Whether you lift heavy items for your job or simply have a slipped disk from a pesky athletic injury, Lower back pain is likely to plague you at some point in your life.
Low back pain can result from an acute injury or from chronic overuse that leads to arthritis. This, in turn, can break down the fluid-filled disks in your spine that act as shock absorbers.
Whatever the cause, there are some practices you can do to strengthen your back and keep lower back pain at bay.
You can use both ice and heat to your advantage when you experience lower back pain. However, the order is important here. When faced with a new injury, first you ice it, then use heat.
If you’ve tweaked your lower back, apply ice during the first 24 to 48 hours. Here’s how you can use ice to your advantage:
- Place ice cubes or crushed ice in a plastic bag, or purchase a cool pack. Wrap what you’re using in a cloth to protect your skin from injury.
- Apply to your lower back for no more than 10 minutes at a time.
- Repeat as needed throughout the day. Give yourself at least 10-minute breaks between ice applications.
While heat may be tempting to apply after an injury, it can cause your body to release even more inflammatory compounds into your body. After one to two days and for chronic pain, you can begin to apply heat.
The same rules apply as a cold pack: Refrain from applying the heat source directly to your skin. Instead, wrap the heat pack or heating pad in a cloth first. While it can be tempting to sleep with a heating pad all night to relieve your back pain, avoid doing this.