Wisconsin River Orthopaedic Institute - Health Library
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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Self-Care for Low Back PainDolor lumbar: Autocuidados

Self-Care for Low Back Pain

Most people have low back pain now and then. In many cases, it isn't serious and self-care can help. Sometimes low back pain can be a sign of a bigger problem. Call your doctor if your pain returns often or gets worse over time. For the long-term care of your back, get regular exercise, lose any excess weight and learn good posture.

Man lying on firm mattress

Take a Short Rest

Rest your back for a day or two to begin healing. Use a firm mattress or the floor. Have your lower back firmly supported with a small pillow or towel. Keep your knees slightly bent, with another pillow under them. Every few hours, get up and walk as much as you can.

Reduce Pain and Swelling

Cold reduces swelling. Both cold and heat can reduce pain. Protect your skin by placing a towel between your body and the ice or heat source.

  • For the first few days, apply an ice pack for 10-15 minutes every hour while you're awake.

  • After the first few days, try heat to ease pain.

  • Over-the-counter medications can help control pain and swelling. Try aspirin or an aspirin substitute, such as ibuprofen.

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Exercise

Exercise can help your back heal. It also helps your back get stronger and more flexible, preventing any reinjury. Ask your doctor about specific exercises for your back.

Use Good Posture to Avoid Reinjury

  • When moving, bend at the hips and knees. Don't bend at the waist or twist around.

  • When lifting, keep the object close to your body. Don't try to lift more than you can handle.

  • When sitting, keep your lower back supported. Use a rolled-up towel as needed.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • You're unable to stand or walk.

  • You have a temperature over 101.0°F.

  • You have frequent, painful, or bloody urination.

  • You have severe abdominal pain.

  • You have a sharp, stabbing pain.

  • Your pain is constant.

  • You have pain or numbness in your leg.

  • You feel pain in a new area of your back.

  • You notice that the pain isn't decreasing after more than a week.

Publication Source: American Academy of Family Physicians

Publication Source: U.S. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Online Source: American Academy of Family Physicians

Online Source: U.S. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Date Last Reviewed: 2005-10-20T00:00:00-06:00

Date Last Modified: 2006-08-31T00:00:00-06:00

Contact Wisconsin River Orthopaedic Institute at 715.424.1881 for your orthopaedic needs. For your convenience, you can fill out our online Request an Appointment form to book your consultation.

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For your orthopedic needs, contact Wisconsin River Orthopaedic Institute at 715.424.1881 . For your convenience, you can fill out our online Request an Appointment form to book your consultation. We...
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