It usually comes unexpected, although you probably had a small voice in the back of your mind warning that you should not lift that weight, or that three hours driving non-stop is really too long… But you did it anyway, and your back ‘seized up’. When you strain your lower back, part of the healing will just involve time. However, there are several things that can speed up the recovery. In this blog I discuss how to heal more quickly when you’ve hurt your lower back.
Avoid all movements that hurt
Especially when your back hurts it’s important to be more careful with lifting, sitting for long stretches at a time, bending forward, etc. All the frequent daily movements that may hurt your back are discussed in my free “Keep Your Back Safe At Home Guide”. If you don’t have it yet, do subscribe to this blog and you will receive all the tips in your inbox.
Allowing your back to heal may also require a few temporary sacrifices, such as not going for a run this week or cancelling the tennis match you had planned.
Keep your lower back warm
Muscles relax when they are warm, so unless there is obvious inflammation, it is important to keep the painful area warm. For the lower back, I personally like a scarf or hot water bottle, but there are of course also some more modern ways, such as various ‘heat packs’ to keep the lower back warm. Also a warm shower or bath can do wonders.
Stay mobile and release the tightness
While avoiding the movements that hurt, keep moving in ways that feel fine. For example, get up from your desk or sofa at least once an hour, and go for short walks.
Initially, it may not feel like a good idea to stretch. Indeed, strong stretching may irritate the muscles even more. However, there are rest positions that can allow you to heal more quickly. These releasing positions relax the muscles, provided they feel comfortable for you, you do them at least once a day, and you focus on calm breathing.
Calm, mindful breathing is important in these rest positions, because this triggers the relaxation response in the body. Slow breathing will tackle the stress that either helped to cause your back pain, or the stress that resulted from being in pain. Here are three rest positions that can help you heal more quickly when you’ve hurt your lower back:
Hugging one knee
-Hold one knee in a relaxed way towards the chest while the other leg is extended on the floor. You can also hold your leg underneath the knee if your knee doesn’t like the pressure.
-Roll your head from side to side slowly, with the breath: exhaling while you roll the head to the side and inhaling to roll it back to centre.
-Hold each leg in this way for about a minute.
Avoid the positions below when you suspect a herniated disc, when you have shooting pain down your leg. If this is the case, simply rest in the most comfortable position, possibly with the legs extended or lying on your front. Private yoga therapy sessions can be very effective for back pain caused by herniated discs. Find out more here: https://beneyoga.co.uk/back-pain/
Hug both knees – apanasana
-Place one hand on each knee and bring both knees a little closer to the chest when you exhale. Make sure not to lift the lower back off the floor.
-Inhale and bring the knees further away from you, with the arms extended. Repeat for about a minute.
If it is comfortable, rest with your legs on a chair, bent 90 degrees, maybe with a cushion under your head.
-Place your hands are on the abdomen and simply observe the movement underneath your hands when you breathe. Give your mind and body at least 5 minutes to rest in this way. 10 or 20 minutes is even better.
Finally, to keep the lower back stronger and less prone to strains, it is important to keep the abdominal muscles strong. How to do this in a gentle way with a painful back is the subject of my 5 video sessions. Try the first one for free here.
Book your tailored yoga therapy
Few people know that yoga therapy can work wonders if you have back pain. A regular yoga class might make your back pain worse, as it is bound to include poses that are not helpful. With private yoga therapy classes you are given the movements and positions that target your particular cause of back pain. My back pain package also gives you loads of extra advice, such as how to stretch effectively and improve your posture. It further teaches you how to strengthen weak areas, how to de-stress, etc. This yoga therapy programme can compliment your favourite sports, as well as physiotherapy or other back care programme that you are already engaged in. The yoga therapy sessions are available online or in person. So why not contact me here for more information: https://beneyoga.co.uk/contact-for-yoga-classes-in-chiswick/ .
With these tips I hope you now know how to heal more quickly when you’ve hurt your lower back. Good luck!