Some home remedies will make your back pain even worse — these do’s and don’ts will help you feel better, faster!
1. Sleeping with a heating pad
Your back hurts so you crawl into bed, feel the warmth on your back, and you drift off into a cozy sleepy state, hoping your pain will melt away by morning.
The more heat the better right? WRONG! Sleeping with anything electrical under your back is a safety hazard — you can burn yourself and even risk an electrical fire.
Even worse, there are no proven benefits to using a heating pad for more than 30 minutes.
INSTEAD – Try applying a cream or ointment that contains camphor or menthol such as Icy Hot or Bengay. These can be applied at night to help relax the muscles and ease pain while you drift away to dreamland.
2. Lying in bed doing nothing
You’ve had a long day, your back is killing you, and all you want to do is plop down on the bed (or sofa!) and try to ease the pain. BUT the truth is that this lack of movement causes poor circulation and stiffness which is only going to make your pain WORSE.
Why? Because pain sets in when blood flow is reduced.
INSTEAD – Try doing light yoga or even just doing simple stretching exercises to keep the blood flowing. If it’s a beautiful day, take a walk outside and breathe in some fresh air. It will not only keep your pain at bay, but will elevate your mood!
3. Masking pain with medication
Pain relief in a pill is NOT pain relief — it is pain masking. It doesn’t take away the pain. It simply hides it for a little while without addressing the underlying cause of your pain. Popping a Vicodin to numb your back pain may temporarily mask some of the pain, but it also slows your thinking, interferes with your digestion and other important processes, and can even lead to physical dependence.
INSTEAD – Stop over-medicating! Acknowledge your pain and do something about it. Get an assessment from a pain specialist — a pain management physician, physical therapist or chiropractor to find out what’s really going on.
4. Having someone walk on your back
Maybe some of you have asked a friend or family member to walk on your back in those desperate moments where you feel throbbing pain in the middle of your spine. Warning – this move is extremely dangerous. That much pressure on your back can cause a sprain, strain, rib fracture, disc herniation or other back injury. It may feel good for a few moments — but it’s not worth the risk of seriously damaging your spine.
5. Waiting more than a week without seeing a doctor
Many people suffer and wait, thinking their pain will go away on its own. But pain that persists tends to get worse, not better, if you neglect it.
INSTEAD – If you have any kind of consistent pain or issue that doesn’t go away, get a diagnosis and treatment plan from a healthcare professional. Make sure nothing more serious is going on. Give yourself the gift of days without pain.