How to Deal with Low Back Pain When You’re Stuck at Home

So you’re stuck at home? We wish that pain, stiffness, and physical problems would just go away while we’re waiting this thing out…but that’s not going to happen.

Fortunately, when it comes to problems like low back pain, you have some of the best tools you need to manage it right by your side. So we want to dive into some of the best ways to combat your back pain troubles while you’re stuck at home for any length of time.

This post is a supplement to the growing FREE content in our Facebook Group (below): Limitless Living Michigan. We encourage you to join this group and to take advantage of the community there so that you don’t let your injuries get worse while you’re stuck at home!

There has been so much information given to you (admittedly, from healthcare professionals!) about your back being “out of alignment” or your “hips being off”, that you have likely forgotten how amazing and capable your body is to do hard things.

So first… let’s get something straight – your spine is strong, resilient, and able to handle far more stress than what you’ve been told.

Study after study supports the fact that movement/exercise and time are usually the best medicine for lower back pain and problems. And yet, with what some of us have been told by our Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, or Physician…you’d think our spines were the verge of collapsing like what happens when that last JENGA block gets pulled out from the bottom!

A few pieces for you to take a deeper dive on this stuff if you wish:

Why MRI/CT Scan pictures of your spine don’t matter as much as you’ve been told.

5 Ways to Keep Weightlifting with Low Back Pain

Let’s try to move on from this negative and honestly harmful narrative, and instead explore some of the very healthy ways to maintain back health, combat back pain, and become stronger versions of ourselves.

The Role of “The Basics”

What we know about pain has evolve a lot over the past couple of decades. What is certain now is that pain is 100% an experience controlled by your nervous system — your brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.

The importance, especially during a time of quarantine or being stuck inside, of the BASICS of our physical health & wellness are incredibly important. And not just because they help our immune systems! Taking care of the BASICS can play a huge role in decreasing nervous system sensitivity, which for many of us can have a profoundly positive impact on the pain we experience during this time!

If ever there were a time to master the basics of your body’s health & wellness, it’s now!

  1. SLEEP…make an intentional effort to get more than 7 hours of sleep every single night. To help your sleep quality, shut off electronic devices and screens an hour before bed and substitute a book, some stretching, or a conversation with your significant other.
  2. HYDRATION…we’ve all heard this already – take your weight in pounds, divide it by two, and that’s how many ounces you should try to ingest daily. For me, that’s 186 lbs / 2 = 93 ounces. There are plenty of other formulae, but this one is easy and effective.
  3. STRESS…the power of mindfulness and meditation is nothing to joke about. As little as 5-10 minutes daily of meditation can have a profound impact on your stress levels, and can even positively impact your sleep quality. During this time, stress is hardly a rare thing! We all take our physical health so seriously, and yet our mental health goes unchecked much of the time. Make sure that, even while stuck at home, you’re connecting with people around you, meditating, and reaching out to a therapist or counselor if you’ve been meaning to! Don’t let your stress and mental health go unmanaged during this time – you are too important to this world to neglect it.
  4. EXERCISE… more on this below, but even the American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week. Your home environment might not allow for what a fitness center would, but there’s plenty of opportunity to stay active every. single. day.

Do the basics well. Even small changes in each of these 4 areas can make a big change with your pain!

Nerve Health

If nerves are the control center for pain, wouldn’t it be great to have some movements that helped nerves to calm down a little bit?

Fortunately, “nerve glides” or “nerve flossing” have been around for ages and are a bit of a secret weapon in dealing with things like sciatica, radiating pain, and low back pain for people who struggle with those things.

Here is our favorite (and easiest) variations of a sciatic nerve glide that you might want to try on your floor at home! We typically prescribe these to be done in 1-2 sets of 20 repetitions per leg, 2-3 times daily.

Lower Back Mobility or Stiffness

Differentiating between whether your back needs to be fed more “mobility” or “strength”-based movements is something that your Physical Therapist should be able to help you with, but we’ve put together a simple flow of some of the most common movements that we see helping those of you who feel that STIFFNESS is the main problem.

Recommended Dose:

  • Shoot for 1 round of each movements twice a day (once in morning, once in the evening)
  • Make 10-15 reps of each movement your goal!

Lower Back Strength

“You can’t go wrong getting strong”

This applies to everyone. You. Yes You!

The best possible way to make your body more resilient to the stress & movements that life will inevitably throw your way is to make your self stronger.

We see, on an almost daily basis, individuals from weekend warriors to professional athletes who benefit from sprinkling in some of the more simple movements for “core” and “back” strength into their routines.

Your spine is surrounded by a multitude of muscular structures, whose job it is to protect and support the spine while you move around. Don’t forget about your muscles with this simple flow of movements.

Recommended Dose:

  • Try for 3-5 rounds of each exercise
  • Shoot for 10-12 reps each

Our Take on “Core Exercises”

Our Favorite “Anti-” Core Exercises

We hope this is helpful for you to navigate some of the ways you can keep your lower back healthy while you’re at home!

We are always here for you if you need a further evaluation or deeper dive into your problem.

We have been doing Telehealth PT Evaluation & Treatment for over a year already, and would love to be able to give you some custom-tailored treatment ideas to take care of your back better while you’re at home. Tap that button below to learn more or setup your TelePT consultation!

As always, we’d love for you to connect with us on social media, and don’t forget to join our FREE Facebook Group below!

author avatar
Seth King
We help people feel confident and strong so they can return to the activities they love without pain or fear.

Dr. Seth King

PT, DPT, Owner/Founder of Limitless

We help people feel confident and strong so they can return to the activities they love without pain or fear.

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