When you're struggling with a sore back, even just a little relief can help with inflammation and mobility, giving you the chance to go about your day with as little pain as possible. Because back pain is a pretty common problem, there are a ton of excellent lower back pain relief products out there if you know what to look for. But what should you look for, according to a doctor?
Dr. Navya Mysore, a board-certified physician at One Medical in New York City, says, "At least 80% of Americans will experience low back pain in their lifetime. The most common reason for lower back pain is mechanical which is often caused by muscle sprains or strains due to sudden movements, posture, or lifting heavy objects with improper form." Whether you're dealing with chronic inflammation or you've triggered a fresh injury, you want to consider a mix of products that immediately relieve pain as well as products that will prevent pain in the future.
For both, Dr. Mysore has a few suggestions. She says, "There are many things you can do to help alleviate the pain at home without medication. It's helpful to ice your lower back muscles for the first 48 to 72 hours and then switch to alternating with cold and hot packs." To help with long-term prevention, she suggests finding ways to help your body relax. "That might not be lying flat on your back but could be on your side or with a pillow wedged between your knees on your side," she says. "Epsom salt baths can [also] be helpful to loosen tight muscles as well as a magnesium supplement."
If you aren't sure where to begin, I've got you covered. Here are some of the best lower back pain relief products on the market to help you get — and stay — pain-free.
1. This Cooling Gel That's Recommended By Doctors
This clinically-recommended gel uses the power of menthol, combined with an aloe base, to quickly soothe your back as soon as you apply it. The cooling effect lasts for hours to relieve tension in your muscles. Plus, this formula is free of parabens and all non-steroidal anti-inflamatory drugs (NSAIDs). Beyond lower back pain relief, Amazon reviewers credit this gel with relieving pain and tension in their arms and legs, as well.
According to one reviewer: "Best product for my back and sciatica pain, helps more than any pain pill. They changed the gel a little bit so the scent isn't overpowering and it's much easier to apply."
2. This Reusable Pad That Ices Your Whole Back
Thousands of Amazon reviewers rave about this huge gel pack that covers your entire back. The inside is filled with a gel that gets cold after a few hours in the freezer, yet this pack won't get wet and slippery like a traditional ice pack. No medication, no ointments required — just place this reusable pack onto your muscles for lower back relief. When it warms up, you can place it back into the freezer for a second round. This gel pack comes in three different sizes so you can find the perfect one for you, as well as a two-pack for more value.
According to one reviewer: "This is an excellent product. I have several athletes in my family and we have a freezer full of gel packs and we've never found one that satisfied us all.... until now. This product is soft - which is a big issue when you pull a frozen pack out of the freezer - yet it holds its chill forever. HIGHLY recommend this product."
3. This Extra-Large Pad That Heats Up Fast
Once you've iced, grab this extra-large heating pad to help relieve any lasting pain. It features six heating options and warms up in seconds for immediate relief. Plus, the pad itself is made from microfiber which is comfortable and soft, and the internal heating wires are super thin so you don't feel them at all. And if you're worried about it overheating, this pad also features auto shut-off technology to keep you safe.
According to one reviewer: "This is a great heating pad! It does a great job at loosing up my back in the morning and alleviating my morning pain! It prepares me for my day. I would recommend this heating pad to anyone!"
4. This Heated Massager That Gets Deep Into Muscles
For deep muscle pain, this Shiatsu massager is an absolute must. For one, it features four nodules that move in different directions and at a variety of speeds to loosen up tight muscles from every angle. The ergonomic design of this pillow massager allows you to easily place it on your lower back no matter where you're sitting. Whether you're relaxing on the couch or sitting upright in your office chair, this genius little device literally has your back. Over 16,000 Amazon reviewers have weighed in and many report this is a great massager for all types of back pain.
According to one reviewer: "It works incredibly well. Its size, its shape, its profile, all contribute to it being well-suited to target specific problem areas of the body. It can be placed in so many positions, it can reach even the harder to reach places like the back of the neck or the lower back area. I'm happy to say I'm starting to feel results."
5. This Epsom Salt Soak That Reduces Aches & Pains
This relaxing epsom salt is an excellent way to reduce lower back pain at the end of the day. To use, just add a cupful of the salts right into your bath and give them a moment to dissolve. The magnesium sulfate works as a natural muscle relaxant to help you truly unwind. And for only $9, it's a total steal. Nearly 10,000 Amazon reviewers have tried it out and given it rave reviews.
According to one reviewer: "This is my bath-time go-to for relaxing achy muscles. It's a great price and delivered to my door so I don't have to carry 20 [pounds] of salts up the stairs. Definitely will keep buying and highly recommend."
6. This Acupressure Mat That Naturally Relieves Muscle Tension
Just 10 minutes a day lying on this acupressure mat can help prevent tight muscles and painful flare-ups. Here's how it works: Both the mat and pillow feature hundreds of stiff, plastic nodules that press into specific points to trigger your muscles to release. You can lie on this mat for longer to release super painful muscle knots, or you can use it to loosen up your back before it gets tight and painful.
According to one reviewer: "I too was skeptical about this mat of sharp plastic. But, having chronically tight shoulders, the $20 price tag seemed worth a shot. The first 2-3 minutes feel like fire torture: everything hurts and starts to burn. After the initial feeling of being stabbed subsides, the muscles warm and just relax into the mat. My back and shoulders are noticeably looser after a session."
7. This Lumbar Support Pillow That You Can Use At Your Desk
To prevent back pain from creeping up throughout your workday, this memory foam pillow is a great option. It's designed to fit most standard office chairs and features a keyhole cut out in the back to relieve any pressure from your tailbone and spine. It's also ergonomically designed to keep your comfortable all day long, and the insert is made from high-density memory foam that won't lose its shape over time.
According to one reviewer: "Buying what I lovingly refer to as my comfy butt pillow was possibly the best decision I’ve ever made. This feels like you’re sitting on the most supportive, yet fluffy cloud while cherubs play harps to your cheeks. Your posture greatly improves — something I sorely needed — and it DID actually help with my back pain."
8. This Foam Knee Pillow That Supports You While You Sleep
You can't beat this ergonomic knee pillow when it comes to sleeping pain-free at night. It's made from high-density memory foam that supports your knees, hips, and lower back as you snooze. The unique design helps to keep your spine in a neutral position, giving tight muscles a chance to finally relax and heal. It even comes with a breathable, removable cover that you can easily toss in the wash. Over 10,000 Amazon reviewers have tried this out as a solution to body pain, sleeping troubles, and more.
According to one reviewer: "I feel like my hips are finally aligned when I sleep on my side. I've been sleeping very well and not having shooting nerve pain down my right leg as I tend to have most of the time. This is a fantastic pillow and I highly recommend it."
Dr. Navya Mysore, a board-certified physician at One Medical in NYC