Back Pain
Man rubbing his back in pain.Man rubbing his back in pain.

7 Back
Treatments You
May Not Have

About 80 percent of adults in the US experience lower-back pain at some point. It could be from lifting something heavy, playing with kids, or other surprising reasons, but the end result is a painful back. For the most part, lower back pain doesn’t last too long and gets better over time. There are still some steps beyond taking pain medication to help you get better. Here are 7 things to talk to your doctor about that could help ease your pain.

A review of studies found HeatWrap therapy could reduce lower back pain.

  1. Exercise: It may surprise you, but one study tested adults who suffered from back pain and found that exercise actually helped reduce the pain. Check out these 5 strengthening exercises that make a great addition to your workout.
  2. Massage: Sure, massages are a great way to unwind and reward yourself, but they can also help with lower back pain. They also help with short-term pain and function, according to an American College of Physicians review of 26 trials.
  3. Spinal manipulation or spinal mobilization: Spinal manipulation (when a chiropractor adjusts the spine in a rapid movement) and spinal mobilization (when a chiropractor moves the spine more slowly) have been shown with limited evidence to help both acute and chronic lower back pain. If other medical issues like arthritis, osteoporosis, or spinal cord compression are causing your back pain, you should steer clear of these techniques.
    Woman getting acupuncture.
  4. Acupuncture: You might not think of feeling like a pincushion as fun, but acupuncture could be a huge help for back pain. Evidence is limited on how it helps short-term back pain, but a review of 32 studies has shown acupuncture to be moderately effective for more chronic lower back pain. Check out what to expect the first time you try it.
  5. Yoga and tai chi: Got a yoga mat in the closet? Brush off the dust. Both yoga poses and tai chi help chronic back pain sufferers, says the American College of Physicians. So find out how tai chi works and go get your Zen on.
  6. Heat therapy: Thinking about reaching for something cold for your back pain? Think again. A review of studies found HeatWrap therapy could reduce lower back pain for those with acute lower back pain. ThermaCare® Lower Back & Hip HeatWraps deliver up to 16 hours of targeted real heat to help relieve your lower back. Stop using it and talk to your doctor if your pain lasts more than 7 days.
  7. Stress management: The strains of stress go beyond the brain. You can definitely feel it physically. Tense muscles make back pain worse. Mindfulness strategies like breathing, stretching, and progressive relaxation are all ways to help manage the effects of stress. In progressive relaxation, you focus on slowly tensing and relaxing different muscles. As you get less tense and more in tune with your body, you might notice less lower back pain.

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