I’ve had back pain since my twenties. Back then I thought I could do anything. And I certainly tried to.

But often I ended up injured. At 30 I had back surgery to take out pieces of disk in my lower back that had broken apart. Back then they didn’t offer the option of physical therapy to me.

Six months later I found myself in the same position with horrible back pain plus sciatica. I decided not to have surgery again.

Physical Therapy:

So I’ve had physical therapy at times as I got older, but these days with Covid I don’t want to go that route if I don’t have to.

Massage Mats:

Yesterday afternoon I received this massage mat that I’d ordered from Amazon. I slept on it last night in my recliner. It helped a lot. It also provides heat.

Readers here have given me lots of advice I’ve been heeding, such as various postures and stretches on the floor.

Ice Packs:

I still use a cold pack, which helps quite a lot. And I also use heat and switch back and forth between them.

Here is my ice pack. It is large and covers most of my back. It is 21 by 14 inches. It had great reviews. I always shop Amazon via the reviews.

Shiatsu Back Massager:

This Snailax shiatsu back massager with heat should be arriving in the next few days. I’ve sat on similar ones in stores, but always thought they were too high in price, as in $150 to $200.

I found it on Amazon for $99 with a $20 coupon. So I got it for $79.

You can use it in your chair. And for those working at home, you can use it in your office chair as well.

Back Brace:

I also ordered a back brace. There may be one somewhere in this apartment, but I don’t feel good enough to go looking for it.

Heating Pad:

Here is the heating pad I use. I had another one for over 20 years, but it was wearing out. This one is thick and feels wonderful. It is 12 by 24 inches.


I also use Biofreeze as an instant coolant. Usually first thing in the morning when my back feels tight and stiff.

Biofreeze is a roll-on product and penetrates quickly for fast pain relief.

Rolling Carts To Move Heavy Items:

This is more of a preventive measure.

I finally broke down and ordered a cart. Many of you have encouraged me to order it. But I guess I kept thinking: I don’t need a granny cart yet!

Well, obviously I do. I have to take my trash down to the end of the four-plex to the dumpster. When I’ve cleaned out Ivy’s litter box, the big plastic bag is quite heavy. Maybe now I can use the cart when it arrives.

Not to mention groceries from my car to my apartment door. I live in a one-level, but even though it’s probably not more than 15 to 20 feet to my door, I’m sure this will help.

Last week I carried 4-5 bags at a time, and that’s probably what helped contribute to this bad bout I’m currently experiencing.

I don’t like actual pain pills like Hydrocodone. But sometimes I use Turmeric supplements.

Recent studies have found that turmeric, a flavorful spice popular in India, may help relieve joint pain.

Sciatica Exercises:

Here are a few exercises for sciatica and lower back pain I found online.

Comment if you have other ideas for back pain. I’m open to all, because back pain and sciatica can be truly excruciating and it certainly limits your normal activities.

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  1. My sister’s back has been aching for days, which is why she has decided to start looking for a physical therapist. Well, thank you for sharing here that it would be a great idea to apply an ice pack to the affected area. I’ll also keep in mind to tell her that she must invest in a snailax shiatsu back massager.

  2. Thank you Brenda and everyone who had recommendations and advice here on this post. I am saving it and trying out some of your ideas.

  3. Biofreeze is wonderful. I keep it on-hand at all times. I use the spray though. I also take turmeric/curcumin supplements for pain and inflammation. No NSAIDs. If you have a dispensary near you, you can get THC salve/balm which will really help, too. It doesn’t go into your bloodstream, so you will not get high.

    For sciatica and lower back pain, the best stretches (and I’ve tried them all over the past 30 years) are the ones via the McKenzie method. You can google it. I even doing a round of PT with a practitioner that only uses this method. Cured my sciatica quickly.

  4. For me stretching is a must and I know you already do that. Also I always use a small pillow between my knees when I go to the bed. I know it makes a big difference because it has happened while being away from home for a few days without it. I could feel the difference right away the next morning.

  5. Brenda and ladies,
    Thank you. Sitting here by myself, with Miss Misty (cat), and reading this post, and the comments, has brought me back to those times when my friends and I were together. It felt like you are all loving, kind, and helpful.
    Thanks for that feeling.
    We’re all in stressful times, but this shows how our loving kindness can never be taken from us, no matter what happens.
    You all are proof positive of that! You just made my Saturday.❤

  6. One thing I will stress as both my doctor and my son’s chiropractor have stressed – when using heat and ice – wait at least 30 minutes before exchanging them. Your body needs to come to room temperature or the newest one (ice or heat) will not work as effectively. Both also said that whichever one gives you the fastest relief is the one you have to be the most careful of. Do not overdo either. Give your body a chance to bounce back.

  7. I also suffer from back pain (Spondylolisthesis) and have found some great ideas on the You Tube channel for Bob and Brad, physical therapists. You might want to look them up.

    1. I can usually keep the bad and fierce back pain I have now at bay by stretching twice per day. But this one has taken me down for about a week now.

  8. Good for you for ordering some items to help with your back issues, hopefully they will bring you some relief. I have taken turmeric supplements for years, first discovered it when dealing with a nasty series of boils. I applied it directly to the boils, covering with a bandage in conjunction with taking mega doses orally for 2-3 days completely took care of the problem, something taking strong meds for 10+ days didn’t do. I also take magnesium supplements which are supposed to be good for loosening up tight muscles. While the above helps to relieve aches and pains what I find works best for me is to be proactive and as much as possible not do things that I know will result in a flare up. Simply put “cause and effect”!

