8 Back Pain Remedies That Work

Nearly everyone suffers back pain at some point in their life, yet many people struggle to find relief. Some back pain remedies may seem counterintuitive—to get moving when you’re in pain—but all of the ones below work. It’s just a matter of finding and combining what works best for you. Before trying any new exercise or back pain remedy, talk to your doctor first.

Here are 8 ways to get back pain relief:

1. Swimming

As we just mentioned, moving when you’re in pain may seem wrong, but swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise for back pain. The water takes away pressure from your joints, allowing you to potentially exert yourself more in the water than feels comfortable on land. In fact, many chronic back pain sufferers make swimming a daily or several times weekly habit to help keep back pain at bay.

2. Gentle yoga and stretching

Yoga can help stretch and strengthen your back muscles as well as the muscles that interact with your back, such as your hamstrings (muscles in the back of your legs, running from your knee to pelvis). Tight hamstrings are a key contributor to most low back pain. Ask your doctor for specific hamstring stretches you can do, and look for a nearby yoga class or studio to learn how to do yoga correctly.

3. Heat therapy

Heat helps boost circulation and relaxes muscles. If your back is stiff and tight, apply a heating pad (as directed in the packaging) or take a warm shower or bath. Sitting in a hot tub for 15 minutes or less can help too. Just be careful getting in an out so you don’t slip and reinjure your back.

4. Ice therapy

Ice is not just for right after the injury occurs. If you have inflammation in the joints around your spine, apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes to help reduce the inflammation, which should help relieve some of your pain. If you’re not sure whether to use ice or heat, ask your doctor or doctor’s nurse.

5. Wear comfortable shoes

If you’re in pain every day after you have been standing or walking for a while, your shoes may be causing pain or making existing pain worse. Especially when you have back pain, wearing comfortable, supportive sneakers or shoes with a low heel can help you feel better. Both high heels and flat shoes can lead to back and muscle strain, which leads to back pain.

6. Fix your sleep

If you are a poor or restless sleeper, it’s time to finally resolve that problem. Stress contributes to back pain and not sleeping contributes to stress. According to SPINE-health, about two-thirds of people with chronic back pain suffer from some type of sleep disorder. Is pain making you lose sleep or is the loss of sleep causing you pain? Good question, and without a sure answer, let’s just focus on trying to sleep better. Practice good sleep habits by doing these three things to start:

  • Wind down at night – Turn off the TV or computer at least 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed. Do something that you find relaxing. Maybe that’s meditating or just focusing on your breathing. Sound can have an impact on our health and ability to relax as well. Play relaxing sounds from nature, a beach, chimes—whatever relaxes you.
  • Make the bedroom dark – Before you shut off the last bedroom light, make sure there is no other lighting (from a clock or electronics) that will still be glowing. Use “blackout” curtains to keep outdoor lighting from leaking through your window shades or blinds.
  • Stay comfortable and relaxed even if you wake up – The stress of not sleeping can cause us to not be able to fall back to sleep. If you’re awake in the middle of the night, keep your eyes closed, focus on your breathing and relax. Rest is still better than getting up and fully interrupting your sleep.

7. Replace your mattress

Yes, this can be an expensive step, but if you know your mattress is causing you pain or making your back pain worse, it can be worth the money. You need a mattress—and pillow too—that supports your spine and keeps it in proper alignment. The priciest mattress is not always what will work best for you. Take your time shopping. Test out different mattress types—innerspring, latex (as long as you’re not allergic), memory foam, gel, hybrid and smart air-based mattresses. Some companies even let you try out a mattress for a certain number of days at no risk.

8. Powder pain reliever

Because back pain can keep you from doing things you love and being with people you love, when you need quick relief, you can turn to our BC® Original or BC® Cherry powder pain relief formulas. Our on-the-go, sealed stick packs also make it easy to always have a quick pain relief option by your side. It won’t make you sleepy, but check with your doctor to make sure aspirin won’t react with any other medication you’re taking.