What are some treatment options for lower back pain?
If lower back pain is cramping your lifestyle, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 31 million Americans are experiencing lower back pain at this very moment. Back pain might even be called a silent epidemic: it’s one of the most common reasons for doctor’s visits and the reason behind 264 million lost work days every year.
The back is made up of a complicated arrangement of bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments that can be injured or worn down with age. You might be an athlete that’s stretching your capabilities every day and end up straining a muscle or ligament (one of the most common causes of lower back pain). Or you might be experiencing normal wear and tear with age—for example, a disc between two vertebrae can degenerate with time through no fault of your own. Other conditions such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, sciatica, abnormal spine curvatures, or even arthritis and fibromyalgia may be the key factor underlying your lower back pain.
Leaving lower back pain untreated may be dangerous in some particular cases, so it’s important to consult a doctor who can make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan. We recommend several types of therapies for lower back pain:
Medications to relieve lower back pain
Doctors may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), weak opioids for a limited period of time, or muscle relaxants.
Building up your core muscles can make a big difference in your spinal health. It’s the job of your spine to keep your torso upright and balanced when you are standing, sitting, and carrying out a range of motion. Your core muscles are some of the key muscles that support your torso and spine. When they are weak, it places more stress on your spine to stabilize your back when you are upright and when your back goes through different motions. Over time, the increased pressure on your spine can lead to back pain, and in some cases, arthritis.
Physical therapy can work to correct abnormalities in your spine so that your body works more dynamically. For example, if a certain part of your spine does not have a good range of motion, it places more stress on the other segments of the your spine as they have to compensate to make up for this loss of movement. For chronic low back pain, physical therapy is generally a first line treatment approach. Conservative therapies often recommended for low back pain with no serious pathology include exercise, yoga, progressive relaxation, massage, manual therapy, and biofeedback.