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The Surprising Way to Treat Lower Back Pain

August 14, 2018

When your back hurts, it may be time to pull out the yoga mat, not take medication.

Lower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal condition affecting 84 percent of adults, says the American College of Physicians (ACP). The condition has actually increased by more than 100 percent in the last decade and continues to rise dramatically in the aging population.

Healthy Alternatives to Drugs

If you’re suffering from lower back pain, the ACP recommends using noninvasive ways—like non-drug therapy and exercise—to treat low back pain. These include:

  • Multidisciplinary rehabilitation: A therapy that involves multiple interrelating physical, psychological, social, and occupational factors.
  • Acupuncture: A traditional Chinese medicine technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin.
  • Biofeedback: This is an assisted relaxation technique using electronic devices to measure body functions and help the patient gain conscious control of muscle tension and relaxation.
  • Mindfulness-based therapies for stress reduction: Including biofeedback and meditation.
  • Tai chi: A graceful form of exercise that’s used for stress reduction.
  • Yoga: A practice that uses breathing techniques, exercise and meditation.

According to the ACP, pain can also be relieved by:

  • Low-level laser therapy: A form of therapy that applies low-level lasers to the surface of the body to relieve pain and enhance cell function.
  • Spinal manipulation: Includes several options, such as: exercise, Chiropractic care, massage and physical therapy.
  • Cognitive behavioral and operant therapy: Addresses changes in behaviors, attitudes and emotions that are associated with decreases in pain severity.

If patients with chronic low back pain do not respond well to non-pharmacological therapy, the ACP recommends non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, often followed by X-rays, physical therapy and MRI. Opioids, such as tramadol or duloxetine, are only recommended as second-line therapy.

If you’re struggling with lower back pain, talk to your doctor. Many of the non-invasive treatments are often covered by health insurance plans so make sure to check your coverage or call the customer service number on the back of your ID card.