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Live Well: Options for Lower Back Pain

April 7, 2023


Exercising to strengthen your core decreases the pressure on your lower back.
Exercising to strengthen your core decreases the pressure on your lower back.

Anyone who has dealt with lower back pain will tell you how disruptive it can be. It can make it hard to sleep, work, do normal daily tasks, and participate in activities you enjoy.

Unfortunately, a lot of people suffer from lower back pain. In fact, it is the leading cause of disability around the world. Lower back pain can range from mild achiness to sudden, intense spasms. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available. (Always check with your doctor about any pain, and get their advice before starting treatments.)

  • Ice and heat. Ice helps to reduce pain and inflammation. Apply ice for short amounts of time, several times per day. Heat, on the other hand, helps to increase blood circulation. You can safely apply heat to your lower back in a warm shower/bath or with a heating pad.
  • Work your core. Your body’s core helps to support your back. Strengthening your inner core decreases the pressure on your lower back. Try adding a gentle core workout to your daily routine.
  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist will recommend specific exercises to help you increase flexibility and improve the range of motion in your lower back.
  • Cortisone injection. This may help to reduce inflammation around the nerve roots, providing pain relief for a month or two.
  • Surgery. If other treatments fail to relieve your pain, you may need surgery—especially if there are issues with the structures in your back. You may be a candidate for minimally invasive back surgery, which offers less downtime and faster recovery than traditional surgery.

The best treatment is prevention

It can be tough to know the exact causes of lower back pain. But excess weight, lack of exercise, and/or poor posture often play a role. Making lifestyle changes to address these issues could alleviate current lower back pain and prevent additional problems down the road.