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Back Pain Treatment

What Are the Treatments for Back Pain? continued...

Because osteopaths are fully licensed doctors, their osteopathic treatment is likely to combine drug therapy with spinal manipulation, followed by physical therapy and exercise.

Acupuncture: Both the American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians released guidelines stating that acupuncture may help patients with chronic low-back pain when other treatments have failed. It can be used alone or as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes medications and other therapies. However, there is not enough evidence yet to recommend it for acute back pain.

CBT: If you consult a psychotherapist for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), your treatment may include stress management, behavioral adaptation, education, and relaxation techniques. CBT can lessen the intensity of back pain, change perceptions about levels of pain and disability, and even lift depression. The NIH considers CBT useful for relieving low back pain, citing studies that show CBT to be superior to routine care and placebo.

Other comprehensive behavioral programs have shown similar success, with participants able to lessen the amount of medication they needed while improving their outlook and pain-related behavior.

Biofeedback: If lower back pain is related to muscle tension or spasm, biofeedback can be effective for lessening pain intensity, decreasing drug use, and improving quality of life. Biofeedback may help you train your muscles to respond better to stress or movement.

Exercise methods: The Alexander Technique, Pilates, and the Feldendkrais Method are all specialized forms of body work that help you learn to move in a more coordinated, flexible, and graceful manner. They may help you become more aware of your movements and may help relieve stress. Some of the postures of yoga may help diminish low back pain, improve flexibility, strength, and sense of balance. Yoga is also good for stress reduction and can help with the psychological aspects of pain. These non-medical and conservative therapies empower patients. This empowerment with a self-help plan may reduce feelings of helplessness and pain separate from any effect on body tissues and structures. More research is needed to see how these exercise techniques affect  back pain.

Aquatic therapy: Aquatic therapy and exercise can also improve flexibility and decrease pain for some people with chronic low back problems. It is especially beneficial for those patients who cannot tolerate land-based physical therapy.This is because the unique properties of water often make it a safe environment for exercising a sore back, providing gentle resistance, comfort, and relaxation. Fear of pain associated with movement is a major limiting factor for rehabilitation and exercises therapy. The support and warmth of the water enables a person to gradually introduce daily exercise into their treatment.

In many instances, knowing the cause of the pain and being able to fix the problem is not possible. In this case, the primary goal of pain management treatment may be to permit the person to function as best as possible despite any discomfort.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 20, 2012

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