When you’re living with back pain, it can sometimes feel like your pain is in control. This doesn’t have to be the case. By eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and following your pain doctor’s advice, you can reduce your back pain and regain control over your life. Sometimes, however, healthy lifestyle changes aren’t enough to completely control your back pain. At-home back pain devices offer a drug-free way to reduce your back pain when you most need relief. Here are six types of at-home back pain devices that might work for you.
How back pain devices work
Back pain devices like these can go a long way towards relieving your mild pain completely. If you’re suffering from chronic back pain, they can be used in conjunction with chiropractic care, physical therapy, medication, or more interventional options to reduce the amount of therapy or medications you need.
Before using any of these back pain devices, however, make sure to talk to a pain doctor to ensure a correct diagnosis for your pain. You may not find relief with these back pain devices. Worse, some may actually worsen your pain. Therefore, always ask your doctor for advice on the best options for your pain.
To learn more about the basics behind back pain, and its various causes, check out our video below.
1. Thermal back pain devices
These back pain devices allow you to use temperature (either hot or cold) to manage your pain. Heat therapy has been clinically shown to work well for back pain, but if cold therapy works better for you, that’s all that matters. Your physician might also be able to tell you whether hot or cold thermal therapy would work better for your condition.
Any basic heating pad or ice pack (or bag of frozen peas) will do the trick, but this compression back wrap might help if you find yourself using thermal therapy on a regular basis. You can heat the thermal pack in the microwave or chill it in the freezer. The wrap helps it stay in place. It also has an adjustable compression function to help the thermal therapy really penetrate into your sore muscles.
If you prefer cold thermal therapy, another option is the use of Physicool bandages. Quick-evaporating alcohol is incorporated into the bandages. When put next to the skin, body heat triggers the evaporation, which draws out heat. If the estimated two hours of cooling isn’t long enough, there’s a spray available to renew the bandages’ cooling properties. Also, Physicool bandages can be applied anywhere you need them, from the back to the knees to the neck.
2. Massage tools
Massage is a great way to get relief from back pain. In fact, a study conducted by the Group Health Research Institute showed that massage therapy is indeed an effective way of reducing back pain.
Getting a massage from a professional therapist is always great, but it can be expensive and time-consuming to go to a professional masseuse on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for at-home massages.
One of these options is the Theracane (shown below). This specially-curved device for back pain allows you to massage your own back, similar to the way a back scratcher lets you scratch your back. If you prefer to let the massager do the work, a hand-held massager might be a better choice, like this lightweight therapeutic massager with seven heads and two settings. Alternatively, a massage cushion might work well, especially if holding up a hand-held massager might trigger shoulder or arm pain. This highly-adjustable massage cushion also generates heat.
3. Supportive pillows for back pain
Pillows might be one of the simplest ways to reduce back pain. If you’re a side sleeper and want some extra support, body pillows might help a lot. For instance, this U-shaped body pillow can give you support on both sides; it’s even part of Amazon’s suggested baby registry, since it’s great for pregnant women dealing with back pain. If you’re a back sleeper, this contour wedge system might work wonders for you. It raises your head, your knees, and your feet, helping your back stay comfortably curved while you’re lying down.
Likewise, many cases of back pain originate in the neck. And since the neck is where your body meets the pillow, it’s important that you have great support there. Our post “21 Of The Best Pillows For Neck Pain” covers the basics of finding the best pillow for neck pain, as well as different types of pillows you can try out to find relief.
4. Back stretchers and traction devices
Stretchers and traction devices can also help with your back pain when used correctly. However, if used incorrectly, these types of at-home products can also potentially worsen existing back pain or create new pain. Follow instructions carefully. If you have any doubts or questions, ask your physician before beginning use. If using one of these back pain devices makes your pain worse, stop using it immediately.
When used properly, simple devices, like Spine-Worx or Back Magic Plus, can help stretch and realign your back. Additionally, both of these products are easily portable, so you can take them with you wherever you go. For something a little more robust, a standing back stretcher could help you stretch and realign your back. An inversion table, shown below, is another more advanced option that should only be used with your doctor’s approval. When used correctly, this device for back pain relief can help reduce tension in the spine.
Traction devices are another option. These use the same elements of stretching and lengthening, this time with a steadier applied force. For example, a VacuPractor mat can be used to slowly relieve pressure by rolling up and down the mat with gentle pressure.
For even more information about back stretchers–both devices you can use and at-home stretches you can perform–check out our post “How Do Back Stretchers Work? (And 8 We Love!)”
5. Acupressure mats
These techniques have proven their worth as methods of pain control. One study even found that acupressure can reduce back pain and disability more effectively than physical therapy in some cases. As with massage therapy from a professional, however, having acupressure done on a regular basis might not always be an option.
An acupressure mat can allow you to achieve the same pain relief from home. This acupressure mat even has a pillow that can be used to support your head or your lower back. This device for back pain provides a non-invasive alternative to acupuncture.
6. TENS devices for back pain
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is the use of mild electrical pulses to interrupt pain signals along the nerves. At-home TENS devices offer a lot of adjustability, so you can personalize your therapy. Electrodes are placed at strategic locations, so you can choose where you most need pain relief. TENS devices also typically have adjustable settings for the electrical pulses, so you can experiment to find the setting that works best for you.
TENS back pain devices are most helpful for treating pain caused by muscular pain or nerve-related pain conditions, like sciatica. It’s one of the reasons TENS units are so popular as lower back pain relief devices. Our post on TENS unit therapy for sciatica pain covers the correct placement of these devices to find the best pain relief.
Three highly-rated at-home TENS devices you can use for your back pain include:
When used correctly, these types of products can provide you with relief from your back pain in the comfort of your home. You should also consider printing off information about a few and asking the opinion of a medical professional, like your physician, before beginning use. To avoid accidentally worsening your pain, be sure to follow all instructions for these back pain devices carefully.
Other pain management options
Back pain devices like these can go a long way towards relieving tension in the muscles of the back, or can provide pinpointed relief for nerve-related pain. For some people, however, these back pain devices may only slightly alleviate pain or, unfortunately, do nothing at all. In these cases, there are still safe non- or minimally-invasive pain management options you have to relieve your pain and get you back to your life.
Initial pain management options should always focus on non-invasive therapies to reduce pain. Chiropractic care should be a first-line defense for many kinds of back pain. A report from The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that, “Among those who had used chiropractic for back pain, 66 percent perceived ‘great benefit’ from their treatments.” Likewise, physical therapy often plays a critical role in reducing any pain that’s caused by muscular issues or repetitive movements. A great therapist can help you relieve tension while also teaching better methods for your most common everyday activities.
If those therapies don’t work, you may also talk to your doctor about minimally-invasive interventional options that target back pain right at its source. This may include:
To talk to a doctor today about these options, click the button below. If you’ve found relief from any of the back pain devices listed in this post, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!