Back Pain


Complementary Therapies

When it comes to back pain, there is no magic cure. It simply takes time for the back to heal and the pain to go away. Your best bet is to stick to the prevention methods, care for problems with the steps listed above, and see your physician in more serious cases.

However, there are some alternatives which some contend are very effective in achieving natural relief of back pain. Many health experts reject the word “alternative,” preferring the word “complementary,” because it suggests that these therapies are best used alongside traditional medical treatment rather than in its place.

Therapeutic Massage Can Help Ease The Pain

There's not a lot of hard evidence from reliable studies to suggest that massage reduces back pain or causes the back to heal faster. But many people feel that massage is a natural way to provide relief to the mind and the muscles. It is also thought to increase the pain threshold, which, at least subjectively, may go a long way. In Europe, it is commonly used in the treatment of lower back pain.

Chiropractic Care is a Touchy Subject

Chiropractic care is based on the belief that misalignment and restricted movement of the spine leads to pain and discomfort. Spinal “adjustment,” during which pressure is applied to the joints, it's argued, will restore movement and reduce pain.

According to research from the Mayo Clinic, back pain lasts just as long if you go to a chiropractor, if you go to a physical therapist or if you seek no treatment at all. It's just a matter of easing your pain while it lasts.
Also keep in mind that a chiropractor is not a medical doctor in the same way that, say, an orthopedic specialist or a general practitioner is. Chiropractors do not go to medical school: their training is simply not as comprehensive as a medical doctor's. When considering chiropractic care, it's best to consult a medical doctor first to see if he thinks chiropractic care is right for you.

Although chiropractic care is generally not considered harmful, even by its detractors, there are certain cases where it's never appropriate. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should NOT seek chiropractic relief from back pain if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • If you have osteoporosis or symptoms of nerve damage, such as numbness, tingling or loss of strength in a limb, hand or foot.
  • If you have a history of spinal surgery.
  • Manipulation of the neck may be hazardous if you've had a stroke or you have a history of vascular disease.
  • If you have back pain accompanied by fever, chills, sweats or unintentional weight loss.

Acupuncture May Help Needle out the Pain

More and more people are turning to acupuncture, the ancient Chinese medical treatment of inserting needles into the skin, to treat their back pain. The National Institutes of Health has found that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for some types of chronic pain. Acupuncture is thought to stimulate your central nervous system to release the body's natural pain-relieving endorphins. Acupuncture may also alter how your blood pressure, blood flow and body temperature are regulated and respond to pain.

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