Coping With Lower-Back Pain Flare-Ups at Home

Back pain can be caused by a combination of factors including poor posture, sedentary lifestyle, muscle imbalances, or even stress. Here are some tips to help you find lower-back pain relief at home. 

4 min read

Lower-back pain is tricky. It’s not always caused by a major accident or injury. In fact, most of the time, it creeps up on you gradually, eventually impacting your ability to engage in the activities you love most.

Back pain can be caused by a combination of factors including poor posture, sedentary lifestyle, muscle imbalances, or even stress. But no matter what’s causing your pain, or how severe it has become, you don’t have to succumb to it. There are many things you can do to achieve lower-back pain relief right at home including light stretches, easy exercises, and proper ergonomics.

Here are some tips to help you find back pain relief at home.

Turn up the heat

Heat therapy can be one of the easiest ways to get lower-back muscle pain relief. The warmth from a hot bath, heating pads, warming creams, or heat patches applied for just 20 minutes a day can improve blood circulation, relax your muscles, calm painful muscle spasms, and reduce stiffness.

Have you ever noticed your pain flare up in the winter when it’s cold, and ease up during the warmer months? That’s because cold weather causes decreased circulation, triggering muscles and tendons to contract and stiffen up. Heat reduces cortisol levels in the blood and produces relaxation chemicals, lowering stress and sensitivity to pain.

Important: If your pain gets worse with heat therapy, tell your doctor. It may be an indicator of inflammation.

Keep your cool

The tricky thing about lower-back pain, especially when it flares up, is that worrying about the pain itself can actually cause more back pain. Generally speaking, back pain isn’t dangerous (that is, when there aren’t any red flags). So, if you notice yourself worrying about, or focusing too much on your pain, it’s a great time to practice mindfulness, meditation, and yoga for lower back pain relief.

One way to practice mindfulness is by focusing on staying in the present moment as opposed to worrying about “what if.” Certain things are out of your control, but the anxiety that surrounds your pain is something that you can get in front of. How you address this anxiety can have a big impact on your back pain and overall health.

Here are some tips to help you find calm in the chaos.

Relax your back

If you’re dealing with chronic back pain, meditation can help – a lot. In fact, the February 2022 issue of the journal Pain Medicine revealed the results of a study proving meditation therapy as a safe and effective approach to helping manage chronic back pain. Participants saw a significant reduction in back pain, and reported feeling an improvement in overall quality of life.

Here are a few relaxation exercises, recommended by Kaia’s team of Physical Therapists, that can help you calm your mind and relax your muscles, staving off future flare-ups as you work toward long-term pain relief.

Not moving is worse for back pain in the long run. Plus, exercise can help stave off future flare-ups.

Talk back to pain flare-ups

If your back pain has recently flared up, try the Psoas Position, which can easily be done at home. The psoas (pronounced “SO-az”) is a muscle that helps keep your spine stable. All you need is an exercise mat (or towel) and a low stool, tall cushion, or exercise ball.

How to do the Psoas Position

  1. Lie on your back on your towel or exercise mat.
  2. Bend your knees and drape your lower legs on the stool/cushion/ball
  3. There should be two right angles in this position: one between your back and thighs and the other between your thighs and calves
  4. Relax and hold for two minutes (or no longer than three minutes). If this position feels good to you, it’s OK to repeat it a few times as long as you make sure that you hold it for no longer than three minutes each time.

Note: If lying on your back is uncomfortable, try the same position on your side.

Exercise to reduce chronic back pain

We’re big champions of exercise here at Kaia. Why? Because not moving is worse for back pain in the long run. After a flare-up, it’s important to start exercising again, even if you have to start slowly. Not only will exercise give you a well-deserved dopamine release, it will also help you build muscle strength and flexibility, reduce fatigue, minimize pain sensitivity, and decrease inflammation – all of which can help you achieve lower-back pain relief, if you’re willing to give it a shot.

Need some help getting motivated? Here are seven tips to help you stay on the move.

Relief from lower-back pain

When you’re juggling a lot in your life, you might notice direct effects on your back. Luckily, there are things you can do to cope with back pain at home including relaxation techniques, lower-back pain exercises, and treatments like heat therapy. See what works best for you!

For more information on how Kaia’s digital-first therapy can help you manage chronic back pain, visit kaiahealth.com

Further Reading

  • A woman sits in front of a laptop and stretches her neck.

    Make Your Work Area Work for You

    Working doesn’t have to be a pain. Read on to find out what can cause pain when sitting at your desk. We’ll also give you tips on how to take care of your body to avoid desk-related pain.
    6 min read
  • A woman stretches her arm while small dots highlight points along her body.

    Digital MSK Hybrid Coaching Model

    Kaia Health’s hybrid coaching approach blends automated technology with human coaching to maximize therapeutic effectiveness, user experience and engagement while reducing medical spend and removing barriers to exercise.
    5 min read