Achy lower back? You’re not alone. Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints that send many people to the doctors’ office. But the good news is that, about 95 percent of cases involving lower back pain do not require surgical treatment. As we age, lower back pain becomes increasingly more and more common.
For many reasons, a lot of people tend to suffer from some kind of lower back pain. There are so many different things that cause lower back pain such as stress, pregnancy, poor posture, certain health conditions like multiple sclerosis or sciatica, and injuries. If you are very sedentary or overweight you may also find that you have lower back pain.
This pain is often an after effect of some underlying damage to the ligaments or muscles of your back. Prescription medications are usually given to people to relieve the pain and also reduce the inflammation. But long-term use of these medications can lead to stomach problems, and even kidney or liver problems. It’s not to say that you will develop these problems, but why take the risk if you don’t need to.
In some cases, some people find that the medication that they have been given doesn’t help. In these cases, the risks outweigh the benefits. However, if you are on the lookout for some simple home remedies to treat it, then, you are at the right place. Go ahead and read further to find some remedies to relieve the pain.
Effective Home Remedies for Lower Back Pain
Instead of popping antibiotics or painkillers, lower backache can be treated using natural ingredients such as garlic, turmeric, ginger etc. They does not only provide relief from backache but also promote the recovery process in case of chronic lower back pain by reducing inflammation. Let’s get started!
1. Cold Remedy for Lower Backache
When you first hurt your back, one of the best pain remedies is to ice the area. Injury to a muscle means that blood will rush to the site, bringing healing chemicals to ease the pain. Unfortunately, this leads to swelling, and that swelling leads to pain. Applying cold compresses constricts the blood vessels, and this reduces the flow of that blood. The reduction in swelling means that you will have less pain, and this is a great way to relieve lower back pain naturally.
How to Apply Cold to your Lower Back
- You can apply cold to your back using an ice bag with cubed ice, ice pack or ice massage.
- When using an ice pack that does not have real ice cubes, use a thin towel between the ice pack and the skin to prevent frostbite.
- Do not use cold longer than 20 minutes at a time. Use cold therapy for short periods of time, several times a day.
- Be sure the area goes numb, then make sure the skin returns completely back to normal before reapplying.
- You can elevate the affected area for best results.
- You can also use a towel soaked in cold water.
- Wring out the excess water and place the towel on your aching back for 15-20 minutes.
- Apply only for 15-20 minutes at a time.
2. Heat Therapy for Low Back Pain
Heat and warmth can provide relief to many types of lower back pains. When your pain is not traumatic in nature, you can apply heat therapy. A traumatic pain means pain due to back injuries because of an accident or severe back pain due to damaged and inflamed muscles such as when your back pains while you try to lift heavy objects. In such a case, heat can further aggravate the problem.
If your backache, especially lower back pain, is due to strains and over-exertion, it creates tension in your muscles and soft tissues around the spine. As a result, proper circulation is restricted and you experience pain. When you apply heat to your back, it dilates the blood vessels of the muscles that surround the lumbar spine. This increases the flow of oxygen to the muscles. Heat also decreases the stiffness and the increased flexibility gives you a sense of comfort.
How to Apply Heat to Your Lower Back
- Use moist heat to your back such as hot packs, baths and hot showers.
- Apply heat only for 15-20 minutes at a time.
- If moist heat doesn’t suit you, you can even apply dry heat. For this, you can use an electric heating pad but do not use it more than 20 minutes at a time.
- When using a heating pad, keep it on the low or medium heat. Never use it on the high heat setting.
- Don’t fall asleep while the heating pad is on. Always set an alarm to remind you after 20 minutes because, with the comfort, there is always a chance that you might forget.
- For hot pack, you can use a towel soaked in hot water. Wring out the excess water and place the towel on your aching back for 15-20 minutes.
3. Peppermint Oil
The soothing and anti-inflammatory nature of peppermint essential oil can give you quick relief from low back pain. Peppermint oil also exhibits antispasmodic properties, which can help in relieving muscle spasms.
- 5 to 6 drops of peppermint oil
- 1 tablespoon of any carrier oil (coconut or almond oil)
How to Use
- Mix a few drops of peppermint oil with a carrier oil of your choice.
- Apply this blend to the affected area.
- Do this twice daily.
4. Chamomile Tea to Relieve Back Pain
Chamomile is also known as herbal aspirin due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. These properties of chamomile can offer relief from pain, swelling and inflammation. Many people have found this herbal tea to be beneficial for a backache too. It also works to reduce muscle spasms and soothing nerves, chamomile may actually help you get rid of low back pain.
