Lower back pain treatments can range from interventional options to more holistic, lifestyle-based changes. This month on Holistic Pain, we looked at the wide spectrum of holistic lower back pain treatment options, ranging from chiropractic care to physical therapy.
1. Lower back pain treatment begins with understanding what back pain is
In our post “3 Powerful Myths About Back Pain,” we discussed some of the most prevalent myths about lower back pain and how they can be especially harmful to patients. In this post, look for some data-driven mythbusters we used to help combat these myths. Because, seriously, you don’t just have to live with back pain. There are things that can and do help.
2. Most cases of back pain can be treated holistically
As we noted in our post on holistic treatments for back pain:
“Holistic treatments for back pain, by their very definition, are focused on treating the back as part of the larger body. We all know how stress, depression, and grief can manifest as physical symptoms. We all know how physical symptoms can manifest as mental ones. It’s time to start looking at the whole person–mind, body, and soul–for ways to treat back pain.”
When it comes to mild to moderate cases of back pain, holistic treatments like exercise, assistive devices, supplements, and interventional options can (and should) help to make up a patient’s treatment plan.
3. Back pain medications may not work for you
In case you need another reason to try a holistic plan, take a look at the research on back pain medications. As we noted in our post:
“New research on three commonly recommended and prescribed back pain medications has found that all three may be virtually ineffective against back pain and may actually do more harm than good.”
This research came in on the over-the-counter medications, opioids, as well as oral steroids. These medications can help some patients with more severe lower back pain, however, the research simply isn’t there for most cases of lower back pain. Instead, look again towards exercise, dietary changes, physical therapy, complementary medicine, and other minimally-invasive treatments to help you find relief.
4. Physical therapy is a fantastic lower back pain treatment option
Physical therapy retrains the brain to live with pain, but more importantly, it can help build up the muscles in the back. This therapy is incredibly effective for most mild to moderate cases of back pain. As we noted in our post on physical therapy for back pain:
“Physical therapy can improve the strength of muscles and joints around painful areas, which can relieve some of the stress usually placed on the painful spots. In fact, physical therapy after knee or hip joint replacement therapy is mandatory for this reason, and it’s even been found that physical “prehabilitation” therapy, or physical therapy before joint replacement surgery, is so effective that it reduces the need for postoperative care by 30%. Stronger muscles and increased flexibility from physical therapy can also improve coordination and balance, reducing the risk of falls.
Additionally, improvements in body mechanics or posture can reduce pain. In fact, for some conditions, improved body mechanics through physical therapy is one of the best possible treatments. Low back pain, for example, is often initially caused by poor body mechanics, such as lifting, standing, bending, sitting, or walking incorrectly, so improving an individual’s body mechanics is key to relieving chronic lower back pain.”
5. Chiropractic care is another great option for back pain patients
Chiropractic care has a lot of research behind it as a great lower back pain treatment option. A large-scale survey from The Spine Journal showed how powerful this non-invasive and safe treatment could be:
“Researchers reviewed 699 studies of spinal manipulation treatments as compared to other types of treatments that included exercise, medication, mobilization, and sham (placebo) treatments. Researchers found that five to ten sessions of spinal manipulation therapy over two to four weeks was just as effective as other treatments, if not more, in the majority of studies. Unlike other treatments in the studies, there were no side effects reported for spinal manipulation.”
Our post, “Which Chiropractic Methods Treat Lower Back Pain?” covers the specific techniques and treatments you’ll experience if you undergo chiropractic care for your back pain. While many of the effects of these may seem scary (such as the stereotypical back-cracking), chiropractic is remarkably safe for the majority of patients.
In fact, it’s considered so safe, that many suggest its use for pregnant women who are experiencing pain. We noted in our “Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy” post that:
“There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care during pregnancy. In fact, chiropractors are trained to safely and effectively treat pregnant women. In fact, some researchers suggest that musculoskeletal pain management, such as chiropractic care, ought to become a standard part of obstetric care. Specialized techniques are used to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the abdomen. Also, specialized tables or equipment might be used. These are also to avoid putting undue pressure on the abdomen.”
6. Osteoporosis, and other age-related conditions, can also benefit from holistic care
Osteoporosis, a condition that causes thin and brittle bones, occurs naturally as we age. It can also lead to lots of back pain.
We covered the benefits of the following lower back pain treatments in our post “10 Treatments For Back Pain From Osteoporosis”:
- Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty
- The Kiva system
We know and believe that holistic treatments are the best first-line defense when it comes to managing lower back pain. In cases of more severe back pain, patients should always talk to their doctors for more help in finding the treatment option that’s best for them.
Do you suffer from lower back pain? Do you use any holistic treatment options to help with your pain?