Pain in lower back: The relaxation exercise proven to lower back pain severity

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Pain in lower back usually subsides within four to six weeks but can it stretch on for months if not years. Many learn to live with the pain but this approach is wrong-headed. In addition to affecting your quality of life, you can make symptoms worse by not addressing it.

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One of the most important things you can do is to keep moving and continue with your normal activities as much as possible.

Naturally, as the NHS points out, this may seem counterintuitive but people who remain active are likely to recover quicker.

Different exercise approaches have been studied to ascertain what works best for back pain.

Research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine makes a strong case for trying yoga.

READ MORE: Lower back pain: Exercise this many times a week to ease lower back pain

Pain in lower back: The relaxation exercise proven to lower back pain severity

Lower back pain treatment: Yoga was shown to greatly reduce back pain severity (Image: Getty Images)

The study found that low back pain sufferers who completed a 12-week yoga program reported less pain and better quality of life compared with those who received standard care, such as medication, physical therapy, and exercise.

The study specifically looked at military veterans in their early fifties – 74 percent of whom were men, who had experienced chronic lower back pain for at least six months.

The 12-week program consisted of two hour-long instructor-led yoga sessions per week, with home practice encouraged.

The sessions emphasised poses to stretch and strengthen the core and improve joint mobility.

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Relaxation and breathing techniques helped to reduce tension and pain perception.

The yoga group reported lower pain severity and fatigue and found that their low back pain interfered less in their daily lives compared with the other group.

The researchers also found that only eight percent in the yoga group used opioids to control their pain by the end of the study, compared with 22 percent at the beginning.

How does yoga help back pain?

According to Harvard Health, the practice helps to stretch and strengthen muscles that support the back and spine, such as the paraspinal muscles that help you bend your spine, the multifidus muscles that stabilise your vertebrae, and the transverse abdominis in the abdomen, which also helps stabilise your spine.

Pain in lower back: The relaxation exercise proven to lower back pain severity

Back pain: Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) may help (Image: Getty Images)

In addition, relaxation (an essential component in yoga) plays a key role in easing the pain as muscle tension caused by worrying about your condition may make things worse, explains the NHS.

If you are looking specifically for psychological remedies for back pain, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you manage your back pain better by changing how you think about your condition, says the health body.

“While the pain in your back is very real, how you think and feel about your condition can make it worse,” it explains.

Short-term relief

If you are looking for short-term remedies for back pain, there are a number of self-help tips worth trying.

Pain in lower back: The relaxation exercise proven to lower back pain severity

Self-help tips: Apply heat or cold treatments to your back (Image: Getty Images)

“If you need pain relief, take over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) – for example, ibuprofen,” advises Bupa.

You should only take these medicines for a short time, not for long-term back pain, the health body suggests.

You may also want to try applying heat or cold treatments to your back, just don’t put ice directly on your skin, the health site says.

“If you sleep on your side, you may find it helps to sleep with a small cushion between your knees. If you sleep on your back, try some firm pillows under your knees,” it adds.


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