There are several things you can do at
home to help reduce your pain. For example:
Rest. If your
back hurts a lot, take a break. But try not to let too much time pass before
you get moving again. Instead, return to your activities slowly, and avoid
things that make your pain worse. Studies show that bed rest doesn't relieve
back pain better than staying active. And bed rest of more than a couple of
days can make your back pain worse and lead to other problems, such as stiff
joints and muscle weakness.2
Use over-the-counter pain
medicines, such as acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) and
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (for example, Advil, Aleve, aspirin, and
Motrin). These can reduce pain and swelling. Be safe with medicines. Read and
follow all instructions on the label.
Use a heating pad or ice
pack. Heat can reduce pain and stiffness. Ice can help reduce pain and
swelling. You might want to switch back and forth between heat and cold until
you find what helps you the most.
Exercise. Ask your doctor or a
physical therapist about
what kinds of exercises you can do to stretch and strengthen the muscles in
your back, shoulders, and stomach. These muscles help support your spine.
Strong muscles can help improve your posture, keep your body in better balance,
decrease your chance of injury, and reduce pain.
Eat nutritious foods.
Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D may help prevent osteoporosis, which
can lead to compression fractures and back pain. For more information, see the
topic Healthy Eating.
Don't smoke. Smoking decreases blood flow and slows healing. If you
need help quitting, see the topic Quitting
Take extra care when you lift. When you
must lift, bend your knees and keep your back straight. Avoid twisting. Keep
the load close to your body.
diary(What is a PDF document?). Write down how your moods, thoughts, sleep patterns,
activities, and medicines affect your pain. Having a record of your pain can
help you and your doctor find the best ways to treat your
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
September 30, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this