How To Relieve Back Pain

How To Relieve Back Pain

Many people spend nights awake wondering how they can relieve back pain. Frustrated that they can’t put their shoes on, dance with their daughter or lift plates into the cupboard.

Back pain is a common musculoskeletal problem which causes loss of function, confidence and severe pain. 

80% of the population will experience non-specific lower back pain which is pain that is usually felt in the lumbar spine but doesn’t affect the legs. 

Things To Consider When Trying To Relieve Back Pain

Educate yourself or your loved one on pain and the brain.

Many people don’t take the time to learn the science about how and why we feel pain but it’s very important. Check out this page for educational videos this is important to understand that pain is an output of the brain and often doesn’t correlate with tissue damage.

If you are concerned that your back pain maybe associated with severe tissue damage then this can make pain much worse. Book in for your free discovery call because reassurance regarding your symptoms could get you on your way to recovery sooner. 


How To Relieve Back Pain: Sleep Pattern

In the modern world we are often so busy we forget the importance of sleep. Good sleep patterns are important for regulating our chemicals, improving our immune system and improving our decision-making.

You should aim to get 7-8 hours per night and understand that anything less than 6 hours is considered sleep deprivation and is likely to have serious health and mental health consequences.

If you are experiencing back pain staying in bed for longer than 8 hours can increase your risk so stick to 7-8 hours in bed and don’t lie in!

Keep moving

Gone are the days that we go to bed and ‘rest.’ Having experienced severe back pain myself I know that when you’re in severe pain the last thing you want to do is move but its important you do.

Even if it’s just small ‘wiggles’ or ‘sways’ of the pelvis to try and help the muscles to relax. One of the things that often holds us back is if we are scared to move because we are unsure if we will do harm or fear the pain.

The best recommendation I can make is to educate yourself and speak to a professional so they can guide you on the best course of action to recover. 


Pain Relief

In extreme pain, diazepam is sometimes prescribed as a muscle relaxant but as a physio, I believe pain relief should be used in conjunction with physio.

Too many people take very strong medication for too long when actually if they had support from day one they could have had the confidence to move earlier and relieve pain through movement.

Remember, sometimes we need these drugs to help us move but the key is to MOVE, the drugs are assisting you to do that. When taking low level meds like paracetamol and ibuprofen make sure you take them regularly. A course of one week can be very effective in helping you get over flare-ups. 

How To Relieve Back Pain : Heat/ Ice

Heat and ice advice varies.

Heat can relieve muscle spasm in the right cases.

Ice can ‘numb’ area, slowing conduction of the nerve and therefore stimulus in the brain. 

I usually recommend heat because ice can sometimes make the muscles tighten up. Jump on a discovery call for specific advice for your situation,


If your mattress is over 10 years old you may wish to consider changing it. I have seen people spend over £30,000 on mattresses with nil benefit and then have 3 sessions of physio which resolved it! So be careful don’t spend silly money before you have seen whether there’s a simple alternative instead.

People are different and you may have to play about the different toppers to see what suits you. A lot of companies allow you to return the mattresses if you don’t get on with it.


Yes, pillows can make a difference. We usually recommend 2 medium size pillows if lying supine (on your back) or on your side. Sometimes popping a pillow between your knees can help relieve pressure too. 

Positions To Ease Back Pain

For different types of back pain, different positions can aggravate symptoms. 

Sit to stand: If you’re getting pain from sitting to standing try to adjust your pelvic position. Avoid tightening before you get up. imagine your body like a chimpanzee’s and try to keep it really relaxed. Often the pain is made worse by tensing!

Sitting: If you’re getting pain in a sitting position try to adjust how you’re sitting. If you suspect a disc protrusion people often find relief from ‘perching’ This is where you sit on the edge of a tall surface like a table or against a wall . It’s not ideal but trust me when you’re in extreme pain you’ll look for anything to give relief!

Standing: Try to perform 10 glut squeezes. Make sure you’re not standing in a lazy position at end-of-range lumbar extension (lordosis). There are numerous back conditions that dislike standing and we treat them slightly differently. For more info book a discovery call.

Turning in bed: This is the one I used to dread. Waking up and that first turn. The reason that the back is painful is because it’s been stiff and in one position for a long period. It WANTS to move. So before you turn try to do little movements first to prepare the bag. Keep knees together and ‘log’ roll but be careful not to tense!


Physiotherapy Treatments For Back Pain

Physio is an excellent treatment for back pain. 

Reassurance and ruling out sinister pathology allow people to move forward with their recovery. Our professionals go through a detailed assessment to pick up any reasons that you may need onward referral. If you do we send you with a letter to your GP/ A and E to give clear evidence of what has been found in your assessment and our recommendations.

Many people have been referred on to rule out rheumatoid arthritis, hypermobility syndrome, suspected heart referral pain, osteoporosis and arthritis. Most people however will benefit from physio and we will provide a variety of treatments based on their presentation. 

This may include

  • Education
  • Advice on pain management
  • Education on pathology and time frames
  • Advise on return to work and safe return to sport
  • Soft tissue mobilisations and clinical massage
  • Taping
  • Acupuncture
  • Electrotherapy
  • Joint mobilisations
  • Specific stretches
  • Specific strengthening exercises 

If you or a love one is suffering from back pain book in for a free discovery call today. This is a 30 minute call with a physio where we can work out whether we are the right fit for you. Sometimes we need the help of professionals to help us achieve our goals quicker. 

Alternatively you can see all live availability here


Speak soon


Nicole And The Physio Crew Team