What can I do for relief when I've hurt my lower back?
The best position for relief when your back hurts is to lie on your back on the floor with pillows under your knees, with your hips and knees bent and your feet on a chair, or just with your hips and knees bent. This takes the pressure and weight off your back.
You may need 1 to 2 days of this sort of rest for a hurt back. Resting longer than this can cause your muscles to weaken, which can slow your recovery. Even if it hurts, walk around for a few minutes every hour to help keep your back muscles strong.
What else can I do for relief?
Heating pads can help to relax painful muscle spasms. Use heat for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Ice packs and massages may also give relief.
Nonprescription medicines that reduce pain and/or swelling include aspirin, acetaminophen (brand name: Tylenol), naproxen (brand name: Aleve) and ibuprofen (some brand names: Advil, Motrin).
Is there relief for ongoing back problems?
Treatment of ongoing back problems must be directed at the cause. This may mean losing weight (because being overweight can make back pain worse), exercising and improving your posture when you're sitting, standing and sleeping.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff