Back pain treatment can include medication, self-care techniques and manual therapies such as chiropractic or physiotherapy. Pain in the back can be acute or long-term, and a variety of treatment options are available for both types.
Acute back pain treatment includes medication and self-care options. Paracetamol is usually prescribed as the first step in most treatments, and if it does not work, non-steroid anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen is the next step. If the milder painkillers do not reduce the pain, mild opiate-based painkillers such as codeine can be prescribed. Morphine is sometimes given for severe pain, but as it is a strong opiate, it is only used for a short time. If the patient also suffers from muscle spasms, muscle relaxant medication is sometimes included.
Today many doctors recommend that a person suffering from acute pain in the back should stay active. If the pain is severe, it may not be possible to go back to work or to do all normal activities, but it is important to try to do at least something, and to return to normal daily activities slowly and step by step. Home care options include cold or hot compression packs that can be bought over the counter from chemists. It can also help to use extra pillows in bed: place a pillow under the knees when you are sleeping.
Painkillers form a part of most chronic back pain treatment programs. Other options include exercise, manual therapy such as chiropractic or massage therapy, and acupuncture. Spinal fusion surgery is generally only recommended if all other treatment options have been tried and nothing else helps. For chronic pain, a mild painkiller such as paracetamol is usually prescribed at first, and if it does not work, stronger pain killing medication is used. Other treatment options include acupuncture, manual therapy and exercise.
Manual therapy back pain treatment means manipulation and mobilization of the spine and can include physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic. Physiotherapy is used for back pain treatment and to recover movement after an injury. Osteopathy and chiropractic are alternative forms of treatment and focus on problems in the bone structure, the joints, the muscles and the nervous system. Massage relaxes the back muscles and can form a part of a back pain treatment program. Acupuncture is also sometimes recommended as an alternative back pain treatment. Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine and uses thin, fine needles that are placed on different parts of the body to unblock the flow of energy in the body’s energy channels, or meridians. Some Western experts believe that the needles actually stimulate the muscles and the nerves and this is why acupuncture can relieve pain in the body.
Many doctors recommend regular exercise as a treatment for chronic pain. Swimming is often recommended as back pain treatment, and today gentle forms of exercise such as yoga or pilates are often thought to be beneficial. Yoga and pilates can also help to improve your posture.