Lumbago – Tips to Relieve Pain and Discomfort

Lumbago is the most common form of low back pain. It is caused by cramping of the spinal muscles, joint dysfunction, ergonomics, exercise, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, injuries and trauma to the lower back and/or surrounding tissues/muscles, sprains and strains, and so forth. Pain can radiate to other parts of the body including the upper legs (i.e. sciatica – where the sciatic nerve may become compressed and there is electrical shock type of pain). On average, 5 out of 10 Canadian suffer from. Up to 85% of working people will experience lumbago during their lifetime. Research has demonstrated that opioids are not effective in treating and managing lumbago. Instead, patients are encouraged to use manual therapy (i.e. Massage Therapy, Physiotherapy), physical activity, psychological therapies (i.e. support groups, chronic pain clinicsā€™ group sessions), and self-management (i.e. limiting exposure to triggers, not lifting more than 10lbs). There is less emphasis on the pharmacological and surgical approach for chronic lumbago.

No matter what the cause of lumbago, here are a few suggestions to help relieve pain and discomfort and potentially prevent future complications:

  • Maintain correct posture
  • Use ice or heat (i.e. <72 hours use ice, >72 hours use heat)
  • Maintain correct posture while sitting
  • Stretch your muscles
  • Strengthen your core muscles
  • Invest in ergonomic office chair
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Safeguard your back while lifting
  • Rest your back after prolonged bending
  • Protect your discs immediately after waking (i.e. maintaining a straight back for 1-2 hours after waking allows your discs to regain their normal pressure and withstand loads more effectively)
  • Stretch your hamstrings
  • Stay active
  • Get a massage
  • Wear proper footwear (i.e. orthotics)
  • Sleep on a quality mattress
  • Consider OTC (over the counter) pain relievers for acute pain or flare-up (i.e. Ibuprofen)



Additional resources:

The Canadian Chiropractic Association (

The Centre for Effective Practice CORE Back Tool (

The Mayo Clinic (