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How To Decrease Lower Back Pain

Sep 30, 2021

Lower back pain can be one of the most aggravating injuries. It’s hard to do much of anything when your back is sore, tight and/or in pain. Ever since a snowboarding accident when I was 19 years old, I have had lower back spasms two or three times a year and a though dealing with them has been rough at times, over the years I’ve learned some tricks and tips that greatly reduce pain and improve recovery time.

Decompression has been the most important factor for myself when recovering from a back spasm. Usually, my back spasms start from a simple movement such as putting an object into my car with my spine in a compromised position. This leads to a slight compression of my disks which then causes the surrounding muscles to tighten as a defensive response. After that, it can take a few weeks before I’m feeling 100% again.

When this happens, I find the most alleviating thing I can do is lay on my back with my legs up elevated to a point where my hips are hanging slightly. My back is still on the ground/bed but the stack of pillows or couch under my knees/shins takes the weight off my pelvis and lets the spine decompress. Often times if my back is sore and I take a quick nap in this position when I wake up there will be a noticeable decrease in pain and increase in range of motion.

Sometimes if lower back pain is present and you aren’t sure why (no injury or direct use) it could be originating from tight hamstrings. If you have been working your legs out and not stretching the tension can pull through your hips and cause lower back discomfort and pain. Stretching the hamstrings with a hurdle stretch or similar move can drastically improve lower back pain. Make sure you stretch easy and light to start. Us deep breaths and long holds. This is true for your gluts as well. Doing hip mobility exercises can also alleviate lower back tension depending on the cause. So, if you back is sore, try light stretching of you hamstrings and hips. If you feel any positive changes, continue lightly stretching every few hours.

Having good posture is one of the most important factors to preventing back injuries in the first place, though it is also important to keep in mind during the healing process to prevent further injury or prolonged recovery time. Beware of slouching and sleeping in twisted or uneven positions. Try to use ergonomic chairs and sleep on your back if possible.

Alternating heat and cold therapy as well as professional physical therapy are another tool you should use if possible.

Hopefully you never experience any serious back injuries in your life. If you do, hopefully these tips will help you on your road to recovery and minimize the discomfort and time between injury and when you feel back to your normal self.

-Stay hydrated and get good quality sleep

Brett (CPT)

Personal Trainer at Fitness Together Rancho Bernardo Personal Training Gym


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