Back pain is a common problem in Australia. And for most of us, it comes on suddenly and then slowly improves.1 But while it’s with us, back pain really gets in the way of life. Not just because it might limit our movement, or interrupt plans, but because pain also impacts our mental processes, for example, affecting our ability to focus.2
If you know how the damage might have been done – for example, a sprain from trying to pull out a resistant weed or tree stump in the garden, or you lifted something awkwardly (including a child), or it’s a sports injury, there are probably a few things you can do at home to help the healing process. But if the pain is really severe, it might be more than just a soft tissue (muscle or ligament) sprain and you should seek medical advice from a healthcare professional.
Some of the most common causes of back pain are:1
Helping to relieve back pain at home
Try and stay active – without overdoing it. You might think it’s the last thing you should do, but you will feel better. Just a walk can help keep everything moving. Sitting still for a long time means the muscles supporting your back will become weak, making the problem worse.3
Simple stretching exercises can also help. Warm up to them slowly.
Speaking of warmth, heat is very good for muscle strains. You can read more about how heat helps in this article. but here’s a quick summary:
As long as there is no inflammation or open wounds heat can help.
Check your posture when sitting at a desk or on the couch watching television. A quick search will give you some tips and guides on improving posture.
Treatment options for back pain
There are a number of options for the treatment of back pain, ranging from physical therapy (for example, physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors) through to over the counter (OTC) pain killers, as well as prescription medicines from your doctor.
There are also some natural products available on pharmacy or health food stores, such as turmeric-based therapies.
OTC medicines such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen should only be used short term without medical supervision.
As we mentioned above, heat is very good for relief of soft tissue strains and sprains.
There are a number of ways to apply heat to the body, but it’s important to follow some safety precautions. For example, don’t apply a hot water bottle directly to the skin – wrap it in a cloth towel or specially designed cover.
Heat pads are a very safe and convenient way to apply heat therapy. They slowly heat up and start working in about 10 minutes. They are also thin and discreet, and unlike bulky wheat bags, or hot water bottles, retain their heat for longer6.
Adhesive heat pads such as Hotteeze are designed to be positioned on the outside of under garments where heat is required. The gentle adhesive will help keep them in position and the consistent heat lasts for up to 14 hours! You can check out the range of pads here.
Finally, you can take a more scientific, drug-free approach to your pain management by using a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) device. TENS devices are small, and portable and help the body to release endorphins, our own natural painkillers, as well as blocking pain signals travelling to the brain.7 Check out our TENS devices here.
Your health professional will advise you whether this product is suitable for you/ your condition. Always read & follow the instructions for use & health warnings. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Do not use with any electronic medical devices e.g. pacemakers.