- Chamomile flowers- 1 teaspoon OR Chamomile tea bag- 1
- Hot water- 1 cup
- Honey (optional)
How to Use
- Place the flowers of the tea bag in pot.
- Pour hot water over it.
- Steep for about 10-15 minutes. If using tea bag, you may steep for about 5 minutes.
- Strain or remove the tea bag.
- Drink the tea.
- You may add some honey if you wish to sweeten it a little.
- Have 1-3 cups of chamomile a day.
5. Massage Therapy for Backache
Massage! sounds funny right? It has been used since ages to sooth the strained muscles all over the body. And this is good for a low backache too. Massage can very effectively reduce soreness and soothe your tired muscles. Due to massaging, your blood circulation improves and leads to a better flow of blood and oxygen to the muscles. Massage also relaxes the muscles as well as releases endorphins. Endorphins are brain chemicals that make you feel good.
How to Use Massage to Relieve Lower Back Pain
You need someone to give you a back massage.
- Use both the thumbs to apply gentle kneading pressure all along the spine muscles. But do not run the thumbs over the spine.
- Let the thumbs move in circular strokes going in and then upwards.
- While moving the thumbs in circular motions, at the spots where tightness is felt or it seems that there are knots in the muscles, knead gently there till the rigidity goes away.
It is, however, better to take help of experts who have formal training or experience in massaging. Massaging the wrong points or undue pressure on muscles may aggravate your back pain.
Fenugreek is quite popular for its natural anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have also found it to be helpful in relieving pain. This makes fenugreek one of the best natural home remedies for back pain relief.
- 1 teaspoon of fenugreek powder
- 1 glass of hot milk
- Honey (optional)
How to Use
- Take a teaspoon of fenugreek powder and add it to a glass of hot milk.
- Consume this.
- You can also add honey for flavor.
- You must do this once every night.
7. Epsom Salt Bath for Lower Back Pain
Epsom salt has magnesium and sulfate in it that is absorbed by your skin. Magnesium is important for muscles to be able to relax and helps to relieve pain. Lack of magnesium in many people affect their nerves, muscles and functioning of enzymes. This in turn leads to pain and also swelling which can be on your back too. It has also been linked to depression and anxiety.
Epsom salt has also been shown to reduce the need for pain medication after operations. Magnesium sulphate also draws out the toxins and excess fluids from the body through your skin. Epsom salt will not only reduce inflammation caused by injury but will also relieve stress and tension that aggravates a back pain.
Note: Epsom salt is not table salt which is sodium chloride. So be sure to look specifically for Epsom salt when purchasing it.
- Epsom salt- 1-2 cups
- Lavender essential oil (optional)- 6-10 drops
How to Take Epsom Salt Bath
- Fill your bath tub with warm water.
- Add Epsom salt to this and let it dissolve completely.
- If using lavender oil, add this too. Lavender oil will make it a more relaxing bath.
- Soak in this Epsom salt bath for 15 minutes. Staying too long in salt bath can make your skin too dry.
Epsom Salt Compress
If you don’t want to soak in a tub or perhaps don’t have one to soak in, you can still benefit from Epsom salt. You can use the plain Epsom salt or add essential oils and make a compress using a towel or even a bandage. This is also a more cost-effective way of using your essential oils.
How to Use
- Add a tablespoon or two of Epsom salt to some warm water.
- Add in a few drops of essential oil (optional).
- Stir to mix it until the Epsom salt is dissolved.
- Soak a towel or bandage in the mixture.
- Apply to your back for 30 minutes or until the towel or bandages cool down.
Precaution: Epsom salt baths are generally not recommended for those suffering from heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes. If you have any of these conditions, consult your doctor before using this remedy for backache.
8. Ginger for Lower Back Pain
The gingerols, shagols, and zingerones present in ginger are known for natural analgesic and muscle relaxing properties. They improve blood circulation to the pain areas to provide relief. It also contains high amounts of selenium which possess anti-inflammatory properties. It provides relief from pain caused by inflammatory conditions such as joint pains, sciatica, and others.
Whiles medications such as NSAIDs only block the formation of inflammatory compounds, ginger not only blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds. It also uses its antioxidant properties to reduce existing inflammation.
Ginger can be used in several ways for getting relief from low back pain. We have listed the best methods with a detailed description below.
To Use Ginger Tea
- Cut fresh ginger root – 1-2 inch piece root into slices.
- Bring 1- ½ cups water to a boil.
