or your side (unless you have sciatica). If you’re more comfortable on your back, place a pillow under your knees as well as under your head to relieve pressure on your lower back. If you prefer to sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs. If you have sciatica, the recommended position is on your stomach.

What Are the Common Causes of Back Pain?

Accidents and sports injuries are the most common causes of chronic back pain. But sometimes, even simple activities or movements – like bending over to pick up an object from the floor – can trigger pain.

• If you like to sit up in bed to read or watch television, buy a large foam wedge that supports your upper body in a comfortable position. For added comfort – and to keep your neck in the proper position- use a foam or inflatable neck support when you are sitting up.
• When you are sitting on a chair at the office or at home, keep your feet flat on the floor, with your hips slightly higher than your knees. Use a lumber support behind your lower back. The lumber roll is a chair’s- width foam cylinder about 12cm (5in) in diameter. You can improvise with a rolled up towel, but the foam version is lighter, easier to position and usually has straps that attach it to the back of the chair.
• Try and stay out of the car, but if you must drive, place a foam wedge behind your lower back.
• If you are accustomed to walking around with a wallet in your hip pocket, take it out whenever you’re sitting. Even though it feels like a small lump, it’s big enough to tilt your backside, throwing your spine ever so slightly out of alignment.
• When you’re standing at the sink doing dishes, or waiting in a bus queue, raise one foot higher than the other. In the kitchen keep a low sturdy box or a couple of old books by the sink, and put up a foot while you’re standing there. Waiting in a queue, use a step or curb. (Think of the traditional brass rail in a public house, which serves the same purpose.) Periodically change position by putting up the opposite foot. This shifting of weight gives alternating back muscles a chance to relax.

Physical activity:

• Exercise helps build strong, flexible muscles that will be less prone to injury. It can also help the healing process for an aching back, prevent problems in the future, and improve function. Work with your doctor to develop an exercise program, or seek a referral to another health professional who can. A good program typically includes the three major forms of exercise: aerobic activity, strength training, and flexibility exercises.

• Each morning before you get out of bed, lie on your back and slowly stretch your arms overhead. Gently pull your knees to your chest, one at a time. To get up, roll to the edge of your bed, turn on your side, put your knees over the edge, and use one arm to push yourself up as you let your feet swing to the floor. Once you’re on your feet, put your hands on your buttocks and lean back very slowly to stretch out your spine.

Call your doctor if:

Before you try any home remedies or exercises, see a doctor to find out whether you have a common type of lower back pain or a medical problem that requires specialist treatment.

Your low back pain is severe, doesn’t go away after a few days, or it hurts even when you’re at rest or lying down.

You have weakness or numbness in your legs, or you have trouble standing or walking.
You lose control over your bowels or bladder.
These could be signs that you have a nerve problem or another underlying medical condition that needs to be treated.

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