7 Simple Fixes for Back Pain

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
July 28, 2023
7 Simple Fixes for Back Pain

About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lives. Some simple changes can help. Here are seven simple fixes for back pain. 

When we have pain, we want relief right away. But resist the temptation to rely on drugs as your total solution.

The American College of Physicians advises doctors against prescribing opioids for back pain. The first remedies to try should be heat, massage, acupuncture, or a trip to the chiropractor. You might try drugstore painkillers, including acetaminophen. 

Once you’re not actively suffering, think about how to prevent the pain from coming back. About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lives.

Often, you’ll notice back pain when you’re doing something slightly unusual — carrying luggage, for example — and don’t suspect that everyday habits could be the cause. You can also feel pain in one area that is caused by a weakness in another.

For example, pain in the front of your shoulder might originate in your back, says Paul Ingraham, the author of and a registered massage therapist who specialized in difficult chronic pain cases for a decade.  

Some simple changes can help. Other changes will require more attention but are likely to improve your overall health. 


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Stand up

Weak buttock muscles might aggravate pain in your back, knee, or hip, says Chris Kolba, a sports medicine physical therapist and clinical instructor at The Ohio State University Wenxer Medical Center in Columbus.

The gluteal muscles in your rear absorb shocks and contribute whenever you are standing. If you spend a good deal of time sitting before a computer screen or behind a wheel, you’re more likely to have weak glutes and tighter hip flexor muscles. Other muscles in your body compensate and end up hurting. The same is true when you have weak abdominal muscles.

That’s why Kolba recommends that clients spend most of their time standing. You can try a stand-up desk and standing and pacing while talking on the phone or even while watching a movie or TV at home. Stand on buses and trains, and try to walk rather than drive whenever possible. 

Develop routines that mean you have to get up from an office chair. Put a printer out of reach. Instead of taking your coffee to your desk, walk to a window and drink while standing and looking out the window. Walk to a colleague’s desk instead of emailing.

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July 28, 2023

Reviewed By:  

Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA