What To Do When You Strain Your Back

You’ve strained your back. It could’ve happened in a number of ways…something as simple as hoovering, or picking up something heavy, bending over, turning around in an awkward position. What sets off the excruciating pain is hardly ever the real cause of the strain, but rather the little push that tips you over the edge.

So what do we do when we strain our backs? There are a number of factors we need to keep in mind, continue reading to find out…

Heat or Ice

Following a strain, it is important to ice the affected area, this reduces inflammation and also numbs the pain.  Be sure to wrap the ice, ice pack or frozen veg in a towel or cloth to avoid any damage to the skin, apply the ice on the injured area for 10 minutes at a time. 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off.

If the injury is a muscular issue, heat can be used to relieve aches & stiffness. Heat can be used in the form of a heat pad, hot water bottle or gel. However, you must be sure what kind of injury it is otherwise heat could worsen the problem. Be sure to consult us at Enfield Osteopathic Clinic, we will be able to advise you of the correct course of action.


We offer a variety of exercises for patients to complete at home to combat back pain as well as strengthen the muscles. Exercise helps awaken and activate the muscles which avoids the likelihood of future strains. It is also worth engaging in a regular exercise program that a qualified personal trainer can design specific to you and your current ability, strength training can dramatically improve the state of your body.

Mobilise & Stretch

Are you remembering to move around? A lot of pains and strains are caused from being immobile and spending too much time sitting. Whether you have strained your back or not, you should be mobilising & stretching every day. Our jobs & everyday responsibilities can cause us to stiffen up, you can reverse that with regular walks, yoga, pilates or simple mobility & stretch movements.


Could your shoes be worsening the issue? Double check that your shoes fit correctly and offer the correct support needed. For example, high heels can throw the body out of alignment. Read our blog on this for more info.

In contrast to that, flat shoes can also be damaging to the body. A podiatrist or foot specialist can point you in the right direction if you think your shoes may be the issue.


Take note of the place you spend the most hours of the day. Your job. Is your workstation correctly set up? Bad posture is one of the most common causes of back pain & strains. Ensure the computer screen is eye level, the chair is the correct height in relation to the screen & keyboard and that your feet are firmly planted on the floor. Placing a pillow in the curve of your back is also prevents overarching. 

Sleep positions

The way you sleep determines how you will feel when you wake up. You must ensure that your mattress & pillows are of a high standard and correctly support your body. If you have strained your back, place a pillow under your knees when sleeping on your back and between your knees when sleeping on your side. This should also be continued when the pain subsides as well to avoid any future episodes.

Reduce stress

Stress causes tension in the body, make sure your body is relaxed throughout the day. Take note of the position of your shoulders, if they are raised or hunched. Similarly, take note of the way you stand as well, is your back overarched or is it tucked in too much? Are you distributing your weight across both feet correctly or is there an imbalance there? Managing stress is important for many reasons, practises like meditation, yoga and exercise can also help with this.

Visit your osteopath

Finally, book your complimentary consultation with us at Enfield Osteopathic Clinic. We will be able to assess your body and provide the appropriate treatments needed to mend your back, release tension and get you moving around as normal.

Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash


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