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Back Pain Health Center

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Alternative Therapies for Low Back Pain

Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation

Getting spine adjustments from a chiropractor or other professional can reduce back pain. It may work just as well as other treatments, or sometimes better. It's a good choice if you don't have nerve pain or nerve damage, Lewis says.

Try a set of 12 sessions of spinal manipulative therapy with a licensed chiropractor, osteopathic physician, or physical therapist. You'll probably feel better right away, and you may feel good long after you're done.

"It can last from a few hours to several months, typically after a set of treatments is complete," Lewis says.

Herbal Remedies

It's possible that certain herbal treatments may be helpful for low back pain. But there's not a lot of evidence to support it.

Some people try capsaicin cream, a form of cayenne pepper that you apply to your back to block pain signals from reaching your brain.

The extract of the herb white willow is similar to aspirin and may help also help relieve pain.

Devil's claw, an herb used to treat osteoarthritis, may also be helpful for your back pain. You take it in a capsule, tablet, or liquid, or as an ointment that you put on your skin.

Biofeedback and Mind-Based Treatments

Biofeedback uses special equipment, usually at a doctor's or therapist's office, to give you information about your body's physical reactions. It can teach you how to monitor and control your breathing and your pulse to help you relax and ease long-term pain.

Other techniques include progressive relaxation, where you tighten and then relax different muscles; and mindfulness-based stress reduction, which uses meditation. Both help you use your mind to reduce the sensation of pain. But studies are inconclusive, so it's unclear if they're effective therapeutic treatments.

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Reviewed on July 02, 2014

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