- Add the ginger.
- Let it boil for about 5 minutes.
- Strain and add honey.
- Have this ginger tea 2-3 times a day.
- Grate a 5 inch piece of fresh ginger and place in a clean cheesecloth.
- Tie up the cheesecloth and immerse it in hot water for 30 seconds.
- Let it cool a bit and place it on the painful area for 10 minutes.
- Use this compress at least 3 to 4 times a day.
- Repeat this 2-3 times a day.
Ginger and Epsom Salt
- Boil some water in a small pot.
- Add 2 tablespoons of freshly crushed ginger juice and a cup of Epsom salt.
- Let the mixture boil for a few minutes.
- Now soak a clean cotton cloth in the pot and squeeze out any excess water.
- Dab the cloth on the affected area and leave it onto for a while.
- After the towel cools off, re-soak and reapply it for a few times.
- Repeat this twice a day.
9. Garlic for Low Backache
Chronic inflammation is one of the main causes of pain. Garlic being a powerful anti-inflammatory food, helps to prevent and reduce back pain by relieving inflammation. High selenium content of garlic also inhibits the inflammatory responses in the body and helps to treat pain caused by arthritic diseases.
Chemical capsaicin found in garlic also possesses analgesic properties that neutralize pain and works as a natural painkiller. It also has a compound called thiacremonone in it which helps stop inflammatory responses within your body.
Garlic can either be used alone or in combination with other ingredients as an effective natural treatment for low backache.
Garlic can be consumed or applied topically in the form of garlic paste or garlic oil to relieve back pain naturally.
Using Garlic Alone
- Take 2 to 3 fresh cloves of garlic.
- Chew them thoroughly and gulp down with a glass of water or orange juice.
- Do this every morning for best results.
Note – You can also include crushed raw garlic into foods such as salad dressings, dipping sauces, etc.
- Crush 8 to 10 fresh garlic cloves to make a paste.
- Apply this paste evenly over the painful areas of the back.
- Cover with a clean towel and leave it on for 30 minutes.
- Wipe away the garlic with a warm wet towel.
- Apply this remedy several times a day for best results.
Garlic and Coconut Oil
The potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of coconut oil help to relieve back pain caused by arthritis. When used internally, it also works as a muscle and joint lubricant.
- Crush 10 cloves of garlic and add it to 60 ml of coconut oil.
- Heat the oil on low heat and fry the garlic cloves till they are golden brown in color.
- Strain the oil and store it in a glass jar.
- Use this garlic oil to massage your back.
- Leave it on for 3 hours and then wash off with warm water and soap.
- Repeat the process 2 – 3 times in a day.
Garlic and Basil Tea
Eugenol, the natural oil present in basil leaves has strong anti-inflammatory action that helps to ease back pain caused by arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
- Take a handful of fresh basil leaves and add it to a cup of boiling water.
- Add 3 to 4 cloves of crushed garlic to it and boil the water until it is reduced to half.
- Strain the water and let it cool down a bit.
- Drink this concoction 1 to 2 times a day.
10. Eucalyptus Oil for Lower Back Pain
Eucalyptus oil has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties among many others. These properties make this oil good for pain management including back pain. While you can always use eucalyptus oil without diluting, if you have a sensitive skin, it’s better to dilute it with some other oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil.
- Eucalyptus oil
- Coconut or jojoba oil (optional)
How to Use
- Take a few drops of eucalyptus oil.
- If using undiluted, apply it to your back where you have pain.
- If diluting, use 3-5 drops of eucalyptus oil with each teaspoon of carrier oil.
- Apply on your back and gently rub in a circular motion till the oil is completely absorbed in the skin.
- Repeat 2-3 times a day.
11. Turmeric for Back Pain
Turmeric which has been used as a spice in Asian cuisine since ancient times has proven anti-inflammatory properties. It contains curcumin which is responsible for its yellow color and is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Researchers have been looking into using it for conditions such as arthritis and the studies have shown that turmeric can definitely help.
Turmeric also effectively reduces pain. While large doses of turmeric can affect some people negatively, the effects are not dangerous as compared to those conventional medications. You can also take a lower dose which can will still be useful in the body. Turmeric, in fact, has many additional benefits, not just anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Use
Turmeric is quite a versatile spice so you can use it in a quite a few ways, sweet or savory. While you can use turmeric powder for back pain, you can also use the actual root. Both ways will help. Try both to see which is more effective for you. Fresh turmeric will be more flavorful.
You can use just use turmeric tea if you’d like or you can use it with other spices known to be anti-inflammatory too.
