In this article we present the top 10 ways to relieve lower back pain using natural methods. The key is to target back pain from all the different angles including: ergonomics, posture, exercise, sleep and mental health.
The following are not presented in any specific order.
1. Mind your posture when Sitting and Standing
- Keep your spine in neutral position whenever sitting or standing.
- Tuck in your chin to keep neck in optimal position (and to avoid getting into Forward head posture).
- Suck in your belly button, to avoid arching your low back (avoid Anterior pelvic tilt).
2. Adjust your Ergonomics/Workstation
- Elevate your laptop so that the top 1/3 is aligned with your eye level.
- Get a wireless keyboard so that you can keep your elbows at roughly 90 degrees, and to avoid shrugging your shoulders (which could tighten your upper trapezius muscles).
- Use a lumbar cushion support to support your low back area
More tips on how to sit properly at a desk
3. Activate weak muscles to stabilize your spine & pelvis
Your core and glutes act as primary stabilizers for your spine, pelvis and SI joint. Strengthening these areas will result in improved posture and less back pain.
- Strengthen your core muscles which support your spine. See the Dead bug – Core exercise
- Strengthen your glute muscles which support your pelvis and spine. See Glute bridge – Glute exercise
4. Stretch tight muscles that put you into poor posture
Tight muscles such as the Psoas (Hip flexors) can tilt your pelvis into a poor posture which in turn can cause low back pain. Similarly, a Tight Pec Minor and Levator Scapulae can pull you into a rounded shoulders posture and increase forward head position.
There are many other muscles that can get tight/overactive. Stretching and releasing these tight muscles will alleviate some of the tightness/pain, as well as, allow your body to get into a more optimal posture.
5. Self massage
Doing self-massage on a regular basis can benefit you by releasing tight, overactive muscle knots and trigger points. There are a variety of tools you can use such as massage balls or the Theracane stick.
Learn Self massage techniques here
6. Hip Hinge from hips when bending down or picking things up
Hip hinging is an essential technique for bending down/picking things up. This means that you bend by “hinging” from your hips, instead of using your spine and back. With this movement you are less likely to throw out your back or cause injuries.
Hinging properly also ensures that you are engaging the right muscles such as your glutes, instead of loading your spine.
7. Adjust your sleeping position
Sleeping in a proper position is imperative for a healthy back. The 2 best sleeping positions are on your back and on your side. The worst sleeping position is laying on your stomach.
Sleeping improperly can aggravate your low back pain, as well as, cause neck stiffness.
How to sleep properly – 7 Tips
8. Warm up before any workouts or sport activities
Warming up your body for physical activities is crucial for avoiding injuries and back pain spasms. Take time to do some stretches as well light exercises to increase blood flow into your muscles, to prepare them to perform.
9. Take breaks from sitting every 30-60 min
Sitting in one position for too long is one of the main reasons for poor posture, stiffness and back pain. Our bodies were built for movement and so taking breaks to walk around or stretch every 30-60 min is extremely important. You can simply go get some sun outside, or refill your water – anything to get some much needed movement throughout the day!
10. Manage your stress/anxiety
Studies have shown that psychological health and the levels of stress/anxiety are directly correlated to back pain. Therefore you want to actively manage your stress. Taking up meditation, yoga or simply improving your relationships can calm your nervous system down and ease your pain.
Stress and its relation to back pain
Corrective Exercise Specialist (NASM-CES), Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT), Professional Dancer
As a long time back sufferer Leon found unique methods to alleviate his pain using natural methods including self massage, exercise/stretching and postural habits. He founded Backintelligence.com to empower others to fix their postures and ease their back pain from home.