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UNDERSTAND PAIN

Understand Your Back & Muscle Pain

Chances are your active lifestyle will occasionally be interrupted by back and muscle pain. In fact, the unexpected burden of back pain is perhaps more common than you might think. While our backs are generally strong and supportive, they’re also one of the body parts most vulnerable to pain. The good news is that more often than not, relief for minor back pain can be found within the comfort of home using simple self-care.

Aleve back and muscle hero

YOU CAN RELAX KNOWING RELIEF FOR MINOR BACK PAIN CAN MOST OFTEN BE FOUND IN THE COMFORT OF HOME.

THE BASICS OF BACK AND MUSCLE PAIN

What’s going on back there?

Your search for relief from back and muscle-related pain is a common one. Truth is that as much as 80% of us will experience back pain during our lifetime. It’s one of the most common reasons for doctor visits and work absences, and is one of the leading causes of disability around the world.

Thankfully, if the pain is minor there are steps you can take on your own to remedy the discomfort and even help prevent future episodes from interrupting your life. With simple home treatment and proper body mechanics, your acute back pain should resolve within a few days to a few weeks. If your pain is severe, gets worse, lasts longer than 10 days, or you have any questions about your condition, please consult your doctor right away.

As many as 80% of us will experience back pain, but most of the time you can put it behind you.

WHAT’S BEHIND IT?

Common symptoms of back and muscle pain

Aches and pain anywhere on the back, neck, shoulders and even down in the buttocks and legs is a not-so-subtle sign of back pain. Neck and low back pain are more common than upper and middle back pain due to the fact that the bones do not flex as much in this region, but pain can still be an issue with the muscles themselves. Frequent overall back and muscle pain indicators include:

  • Aching muscles
  • Sharp or stabbing pain
  • Dull pain
  • Pain that resonates down to your legs
  • Muscle tightness or stiffness

The 2 causes of back and muscle pain

Acute pain is the most common type of back and muscle pain, which can develop quickly and last six weeks or less. This is generally the result of mechanical issues or soft-tissue damage like muscle strain. Some of the most common causes for acute back and muscle pain include:

  • Poor posture (i.e. hunched over a smartphone, tablet or PC)
  • Prolonged sitting (places more pressure on the spine than standing or walking)
  • Lifting improperly
  • Heavy backpacks
  • Muscle sprain or strain
  • Injury / trauma
  • Obesity

The less common type is chronic back pain and generally lasts more than three months. If your pain is severe, worsens, lasts longer than 10 days, or you have any questions about your condition, please consult your doctor right away.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT

Finding relief at home

The majority of minor low back pain occurrences can subside with careful attention and at-home remedies. A bit of rest, applying a heat compress or ice pack, and over-the-counter medications like Aleve Back & Muscle Pain can likely have you comfortably back on your feet within a few days. Some of the more frequently recommended home remedies include:

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Limited rest

Although it’s always best to keep your body active, quality bed rest is quite helpful. Be mindful to limit rest to a few hours at a time and no more than a couple of days.

illustrated bottle of aleve
OTC pain medications

In addition to any of these home remedies, over-the-counter medications such as Aleve Back & Muscle Pain can aid in the relief of back and muscle pain by targeting it at the source. Aleve Back & Muscle Pain is indicated for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains when used as directed. Make sure to always check with your doctor before taking any medication.

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Ice and heat

Apply a cold compress or ice pack immediately after back pain arises to numb the area and help prevent/reduce swelling. Roughly 48 hours after the onset of pain, apply a heating pad or hot water bottle to soothe and relax muscles and increase blood flow to the affected area.

an illustrated bottle of aleve inside a yellow circle
Exercise / stretch (particularly core muscles)

Strong, flexible muscles are less susceptible to injury to begin with. Normal physical activity can help aid the pain, and helps prevent future problems with back and muscle pain. Be mindful to avoid movements that aggravate the pain.

Good posture can help with back and muscle pain management
Good posture

Poor posture can make back pain even worse, particularly if you remain seated for long periods of time. Try to sit upright, shoulders relaxed, with your body supported against the back of your chair. Also, try not to hunch over your keyboard, and make sure your feet remain flat on the floor.

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Stand more

As sitting for lengthy periods can place more stress on your spine, it’s important to take a break from the chair and stand on occasion.

TIPS YOU CAN USE RIGHT NOW

Chill first then turn up the heat

TIP 1 OF 4

To help reduce pain and swelling, apply ice wrapped in a towel early and often to the sore area for up to 20 minutes at a time, several times per day, for the first 48 hours. Avoid applying ice for more than 30 minutes at a time. Once swelling has gone down, apply heat to help relax muscles, relieve pain and reduce stiffness. Consider a warm bath as well.

Take a load off

TIP 2 OF 4

For the first 72 hours, take it easy on your sore back. Rest and over-the-counter medications like Aleve Back & Muscle Pain can help relieve minor pain and discomfort. Should your pain persist or even get worse contact your physician immediately.

Practice proper pillow position

TIP 3 OF 4

Pay attention to pillow position as your head and spine should be in alignment while sleeping. If your pillow elevates your head to the point that it becomes misaligned with your spine, try a new pillow. If you snooze on your back, you do not want your chin pressing into your chest. If sleeping on your side, you don’t want your chin pointing toward your shoulder.

Unload the extra cargo

TIP 4 OF 4

If you regularly carry a heavy backpack, purse, briefcase or extra body weight, this additional load—which our bodies were not designed for—can certainly place a burden on your back. Even sitting on an overstuffed wallet can cause spine and muscle misalignment and unnecessary pain. If this sounds like you, consider dropping the unnecessary baggage right away.