For immediate relief, individuals can apply heat to the lower back for short time periods, notes Mayo Clinic. Heat stimulates blood flow and relaxes the muscles in the lower back. Medications, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen, also provide short-term relief for mild-to-moderate back pain.
When ice is applied within the first 48 hours after an injury, it may reduce inflammation and pain in the lower back, explains WebMD. However, individuals should apply ice and heat no longer than 20 minutes at a time. Some people find relief through exercise, reports Mayo Clinic. Yoga, for example, involves poses, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques that may provide benefits. If tense muscles are to blame, lower back pain may be alleviated with massage therapy.
Sometimes lower back pain is a sign of a nerve disorder. If lower back pain persists longer than a few days or continues to hurt when a person is resting, he should seek medical care, recommends WebMD. Other things to watch for include numbness in the legs and incontinence.
Lifestyle changes may prevent back pain from occurring. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, exercise can strengthen the muscles in the lower back and abdomen and improve flexibility. A healthy weight and proper posture also prevent back problems.