Low Back Pain (cont.)
You can choose from a number of treatments for your low back pain. Because some of these treatments are new or not yet well researched, they may not be covered by health insurance.
The following complementary treatments are often used for low back pain.
- Massage may reduce low back pain. It is probably most effective if you also learn to do exercises for your back and learn the best ways to lift and move to protect your back.2
- Biofeedback hasn't been well studied as a treatment for low back pain. Recent research hasn't shown that biofeedback is effective for controlling low back pain.
- Acupuncture may help reduce pain and increase the ability to be active for a short time after treatment but not any more than other treatments.3
- Acupressure uses pressure on certain points in the body to decrease symptoms. Small studies suggest that acupressure reduces pain and allows a person to be more active.4
- Relaxation techniques can help reduce muscle tension, stress, and depression.
- Yoga is another way to stay active and get help with relaxation and managing stress. Small studies suggest that yoga classes may help people with chronic low back pain control their symptoms and stay more active.5, 6 It is not clear whether yoga is more helpful than other activity or treatment for chronic low back pain. There are different types of yoga. Talk to your doctor before you start a yoga program.
Here are some other treatment choices to think about:
- Self-care techniques:
- Back school teaches you all about back care, how to stand and sit, and how to move your body in a safer way.
- A pain management clinic is a place where you can learn how to cope with chronic pain.
- Electric currents:
- Other procedures:
New and experimental treatments are constantly being developed and offered to people who have low back pain. If you are considering such a treatment, be sure to ask your doctor for two things:
- The scientific evidence that shows that the treatment works and is safe.
- The results that your doctor has seen in his or her own practice.
Experimental treatments include:
- Surgery to replace a ruptured or herniated disc with an artificial disc. This treatment has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Long-term studies haven't been done.
- Botulinum toxin (Botox) injection. This may relax painful muscle spasms in the low back.
- Radiofrequency ablation of nerves. This may reduce chronic low back pain in some people by preventing pain signals from reaching the brain. It is sometimes used for pain from problems with the small joints in the spine called facet joints.
- An intrathecal pain pump. This is a small tube inserted under the skin and deeper tissues along the midline of the back and into the spinal canal. The tube connects to a small reservoir of medicine inserted under the skin of your belly. The medicine is regularly delivered to the area of pain through the tube.