How often do Back Pain flare-ups occur?

Photo of author
Written By Dr. Carlos Roberto Babá

MD, PhD. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician from São Paulo - Brazil. Pain Fellowship in University of São Paulo.

How to Overcome Back Pain Flare-Ups: A Step-by-Step Guide

Dealing with recurring back pain, sciatica, or sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be a challenging and frustrating experience.

This guide will provide you with effective techniques to help you overcome these issues and improve your quality of life.

If you are experiencing a new injury or symptoms, it is important to consult a doctor first. However, if you have recurring flare-ups, follow along with this step-by-step guide to train yourself out of pain.

1. Stay calm and avoid panicking

When experiencing a flare-up, it’s crucial not to panic. This may be difficult because the pain can be intense and distressing. However, it’s essential to remember that flare-ups are a natural part of dealing with chronic pain.

They can occur due to various reasons, including increased activity levels, changes in temperature, or elevated stress levels. Keeping a calm mindset is the first step in managing a flare-up effectively.

2. Keep moving

One of the most challenging yet critical aspects of managing a flare-up is to continue moving. While the instinct may be to curl up in a ball or retreat from daily activities, research shows that immobilization doesn’t help alleviate pain. In fact, maintaining movement can help the flare-up subside more quickly.

3. Incorporate meditation into your daily routine

meditation back pain

Meditation has been shown to have a positive impact on chronic pain management. It has the potential to change your brain, and by doing so, it can influence your pain experience. Incorporating meditation into your daily routine can provide long-term benefits for coping with chronic pain and flare-ups.

4. Focus on your breathing

During episodes of intense pain, it’s common for individuals to hold their breath. This involuntary response can exacerbate anxiety and worsen pain levels. Remembering to breathe deeply and consistently can help alleviate anxiety and improve overall pain management.

5. Engage in activities you enjoy

Counterintuitively, engaging in activities you enjoy can help reduce pain levels during a flare-up. If you’re unable to participate in your favorite activities due to pain, consider alternative ways to engage with them.

Watching videos, planning future outings, or looking at photos of past experiences can help shift your focus and provide a sense of joy. Surrounding yourself with loved ones or engaging with cherished memories can also have a positive impact on pain levels.

Other possibilities

1. Assess your baseline

Begin by assessing your limitations and hesitations using two tests: the toe touch and the deadlift position. Take a mental note of your limitations in each test and observe how these limitations change over time.

2. Stretch your legs

back pain flare up

Place one leg on a raised surface like a box, chair, or stairs. Gradually work on straightening the leg, staying within a comfortable range. Perform 10 slow repetitions for each leg, focusing on keeping your breathing relaxed and hands on your legs for support.

3. Retest your limitations

After the leg stretches, retest your toe touch and deadlift positions. Observe any improvements in your range of motion or pain levels.

4. Experiment with pelvic tilts

Lie down on the ground and work on extending and flexing your lumbar spine in a controlled manner. Perform 10 repetitions of each movement, focusing on keeping your breathing relaxed and gradually increasing your range of motion.

5. Test side-to-side movements

Next, practice side-to-side pelvic tilts, performing 10 repetitions for each side. Continue experimenting with different combinations of pelvic tilt movements to improve your flexibility and control.

6. Perform “happy sexy cat” movements

This exercise involves moving your spine in various directions to encourage relaxation and flexibility. Try to move in any way that feels natural and comfortable, focusing on staying relaxed and breathing calmly throughout the exercise.

7. Retest your limitations and perform deadlifts

After completing the exercises, retest your toe touch and deadlift positions. If you notice improvements, perform 10 solid deadlift repetitions, focusing on maintaining proper form and engaging your muscles.

Other possibilities include:


Recovering from a back pain flare-up takes time, commitment, and consistency. Incorporate these techniques into your daily routine to help train your body out of pain. Remember that one session may not fix the issue, but consistent practice will lead to significant improvements in your symptoms.

Keep retesting your limitations and working on the exercises to provide relief and regain control over your body.

+ posts

M.D. Orthopaedic Pain Management - University of São Paulo

Leave a Comment