    1. I didn’t know that about magnesium. I’ll order some. Right now what is so painful is the tight seizing up of my muscles when I’m on my feet for more than a few minutes.

      1. Brenda I have read that a large percentage of the population is magnesium deficient. Apparently athletes take it orally as well as soaking in Epsom salt baths (Epsom salt is basically magnesium sulfate). A friend of mine who has suffered with restless leg issues and severe charley horses for years swears by it. See what countless others have to say about it’s benefits on earthclinic.com. I also use Biofreeze and recently discovered it now also comes in a spray on. I find is better for reaching around to my back than the roll on which I still use on my knees. I do step outside on my deck when applying the spray on to avoid having any residue get on the bathroom floor.

      2. Oops my previous comment didn’t work? Anyway apparently many of us are magnesium deficient. Athletes take it orally as well as soaking in epsom salt baths (epsom salt is basically magnesium sulfate). And a friend of mine who has suffered with restless leg issues and severe charley horses for years swears by it; check out what countless others say about it’s benefits on earthclinic.com. Be sure to not apply heat to any area with a Lidocaine patch. I must have overlooked this info before using one and removing the patch required lots of baby oil, a number of cuss words and resulted in a tender area for several days.

        having to liberaly apply baby oil

  9. Lidocaine medicated patches applied to the area where the pain is radiating from last up to 12 hours per one use. I eat a tablespoon of yellow mustard a day on a 2-slice of bread sandwich (with meat and cheese) to get turmeric – less expensive than buying a turmeric supplement. I eat a locally made brand called Koop’s and I like it much better flavor-wise than French’s Yellow Mustard and discount brands. That has essentially stopped attacks of sciatica. Pain is caused by inflammation around sensitive nerve endings and turmeric helps block inflammation. There are other foods that help as well. See 13 most anti-inflammatory foods:
    Stretching exercises and building muscle mass in areas around the problem spot(s) to help support (as well as improve overall strength, stability and flexibility) can be painful to undertake at first but they help tremendously as you progress. Before I learned about yellow mustard and read up on turmeric, for several years before I retired I would do stretching exercises at my desk (lifting and then bending the problem leg that had the shooting pains in front of the good leg that I was standing on and raising the painful leg to as close to 90 degrees as I could to form a “figure 4”). You can find other exercises for sciatica on line, too.

  10. I feel for you, I injured my back in 2011 and I can tell when I overdo,learning to respect it and not push as hard as I used to.
    My daughter had a level 2 spinal fusion in January, unfortunately it didn’t bring the relief she had hoped for, she had a really bad injury in 2010 while doing EMS.
    She’s a big fan of Biofreeze as well!
    Feel better and try to rest.
    It’s been rainy and damp here in NY all week, doubt it’s doing much for our aches and pains.

    1. Sorry about your daughter’s surgery. I feared the same thing if I had it, so I didn’t. Every time one has surgery, it seems that they also have more arthritis to deal with.

  11. Brenda, one of my favorite products to ease muscle pains is Arnicare Gel. It is a natural gel made from wolf bane, an herb. Arnicare can be found in local grocery stores and is generally less than $10.00 for 2.6 ozs. A little bit of gel massaged on the muscle several times a day does wonders. I hope you will try it. In the meantime, stay safe, stay calm, and be kind to yourself and others. Best regards, Charlotte Hutcheson

  12. Well, I would never have believed it but Topical hemp salve is like a miracle for me. I don’t have back pain but I do have terrible shoulder pain. I was skeptical at first but decided to try it and as soon as I rub it on my shoulder I get immediate relief. May not work for everyone but it sure works for me.

  13. I ordered a large heating pad from amazon:

    Heating Pad for Pain Relief, VIPEX 33” x 17” XXX-Large Electric Heating Pad with Ultra-Soft Short Plush, 6 Heat Settings, Auto Shut Off, Fast Heating for Neck Back Shoulder Relief and Cramps.

    Just copy and paste the previous wording to go to it.

    It’s huge, a pretty blue, soft as can be, with easy settings, timer and the price was right, $29.69 final price, including tax. I originally bought it to put under a dog’s sleeping pad (dog-sitting) and decided it was just the ticket for me on the couch. Fabulous.

  14. It looks like you have all your bases covered as far as equipment for your back! I bet the massage mat with heat felt so good . I’m glad it helped you! I also rely on reviews when I order something, that is why I always leave a review after a purchase!

  15. Because sitting itself puts so much pressure on your back I think it would help you to also have an Elevation Wedge (https://www.amazon.com/Ebung-The-Best/dp/B07KFPQTM8/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=leg+lift+wedge&qid=1604077338&sr=8-6). It would also be helpful to use your heating pad when you rest with your legs up.

    I’ve had a terrible back for years and also had a problem with denial. If it needed to be done I would do it. But the price I have paid for that is steep. I’m much better now about using all kinds of aids to help me with the things I want to do and I rest my back frequently so that I can live well but without pain. Useful things are available to help us with the things we want (need) to do so we should use them. A few modifications and you will find that you can do most of what you want to do with less pain.

    The wedge mentioned above will all but eliminate my sciatica….well that….and a few muscle relaxants to help me thru a difficult day. I find heat to be the most useful to me so I always sleep with an electric blanket. It makes me so tense to be cold so ice treatments nearly always makes my back pain worse. I just get to uptight about it. Heat just relaxes me and makes me get better more quickly. But you have to decide what works the best for you.

    Best of luck

    1. I will certainly check into this. I don’t know what on earth I’d do without Amazon to deliver things to me. I’ve never even heard of this. But it sounds like precisely what I need.

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