23rd November, 20205 min read

Ask an expert: What are the best back pain relief products?

Medical reviewer:
Healthily's medical team
Healthily's medical team
Georgina Newman
Georgina Newman
Last reviewed: 23/11/2020
Medically reviewed

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When back pain strikes, the best way to speed up your recovery is to stay active and take painkillers when you need to (speak to a doctor or pharmacist for advice).

But if you’d like to do more to help get back into action, what else can you try?

Many products claim to help beat back pain, so it’s not always easy to tell what works and what doesn’t. That’s why we asked 4 experts for their top products for back pain.

There’s no guarantee these will work for everyone, but here are 6 expert-recommended back pain products**.

1. Massage tool to improve blood flow

Chartered physiotherapist and back pain expert, Sammy Margo, recommends the JustSun Gua Sha stainless steel massage tool.

“This natural alternative therapy originates from Chinese medicine, and involves scraping the skin over the area that hurts. This simple action can help to improve the circulation to your back, which, in turn, may help improve your pain,” she says.

Try the Gua Sha stainless steel massage tool
Cost: £16.99

Woman leaning against wall using lacrosse balls to help back pain

2. Massage balls to ease tension

If your back feels tense or stiff, a spiky massage ball may help ease the tension by “massaging the tense knots that can contribute to back pain,” according to Margo.

Registered chiropractor Julian Keel agrees that a ball can be useful for back pain. His go-to device for relieving back pain at home is a ball – a tennis , hockey or lacrosse ball will do.

“The ball is excellent for releasing the muscle tension and spasm associated with lower back pain,” says Keel.

Try the PROTONE Lacrosse Ball
Cost: £5.99

3. Heat pads

Katie Knapton, a chartered physiotherapist and founder of PhysioFast Online, says that gentle heat from stick-on heat pads like the Cura-Heat Pain Relief Heat Patch can be useful for back pain.

These pads are thin and can fit easily under clothing, but read the instructions carefully before using them. Some are safe to stick directly onto your skin, while others aren’t.

Dr Nick Summerton, a family doctor and member of Healthily's Clinical Advisory Board, also recommends heat pads for back pain. But he suggests that heat pads are best used for ongoing back pain, rather than on new injuries.

Try Cura-Heat Pain Relief Heat Patch
Cost: £4.67

Man rubbing his lower back. Back pain concept

4. Heat creams

Creams that warm the body can also help ease back pain, says Knapton. She recommends Fisiocrem, which can be rubbed straight into your skin to help soothe a sore back.

Some creams can irritate sensitive skin or cause an allergic reaction, so always test a heat cream on a small patch of skin before rubbing it into your back.

Try Fisiocrem
Price: £14.85

5. Cold packs and ice packs

If it’s been less than a couple of days since you hurt your back, it’s worth trying an ice pack, according to Keel and Dr Summerton. Both agree that a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin towel often works well.

Keel says that “10-minute applications every couple of hours during flare-ups can really help.”

But don’t worry if you don’t have a bag of peas to hand – a reusable gel ice pack is a good alternative you can use over and over again.

Try the FlexiKold Gel Ice Pack
Price: £14.99

Holding a blue ice pack on a painful lower back

6. Knee pillows

If you find it harder to sleep when you have back pain, the National Sleep Foundation recommends putting a knee pillow under or between your knees while you sleep.

Doing so can help support your back and keep your spine aligned.

One of the products the National Sleep Foundation recommends is the Coop Home Goods Knee Pillow. It has a foam insert that you can remove to change the firmness, shape and thickness of the pillow.

Try the Coop Home Goods Knee Pillow
Price: £72.73

Key points

  • if you have back pain, the most important thing is to stay active
  • painkillers can also help you manage the pain - speak to a doctor or pharmacist for advice
  • some massage tools may improve blood flow to your back, which could help to ease inflammation and pain
  • heat pads and heat-producing creams can bring warm relief and help reduce swelling
  • cold and ice packs may help with new back pain or injury
  • if you find it hard to sleep with back pain, the National Sleep Foundation recommends using a knee pillow to help support your back while you sleep

*In some cases, Your.MD may benefit commercially from promoting third-party health products and/or services. Your.MD is not liable for products and/or services provided by third parties.

*The products mentioned in this article may not be suitable for all types of back pain. Speak to a doctor to make sure they are safe for you to use. If you have worsening back pain or concerns please consult with your doctor.

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