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6 Solutions to Severe Back Pain

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Jillian Thaw on October 13, 2021
  • woman-with-shoulder-pain
    Find the right relief for severe back pain.
    More than 30 million Americans experience back pain from time to time. Causes of back pain range from mechanical problems, like your posture, to acquired conditions, like osteoporosis or arthritis–including a severe form of arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis (AS). AS is a hereditary immune disease that’s more commonly found in men. AS usually appears in the form of back pain and stiffness, but it can eventually lead to a fusion of vertebrae, which can handicap movement, mobility and flexibility. If your back pain does not subside, be sure to see your doctor to rule out serious conditions like AS. In the meantime, try these solutions to alleviate the stiffness and pain.
  • young-woman-doing-pilates
    Solution 1: Exercise
    Low-impact activities like Pilates, stretching, yoga and tai chi may relieve back pain, as they focus on enhancing breathing techniques and building the core muscles, strengthening the spine, abdominals and hips. Consult with your physician or a licensed fitness professional to better grasp the activities that will suit you and your fitness level.
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  • man-walking-with-dog-in-meadow
    Solution 2: Move – Even for a Bit
    As our daily activities, workplace and even home tasks become more sedentary (we can order groceries for delivery now!), the amount of time we sit, lay down or rest has increased. Avoid sitting for extended periods of time; get up to loosen stiffness in your body, walk for a bit, or do some gentle stretching. The more sedentary we are, the weaker the muscles around our spine become. Movement will keep the muscles engaged and activated, which will offer more support to the vertebrae.
  • Running on the beach at sunset
    Solution 3: Check Your Shoes
    Sky-high heels, heavy boots, too-tall wedges or even incorrect shoe sizes can contribute to lower back pain. Remember, your feet are the foundation for your body. If you have any foot injury or pain, that pain can travel up and disrupt the balance and alignment of your core and spine. Consult your doctor to find out if a certain type of shoe can help your balance. Or, invest in cushions, comfortable shoes, or special inserts.
  • man-sitting-at-desk-using-computer
    Solution 4: Sit Up Straight!
    Was your mom or dad quick to tell you to sit up straight and avoid slouching? Turns out, it was medically sound advice! When we slouch, our spine and shoulders are not correctly aligned, which can cause pain to the bones, vertebrae and muscles of our core.
  • physical-therapist-working-on-athletes-back
    Solution 5: Physical Therapy
    For those with more common, more severe or prolonged back pain, physical therapy may be a great way to help remedy the pain. Talk to your physician to see if physical therapy may help. Therapists can offer a variety of treatments, from exercise plans to specialized treatments to medicines.
  • Female doctor talking to a patient
    Solution 6: Consult Your Doctor
    As with any chronic pain, it is vital that you reach out to your doctor. While certain home remedies and exercise may alleviate pain, there could be lingering issues that your physician will be able to diagnose.
6 Solutions to Severe Back Pain
  1. Back Pain Prevention. American Chiropractic Association.
  2. Ankylosing Spondylitis. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
  3. Lower Back Pain Health Center.
  4. Ankylosing Spondylitis. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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Last Review Date: 2021 Oct 13
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