Insight Comprehensive Therapy – From sleeping in a poor position to overexertion from exercise or lifting heavy objects, we’ve all experienced back pain from time to time. In fact, over half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year, resulting in loss of productivity, missing days of work, and diminished quality of life. Although back pain that is severe, persists for more than a few weeks, or includes numbness or weakness should be addressed by a healthcare professional as soon as possible, mild to moderate back pain can often be treated at home with a few best practices and techniques. Here are eight tips from our physical therapy team at Insight Comprehensive Therapy to help you address minor back pain symptoms at home.

Stay Active

Although it is important to rest after a back injury, one of the worst things you can do is remain sedentary. Prolonged rest can actually weaken muscles and extend your recovery time. Make an effort to stay as active as possible within your pain limits. Walking, light exercises, and swimming are all great ways to improve circulation and promote healing.

Try Stretch & Strengthening Exercises

Incorporating gentle stretch and strengthening exercises into your daily routine is another way to stay active and address back pain. Not only will this help improve your flexibility, but it will also allow your muscles to strengthen and promote healing. Aim for exercises that target the core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques, and back extensors.

Think About Posture

Poor posture is one of the most common causes of back pain. Make an effort to maintain neutral spine position while sitting, standing, and lifting. This means keeping your head, shoulders, and hips in alignment whenever possible. When sitting, you should aim to keep your feet flat on the floor, your knees at hip level, and your back supported without slouching. Using ergonomic tools, such as seating and desks, can be highly effective in helping to support your back throughout the day.

Consider Heat & Ice Therapy

Heat and ice are both great ways to manage pain and promote healing. As a general rule, apply ice or cold packs to the affected area for the first 48 hours to reduce inflammation. This also helps to numb the pain, but do not apply ice directly to the skin. Then switch to heat therapy with a heating pad or warm compress. This helps to relax muscles and increase blood flow.

Remember Proper Lifting Techniques

Whether you’re picking something up from the floor or are lifting something heavy, be mindful of your technique. This is especially important with large, bulky items! Remember to bend your knees and keep your back straight, lift with your legs (not your back), and avoid twisting while lifting.

Improve Sleep Quality

Poor sleep habits are one of the most common causes of back pain. We spend a significant portion of time in our beds, so you should invest in a supportive mattress and pillows that promote proper spinal alignment. Also try different sleep positions and choose one that helps to minimize your back pain. Keep in mind, one of the worst things you can do is sleep on your back! This position can strain the neck and lower back.

Keep Hydrated

You might not think of hydration when it comes to back pain, but drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day will keep your intervertebral discs hydrated and help you maintain spinal flexibility. Not drinking enough fluids can lead to stiffness and even more pain. Water is the best and most natural way to stay hydrated. Most adults should make an effort to drink at least eight glasses (64 ounces) each day to maintain healthy levels of hydration.

Listen to Your Body

Perhaps the most important advice to remember when dealing with back pain is to always listen to your body. This means being mindful of pain levels, taking breaks, identifying triggers that exacerbate pain, and knowing your limits. It is also important to be proactive and seek appropriate medical care if you have any concerns. Early intervention can lead to better treatment outcomes and a more favorable prognosis.

Treating back pain at home can often be a safe and effective solution, especially for mild to moderate cases. However, if you are unsure if your back pain requires medical attention, it is always best to err on the side of caution and visit a healthcare professional. They can help diagnose the underlying cause of your pain, develop a personalized treatment plan, and help you on your path to recovery. To learn more about treatment options at Insight, visit us online or call (810) 732-8336.


Q: How do I know if my back pain requires immediate medical attention?

A: Signs and symptoms that indicate your back pain may require immediate medical attention include severe or sudden onset of pain, pain accompanied by numbness or weakness, pain following a traumatic injury, loss of bladder or bowel control, and difficulty breathing.

Q: How long does it take to recover from back pain?

A: Recovery time for back pain varies depending on the cause and severity of the pain. In mild to moderate cases, pain usually improves within a few days to a couple weeks. Chronic back pain likely requires ongoing care and management strategies.

Q: What role does physical therapy play in treating back pain?

A: Physical therapy is often part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes primary care physicians, orthopedic physicians, and other specialists. A physical therapist will assess your condition and develop a personalized treatment plan to help strengthen the muscles supporting your spine, improve flexibility and range of motion, and recommend exercises and techniques to prevent future injuries.