Lower back pain or lumbar ache is the most common problem which, generally, arises due to spasm or sprain in the ligament or muscle in the lumbar region, osteoarthritis, and pressure on nerve roots due to spinal stenosis or herniated disc. Stones, tumors, kidney infections, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and hematoma may, at times, lead to this ailment. Factors such as obesity, poor body posture, stress, pregnancy, wearing high heels, lifting heavy weight, and smoking maximize the risk of lower back pain. It is of 2 types: short term or acute back ache lasts for a few days or week while chronic ache lasts for over 3 weeks.
People aged between 30 and 50 are more susceptible to develop this problem. Lumbar ache is accompanied by lost bowel or bladder control, sweating, weakness, abdominal pain, nausea, fever, and numbness in the rectal area, groin, foot and leg. Mostly, back pain gets resolved within a few days on its own. In some cases, you can treat your back ache at home. However, you must consult a doctor, if pain persists for a longer period.
Home Remedies for Lower Back Pain
1. Oil Therapy
- Take 4 tablespoons of mustard oil, sesame oil or coconut oil. Put it on low flames and fry 7-10 garlic cloves till they turn light brown. Then, strain the oil. Allow it to cool. Massage this oil on your lower back. Use this therapy regularly for 15 days or so, to get effective results.
- Massage with warm castor oil also heals lower back pain.
- Mix turpentine oil and warm mint oil. Rub it gently on the affected area for quick relief.
2. Heat Therapy
Put heating pads or hot packs on your back for 18-20 minutes. You can also soak in a hot tub or take a hot shower. For the best results, add Epsom salt to the hot water tub. It will stimulate the flow of blood towards the affected area and slow down nerve impulses, thus reducing the pain.
Note- If you are pregnant, avoid hot bath for long. If the temperature of your body remains more than 100° Fahrenheit for a longer duration, it may lead to miscarriage or birth defects. Therefore, you must consult a doctor before using this remedy.
3. Cold Therapy
Application of cold pack speeds up the healing process. Take some ice cubes. Wrap them in a plastic bag. Put it on your lower back. It acts as an anesthetic and gives you quick relief.
Grate a few raw potatoes and wrap them in a thin cloth. Use it as a poultice on your lower back. Keep it for at least one hour.
5. Cabbage Leaves
Put cabbage leaves in boiling milk. Boil until jelly-like paste is formed. Drape in a clean cloth and apply on the affected part. This is one of the best natural remedies for lower back pain.
6. Lemon Juice
Extract juice of a lemon and add some common salt to it. Stir well. Drink it on a regular basis, in order to get relief in lower back pain.
Milk is a good source of calcium. It strengthens the bones and minimizes the risk of osteoporosis and lower back pain. Add a tablespoon of honey in warm milk or water. Drink it to cure the pain.
Cook some whole oats. Mash them with vinegar. Apply it hot on your lower back to alleviate the ache.
9. Capsaicin Cream
Capsaicin is a compound that is found in chili peppers and has an analgesic effect. When applied topically, it helps reduce several types of chronic pain, including lower back pain. Apply capsaicin cream, four times a day. Initially, it will cause burning sensation or sting, but later, you will be relieved of pain.
Yoga poses like locust posture, corpse pose, plow pose, cobra pose, and raised feet pose are very beneficial in soothing the pain.
11. Stretching Exercises
- Lie down on your back with hands somewhat away from your body. Keep your feet together. Concentrating on your lumber region, take a deep breath. Turn your feet on the right side. At the same time, turn your head to the left. Take deep breaths and hold the posture for some time. Resume the initial position. Now, do it on the other side of the body. Stop the exercise instantly, if you feel pain; otherwise, carry out for ten minutes on each side of the body.
- Partial crunches, wall sits, hamstring stretches and pelvic tilts are some other good exercises.
- You can also opt for swimming. It fortifies your back muscles and abdominal, making them less susceptible to strain. While you swim, the buoyancy in water takes off the body's pressure from the paining back for some time, hence, reducing the discomfort.
Note- Avoid doing stretching exercises, if the back pain is caused due to spasms.
12. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medicines
You can use topical gels and creams like Zostrix, Bengay, and Aspercreme. These products contain menthol, camphor, capsaicin, eucalyptus and salicylate which provide relief from the back pain. Pain relievers such as Naproxen and Ibuprofen are also equally effective.
Note- It is recommended to check with your pharmacist or doctor before taking any such medications.
13. Engage Your Brain
Studies have revealed that being social, eating dark chocolate and listening to your favorite music releases endorphins, hormones that block pain signals and alleviate depression, stress and anxiety, thereby reducing back ache. Acupuncture, meditation, deep breathing, massage therapy and aerobic exercises are some other ways to stimulate the production of endorphins.
14. Take Enough Sleep
Insomnia or inadequate sleep worsens the chronic lower back ache. So, it's very important to get sound sleep. If you are suffering from sleep disorders, use relaxation and psychological techniques, consume the correct foods, and cut back on caffeine.
Herbal Remedies for Lower Back Pain
15. Black Haw and Cramp Bark
Mix equal quantities of black haw and cramp bark tinctures. Take it every 3 to 4 hours consecutively for 3 days. It will reduce the pain considerably.
16. Chebulic myroblan
Eat a small piece of this fruit after having meals. It’s one of the simplest home remedies for curing lower back pain.
17. Chamomile Tea
Stress stiffens the muscles of the back, thereby, causing pain. Chamomile is, said to be, a great stress-buster which soothes tense muscles. Take 1 cup of boiling water and add 1 tablespoon chamomile flowers to it. Steep it for 12-15 minutes. You can also prepare tea with prepackaged chamomile tea. Sip at least 1-3 cups daily.
18. Ginger Root
The anti-inflammatory compounds of ginger alleviate the pain. When your lower back aches, drink ginger tea. Slice fresh ginger root and put these slices in 1 quart boiling water. Steep them on low heat for half an hour. Let it cool and add honey to sweeten it. Sip it twice a day.
19. Basil Leaves Decoction
Since ages, holy basil leaves have been used as a healing balm for the soul, body and mind. Take a cup of water and boil it. Add 10 basil leaves to it. Boil till it converts to syrup. Add salt while boiling. Take it 2-3 times a day for quick respite from severe lower back pain.
20. Devil's Claw
Research studies have revealed that a therapeutic dose of this South African herb for the short term reduces lower back pain.
Note- People suffering from intestinal or stomach ulcers and pregnant women must avoid intake of this herb.
- Include light cooked and steamed vegetables like cauliflower, carrot, cabbage, and spinach in your diet. Salad prepared from sprouts, lettuce, radish, tomato and cucumber are also considered beneficial.
- Consume vitamin C rich fruits like oranges, kiwis, pineapples, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries on a regular basis.
- While preparing tea, add pepper corns, 5 cloves and 1 gram dry ginger powder.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Give up on smoking.
- Sleep on your side or back with knees bent at 90 degrees. Keep the knees elevated by placing a pillow between them.
- Instead of a sagging mattress, sleep on a firm one.
- Indulge yourself in any other favorite hobby. It will reduce the stress level and assist the healing process.
- If you are required to stand for long, rest one foot on a stool. Switch the foot, after every 15 minutes.
- Don't sit in one position for long hours.
- Avoid wearing high heels.
- Reduce the intake of caffeinated beverages, fatty and processed foods.
- Don't lift heavy objects. Instead of pulling a heavy object, push to move it.
- Do not lay down for long. Instead, keep your muscles moving.
- Avoid some exercises such as leg lifts, sit-ups and touching your toes while standing up. Instead of curing the pain, these workouts will intense the ache.