6 Doctor-Recommended Remedies for Back Pain
Try it when: You first feel pain.
How it works: When back muscles hurt, the pain is usually caused by inflamed tissue. Cold reduces the swelling and discomfort, says Jason Highsmith, a neurosurgeon in Charleston, South Carolina. As soon as you feel pain, apply cold several times a day, 10 minutes at a time, for about three days. A bag of frozen peas works, or try a cold pack, like an Ace Reusable Cold Compress ($10 at drugstores).
Good to know: Heat can help after the initial three days. (Using it too soon can worsen inflammation.) Apply a heating pad several times daily, 15 minutes at a time, for three days, says Jeffrey Katz, a professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston.