For the first day or two of pain, take it easy. But as soon as you can, ease back into your normal activities. Lying down for too long can make back pain worse. Sitting can make it worse too.
Here are some tips that can help.
- When you're resting, change positions every 30 minutes.
- Try to avoid too much bending, heavy lifting, or reaching.
- When you sit, place a small pillow or a rolled-up towel in the curve of your back for support.
- If you stand still for a period of time, try putting one foot up on a stool or changing positions every few minutes.
- Get gentle exercise, such as walking. If you can, walk for 10 to 20 minutes at a time every 2 to 3 hours.
- Try heat or ice to ease back pain. Use what works best for you.
- Use over-the-counter pain medicine as needed. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen seem to work best for low back pain. But if you can't take NSAIDs, you can try acetaminophen.
Current as of: March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Joan Rigg PT, OCS - Physical Therapy