There are several things you can do at home to help reduce your pain. For example:
- Rest. If your back hurts a lot, take a break. But try not to let too much time pass before you get moving again. Instead, return to your activities slowly, and avoid things that make your pain worse. Studies show that bed rest doesn’t relieve back painbetter than staying active. And bed rest of more than a couple of days can make your back painworse and lead to other problems, such as stiff joints and muscle weakness.2
- Use over-the-counter pain medicinesover-the-counter pain medicines, such asacetaminophen (for example,Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (for example, Advil, Aleve, aspirin, and Motrin). These can reduce pain and swelling. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Use a heating pad or ice pack. Heat can reduce pain and stiffness. Ice can help reduce pain and swelling. You might want to switch back and forth between heat and cold until you find what helps you the most.
- Exercise . Ask your doctor or a physical therapist about what kinds of exercises you can do to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your back, shoulders, and stomach. These muscles help support your spine. Strong muscles can help improve your posture, keep your body in better balance, decrease your chance of injury, and reduce pain.
- Practice good posturePractice good posture. Poor posture puts stress on your back. Be sure to stand or sit tall, with your shoulders and your stomach pulled in to support your back. Don’t slump or slouch.