Your lower back is composed of muscles, ligaments, nerves,and five bony vertebrae. They all play an important part in carrying the load of the upper body as well as absorbing impact when you walk or run. This means that the lumbar region of the back can often become painful, stiff, and even dysfunctional. Here are nine of the best products available for at-home lumbar pain relief.
1. Heat Wraps and Patches
Heal wraps are reusable devices that can be applied to the back to relieve muscle tension and pain. For occasional pain or an acute injury, you can use disposable heat patches, which stick to the skin and last for several hours so you can get heat therapy while on the go. Heat wraps can also be applied to your back and generally stay in place with a velcro strap. Both versions increase blood flow and promote healing in the strained area.
2. Heated Massage Chair Cushion or Wearable Belt
Battery-operated or rechargeable, these devices deliver both heat and massage to the lumbar area for efficient pain relief and relaxation. Heated massage chair cushions usually have multiple setting so you can select the intensity of the heat and/or massage. Belts typically only provide heat, which is still therapeutic. Be sure to select a cushion or beltthatis comfortable, high quality, and easy to use.
3. Reusable Ice Packs
Your physical therapist or orthopedic specialist may recommend you ice your lower back, particularly after an acute injury. Apply reusable ice packs to your lower back, just below your waist. Make sure to put a towel between your skin and the ice pack, and make sure it is comfortably snug against your body. Apply the cold therapy 15 minutes on and 15 off (or as your provider advises) to reduce painful inflammation and swelling.
4. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Ibuprofen (known by the name brand Advil) is one of the most popular and effective over the counter pain relief pills used for lumbar pain. Use as directed and be sure to take it with food as it can cause gastrointestinal upset, particularly diarrhea, if taken on an empty stomach.
In addition to pills, there are many pain-relieving topical preparations, like sprays, ointments, and creams. Some contain the same active ingredient as aspirin. Others dull irritated nerve endings. Ask your provider which is appropriate for your condition and overall health.
5. Orthopedic Wedge Pillows
Usually constructed of foam and covered with washable fabric, wedges come in a variety of sizes. Select one that fits below your ribs, and consistently use it on your desk chair, automobile seat or anywhere you sit for long periods of time. These pillows support your lower back and help keep your spine aligned.
6. Lumbar Back Brace
A lumbar brace is a supportive device that wraps around the lower back and abdomen to provides substantial support. It is portable so you can take it (and wear it) wherever you go. Be sure the brace extends from under the rib cage to the buttocks for maximum effect.
7. Good Shoes
Save your dress shoes for special occasions and instead invest in an everyday shoe that provides good arch support, such as a sneaker. Well-fitting and supportive shoes can relieve back pain as they take pressure off the lower back as you walk.
8. TENS Unit
Now available as an over-the-counter product, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units deliver low-level electrical current to nerves through electrodes placed on the skin. The impulses disrupt nerve pathways to the brain, thus reducing the perception of pain.You can use a TENS unit for lumbar pain up to 60 minutes at a time, four times a day, for pain relief.
9. A Firm Mattress
While a pillow-soft mattress may be your first choice for comfort, it may actually contribute to your low back pain. A firm mattress is best for spinal alignment and supporting your lumbar spine. When you purchase a mattress, be sure to test it out or ask an employee to help you find a firm mattress that’s supportive for your lumbar spine.
The Back Pain Specialists at Watauga Orthopaedics in Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol, TN
Lumbar pain is no joke. However, our orthopedic specialists at Watauga Orthopaedicscan diagnose, treat, and even prevent lumbar pain. For more helpful tips and product recommendations, call Watauga Orthopedics at (423)-282-9011. We have state-of-the-art facilities in Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol, TN. You also can book an appointment here. We look forward to treating you!