What works for lower back pain relief?
Lower back pain treatment: things you might not have considered for back pain relief
More treatments for back pain
Many different types of treatment of back pain can be used, depending on who you respond to the three primary treatments described above, as well as the intensity, location and type of pain you suffering from, plus your past health history. These additional back pain treatments can be discussed with your doctor so you will know which are right for you:
While it is very low tech, using cold packs or ice gel packs directly over the area of low back pain is still one of the most effective and non-complicated ways of reducing pain in any part of the body.
Common over-the-counter analgesics like acetaminophen, Tylenol, and aspirin for pain, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and naproxen sodium to reduce both pain and swelling can be used, or topical analgesic creams, salves and ointments to apply on the skin directly over the area of pain.
Prescription drugs such as muscle relaxants and antidepressants such as amitriptyline are sometimes used in extreme cases of chronic back pain. But be aware that many of this category of drugs have their primary effect on the brain, not the injured tissue, and often cause drowsiness and dependence.
Some doctors prescribe a TENS machine (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator) for those cases of back pain that are not responding to other treatment. Electrodes are taped around the area of low back pain to reduce the pain signal.
Chiropractors are recognized by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for their ability with spinal manipulation for acute back pain relief. Some researchers report chiropractic spinal adjustments delivered early in a case of acute back pain may prevent a chronic problem from developing.
The ancient art of acupuncture may bring moderate to complete back pain relief. Treatment with acupuncture or acupressure can be extremely effective, especially when the back pain is caused in part or totally by arthritis. Acupuncture can be used alone or as part of a larger comprehensive back treatment program.
Chronic muscle pain is sometimes a symptom of a longstanding vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is found in fish, milk and cereal, and exposure to sunlight.
The Alexander Technique, yoga, Pilates, Bowen, and the Feldendkrais Method are specialized forms of body work that teach how to move the body in a more coordinated, flexible, and graceful manner, resulting in less stress and reduced pain.
Water therapy and exercise done in the water can improve low back strength and improve flexibility to decrease pain for those with chronic low back problems. Water is an especially safe and effective environment for exercising a sore back because of its gentle resistance and comforting effect.
Vitamin B12 has been found to relieve low back pain, as reported in a double-blind Italian study. In this research, those who received vitamin B12 showed a statistically significant reduction in pain and disability, and used less pain medication than a placebo group.
Besides pain, other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are numbness and tingling, irritability, mild memory impairment, and depression.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral found in the human body. It is essential for health since it is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions; of these, it helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function. Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include muscle spasms and pain, premenstrual syndrome, irritability, depression, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, and heart disease.
Many studies indicate massage can be effective for subacute and chronic pain. It has also been found to reduce anxiety and depression associated with chronic pain.
Prolotherapy involves the injection of a non-drug liquid solution into damaged or weak ligaments and tendons in an area of pain. This presence of this liquid starts a small local inflammation that triggers a natural healing response; this in turn prompts the body to repair the weakened soft tissues that results in pain reduction.
Balneotherapy is one of the oldest therapies known to man for pain relief. This is a fancy term for soaking in a mineral bath Epsom salt, Dead Sea salts and other sulphur-containing bath salts.
Hanging upside down in an inversion therapy device has become popular since the late 1990s. Stretching the spine and taking gravitational pressure off the nerve roots and disks of the spine not only feels good but can be therapeutic.
Epidural Steroid Injections
Injecting steroids directly into the painful region of nerve roots and herniated discs area of the lower back to reduce inflammation is sometimes used. Steroid medication does not heal or correct the painful components in the back, but sometimes provide pain relief to allow movement that begins a healing process that is stalled by extreme pain.
Back Pain Surgery
Unless the back pain is hopelessly non-responsive to all natural and conservative back pain treatment measures, spinal surgery should be the last resort for help. Minimally invasive surgery is often used for common symptoms and causes of back pain.
This list of lower back pain treatments is not complete. Talk to your doctor and people you know to learn of other things that might be done to help your low back condition. Only after trying all possible avenues of conservative treatment should surgery be considered.