|Freeze pain with ice|
Icing your back for 5 minutes at a time over a couple of days can prevent swelling and soothe nerves. Try using water frozen in a paper or plastic cup to get at the point of pain.
|Stretch out pain|
A gentle stretch can work pain out from a back muscle spasm. As you lie on your back, bring your knees up to your chest and hug them with your arms. Hold the position until you feel like relaxing, then relax. Repeat until the pain is gone or reduced.
|Take an anti-inflammatory|
Inflammation is common with back pain, and both aspirin and ibuprofen decrease inflammation.
|Use a cushion|
When sitting put a lumbar roll - a foam tube 4 to 5 inches in diameter available from most medical or sports shops - behind the small of your back just above the belt line. A small, firm cushion can also be used. Both are especially good when driving.
|Take regular breaks|
Taking breaks from sitting help prevent "compression forces" from damaging your back. Take frequent breaks from sitting by standing and bending backward several times. Do the same when you have to stand in a bent over position, as when you're vacuming or working over your car.
Spend some time choosing a chair which provides lumbar support and is the right height. When your feet are on the ground your thighs should remain horizontal. Use a chair that has armrests to take some of the pressure off your back. Seats that adjust, like recliners and power car seats, can also help prevent back problems.
|Choose a pillow|
You spend about one-third of your life with your head and shoulders propped up at an unnatural angle by a pillow. A pillow needs to be firm enough to keep its shape and to support the lower neck when you sleep on your side.