- For a single cup, you can use ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground turmeric, you can use half the amount of dry turmeric.
- Add this to boiling water and leave it to steep for 5-10 minutes (the dry turmeric takes less time to steep).
- The turmeric won’t dissolve, so you may want to strain it first if you would prefer that.
- You can drink it plain or add some lemon or some milk (dairy or plant-based) and/or some honey.
This drink is often used to relax before going to bed as well as relieving back pain. Though you can drink it at any time, if your back pain keeps you up at night, drinking turmeric milk an hour before bed can help.
- Heat up a cup of milk (dairy or plant-based).
- Add up to a tablespoon of ground turmeric.
- Add some honey if you want to sweeten it.
- For extra flavor, you can also add some cinnamon, or try a drop or two of vanilla extract.
If you are pregnant, it’s safe to drink a glass of warm milk with a pinch of turmeric for lower back pain as larger doses are not recommended. Don’t drink it every day. Every few days is safe.
Turmeric, when combined with bromelain enzyme found in pineapple also becomes more effective.
12. Pineapple for Back Pain
This is a tasty way to treat your backache. Pineapple has this enzyme called bromelain which is a natural anti-inflammatory. It is such a powerful pain reliever that athletes too use bromelain to manage sports injuries. Even doctors are using this enzyme for those who undergo surgery for their speedy recovery.
- 1/2 cup of pineapples
- 1 cup of water
How to Use
- Blend the pineapples with water.
- Consume this daily.
- Alternatively, you can also eat half a cup of pineapples.
- You must do this once daily.
Alternatively, you can also include pineapple in your diet to have bromelain enzyme. You may take bromelain supplement too.
Precaution: People who are on blood thinners or have peptic ulcers should consult their physician before taking bromelain supplements. This enzyme may also interact with certain antibiotics.
13. Basil Leaves
Basil leaves contain some important oils such as eugenol, citronellol, and linalool. These oils exhibit anti-inflammatory and also pain-relieving properties. These makes it very useful and effective to treat back pain.
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of basil leaves
- 1 cup of hot water
- Honey (optional)
How to Use
- Steep the basil leaves in hot water for 10 minutes.
- Add honey for flavor and consume this tea before it turns cold.
- Alternatively, you can apply basil oil.
- You can drink this tea 2 to 3 times a day.
14. Homemade Capsaicin Cream to Relieve Lower Back Pain
Capsaicin is found in hot peppers and chilies like in cayenne peppers. This component is used in many pain relieving ointments because it can relieve pain though temporarily. Capsaicin is capable of desensitizing you to pain. It, in fact, depletes substance P which is a neurochemical that transmits pain signal to your brain. You can even find capsaicin creams as an over-the-counter medicine for pain. So why not make one at home!
How to Make Capsaicin Cream at Home?
- Cayenne powder- 3 tbsp
- Any oil (Almond/olive/jojoba/coconut/grapeseed oil)- 1 cup
- Beeswax (grated)- ½ cup
- Jar with Lid
How to Use
- Mix cayenne pepper with oil.
- Heat the mixture using a double boiler for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the beeswax.
- Keep stirring until the beeswax melts.
- When all the ingredients have blended well, let it cool down.
- Once it cools down, store it in the jar.
- Keep the jar in the refrigerator.
- Apply this cayenne cream to your back where it aches. You may apply it daily or whenever needed.
Tips to Prevent and Also Reduce Lower Back Pain
- Don’t stay in bed too long. Because lying down for long periods weakens muscles, making them more prone to injury.
- Prop your knees up with pillows while sleeping but don’t lie face down.
- Sleeping on sagging mattress will increase back pain. Therefore invest in a good mattress that supports your entire back.
- Sleep with a pillow between your knees if you tend to sleep on your side.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Get professional massages that involve natural oils such as eucalyptus oil, almond oil, olive oil or coconut oil, etc.
- Use yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises to reduce stress.
- When sitting, make sure your lower back is well-supported.
- If you must sit for long periods, get up regularly and walk around in order to increase blood flow and flexibility.
- Try swimming laps, it tones and strengthens the back and abdominal muscles.
- Stretch regularly.
- When lifting, use your legs, not your back muscles, and keep the load close to your body.
- Quit smoking. Because the toxins in nicotine compromise the health of your spine.
Follow these remedies and tips. But if you don’t get relief after a week or if you have chronic pain immediately consult a doctor.
Have you tried any of these home remedies for back pain? Tell us which ones worked best for you!