Back pain is generally treated with non-pharmacological therapy first, as it typically resolves without the use of medication. Superficial heat and massage, acupuncture, and spinal manipulation therapy may be recommended.
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^ Flynn TW, Smith B, Chou R (November 2011). Appropriate use of diagnostic imaging in low back pain: a reminder that unnecessary imaging may do as much harm as good. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 41 (11): 838–46. doi:10.2519/jospt.2011.3618. PMID 21642763.
^ Woodman, JP; Moore, NR (January 2012). Evidence for the effectiveness of Alexander Technique lessons in medical and health-related conditions: a systematic review. International journal of clinical practice. 66 (1): 98–112. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2011.02817.x. PMID 22171910.
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Ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin, or Motrin), available over the counter, is an excellent medication for the short-term treatment of low back pain. Because of the risk of ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding, talk with your doctor about using this medication for a long time.
^ Yeganeh, Mohsen (May 1, 2017). The effectiveness of acupuncture, acupressure and chiropractic interventions on treatment of chronic nonspecific low back pain in Iran: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 27: 11–18 – via ClinicalKey.
A good lumbar support is quite simple. It should be comfortable, and beneficial to the health of your back. However, as simple as these requirements are, the back itself is a complicated place. There are a wide variety of reasons for people to seek lumbar support, and these reasons stem from complications deriving from lumbar related back problems.
In July a team at the Boston Medical Center and others published findings from a study of 320 chronic lower back pain sufferers who were assigned to yoga, physical therapy or a series of educational reading materials about their condition. For the yoga group, the researchers tailored courses to focus on gentle back stretches such as cat-cow (in which practitioners alternatively round and arch their backs while positioned on all fours) and child’s pose (in which the body faces the floor in a modified fetal position). The physical therapy intervention included one-on-one coaching, instructions for at-home exercise and aerobic workout sessions. After three months, the yoga and physical therapy groups were significantly less likely to use pain medication to deal with their discomfort than people who simply received educational material. Overall, the team found yoga to be just as effective as physical therapy; both options reduced pain and improved mobility. In addition, the researchers followed up with participants who continued their exercises (either at home or with an instructor or therapist) for a full year and found these benefits persisted.
Most acute low back pain results from injury to the muscles, ligaments, or discs. The body also reacts to injury by mobilizing an inflammatory healing response. While inflammation sounds minor, it can cause severe pain.
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^ Hendrick P, Te Wake AM, Tikkisetty AS, Wulff L, Yap C, Milosavljevic S (October 2010). The effectiveness of walking as an intervention for low back pain: a systematic review. Eur Spine J. 19 (10): 1613–20. doi:10.1007/s00586-010-1412-z. PMC 2989236 . PMID 20414688.
Even if you’re not currently experiencing back pain, having back support can help prevent back pain from occurring when used in anticipation of strenuous activity. Certain back supports can help ensure safe lifting in jobs like construction or moving so each motion is ergonomic and healthy. Keep your back in tip-top shape by using a back brace or other form of back support to take the stress off of it.
^ Lin CW, Haas M, Maher CG, Machado LA, van Tulder MW (July 2011). Cost-effectiveness of guideline-endorsed treatments for low back pain: a systematic review. Eur Spine J. 20 (7): 1024–38. doi:10.1007/s00586-010-1676-3. PMC 3176706 . PMID 21229367.
Radiculopathy is a condition caused by compression, inflammation and/or injury to a spinal nerve root. Pressure on the nerve root results in pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation that travels or radiates to other areas of the body that are served by that nerve. Radiculopathy may occur when spinal stenosis or a herniated or ruptured disc compresses the nerve root.
The fact that opioids are the most commonly prescribed back pain medication has put added pressure on the medical community to find different solutions. To that end, this past February the American College of Physicians released new guidelines on noninvasive treatments for lower back pain. The group’s primary message was that pharmaceutical options, and opioids in particular, should be treatments of last resort. In their stead, the authors suggested superficial heat as a well-studied method for relieving acute low back pain. They also found some evidence supporting the use of techniques such as acupuncture and spinal manipulation for acute and chronic pain—although it should be noted that several researchers have questioned whether these treatments are superior to placebo or sham therapies.
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Parts of the pain sensation and processing system may not function properly; creating the feeling of pain when no outside cause exists, signaling too much pain from a particular cause, or signaling pain from a normally non-painful event. Additionally, the pain modulation mechanisms may not function properly. These phenomena are involved in chronic pain.
Pain that primarily affects the back is different from a spinal condition that results in mostly leg pain, a condition commonly called sciatica. Typically, sciatica is the result of a pinched nerve in the spinal column.