When the Pain Hits: 5 Emergency Measures Against Lower Back Pain

1. Often it helps to realize some facts about back pain

Back pain usually has no threatening cause – especially if there are no warning signals for dangerous progressions (so-called red-flags, link). [1]

Much more often low back pain occurs due to overload, an unfavourable movement or simply stress.

Chances are very good that this sort of back pain will recede by itself. [2]

For many people, back pain that comes and goes is a part of life, just like colds, for example, which are unpleasant but also go away on their own.

2. Heat is often good for acute pain

Heat therapy can provide rapid relief as one of the first steps in a pain attack.

The heat improves blood circulation and relaxes the muscles, but both can also help with chronic pain, especially in the case of sudden pain. [3]

At home, for example, a hot bath or a heat cushion can quickly provide a remedy.

There are possibilities for on the go with thermal creams or thermal patches to keep the lower back region pleasantly warm. [4]

However, if the pain worsens due to heat, you should tell a doctor immediately as an inflammation could hide behind the pain!

3. Finding the right position: The psoas position often helps

Many people find the so-called psoas position pleasant when back pain suddenly sets in. [8]

With the psoas position, the legs are based on a base when lying on your back. The floor should be as warm and soft as possible.

The pad should be high and close enough to the body that there are two right angles between the back and thighs and also between the thighs and lower legs.

You can use a cushion or a stool as a base – or a gymnastic ball if the pain is not too acute.

If lying on your back feels uncomfortable, you can assume exactly the same position on your side – the so-called embryo position.

4. Medications can help for a short time, but do not cure back pain

In case of an acute back pain attack, many people opt for (mostly over-the-counter) medication.

In most countries, some painkillers are available without a prescription in pharmacies. However, this should not hide the fact that these drugs also have serious side effects and interactions with other drugs.

Therefore, even over-the-counter medicines should not be taken lightly due to back pain and should be consumed as short as possible. Ideally, the intake should be accompanied by a doctor or pharmacist.

Well-known painkillers such as ibuprofen, aspirin or Voltaren (diclofenac) belong to this group of drugs. They all have a similar pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effect.[4]

In the case of back pain, they often relieve pain and improve mobility, at least in the short term, and are therefore often the drugs of choice if there are no medical reasons for not taking them. [5]

However, because of their sometimes worrying side effects in the gastrointestinal tract or kidneys, they should only be taken as briefly as necessary – and the intake of these drugs should be accompanied by a doctor. [6]

If necessary, protective measures can also be taken against some of the side effects, such as the simultaneous use of drugs that suppress the production of gastric acid. These drugs can reduce the side effects in the gastrointestinal tract. [7]

Traditionally, paracetamol also plays a certain role in pain therapy for back pain, especially since it is a well-known drug that is available without a prescription.  However, because paracetamol at best has a weak effect against back pain and new studies point to sometimes serious side effects, the intake of paracetamol is controversial.

Therefore, new guidelines no longer recommend treating back pain with paracetamol. [1] It is important to note the following: Medicines do not “cure” back pain, but rather help to get back on the move. [4]

5. Extensive rest is usually bad for the complaints, therefore returning to exercise quickly is important.

Without a doubt, heat therapy, taking painkillers for a short period of time or a short period of rest can help you to overcome the beginning of a pain attack for the first time. But what to do when the pain gets less intense?

Experts agree: As soon as possible, you should start moving again. [9]

That’s easy to say – but if you do it, it’s usually a big step towards recovery. Careful stretching exercises, even gentle strengthening exercises can help.

Feeling like fresh air? Just taking a few steps in the fresh air can be a step towards recovery!


  1.  http://www.leitlinien.de/nvl/html/kreuzschmerz/kapitel-6
  2.  http://www.patienten-information.de/patientenleitlinien/patientenleitlinien-nvl/html/kreuzschmerz/kapitel-5
  3.  http://www.patienten-information.de/patientenleitlinien/patientenleitlinien-nvl/html/kreuzschmerz/kapitel-8#section-2
  4.  http://www.patienten-information.de/patientenleitlinien/patientenleitlinien-nvl/html/kreuzschmerz/kapitel-8#section-20
  5.  www.grvs.de/jahrestagung/abstracts/2010/pdf/burghardt-w.pdF
  6.  http://www.leitlinien.de/nvl/html/kreuzschmerz/kapitel-6
  7.  https://www.online-zfa.de/media/article/2013/03/15BFDE35-EFD4-4653-B9E6-F6D7B56C5967/15BFDE35EFD44653B9E6F6D7B56C5967_kostner_ebm_magenschutz_1_original.pdf
  8. https://www.tk.de/techniker/gesund-leben/sport/gesunder-ruecken/selbsthilfe-rueckenschmerzen-2007878
  9. http://www.patienten-information.de/patientenleitlinien/patientenleitlinien-nvl/html/kreuzschmerz/kapitel-8#section-0
  • Posted by Kaia Health Team on April 14, 2020
  • Posted in For Individuals, tagged with Musculoskeletal Conditions

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