You can choose from a number
of alternative treatments for your
low back pain. Because many of these treatments are new or not yet
well researched, they may not be covered by health insurance.
following complementary treatments are often used for low back
Massage may reduce low back pain,
especially when combined with exercises and back care education.4
manipulation is likely to help both acute and chronic low back pain in the short-term, but probably no more than other treatments such as physical therapy, exercise, or pain medicine.5 While they differ in their
training, osteopaths, chiropractors, physiatrists, and specially trained
physical therapists can all perform spinal manipulation. Spinal manipulation
usually has its greatest impact after one treatment, so multiple treatments are
seldom needed.6 Learn more about
spinal manipulation. One comparison has shown that
people who get osteopathic manipulative treatment may need less medicine to
control their pain than those who get standard treatment such as pain
medicine and physical therapy.7 For more
Biofeedback has not been well studied as a treatment
for low back pain. But recent research has not shown that biofeedback is
effective for controlling low back pain.
Acupuncture may help decrease pain and
increase activity. Some studies showed that acupuncture reduced pain and
disability related to back problems more than usual treatment.8 Another summary of several studies
showed that acupuncture reduced pain and increased the ability to be active for a short time after treatment
but not any more than other treatments.9
Acupressure uses pressure on certain points in
the body to decrease symptoms. Small studies suggest that acupressure reduces
pain and allows a person to be more active.10
Yoga is another way of staying active
while also helping with relaxation and stress management. It is not clear
whether yoga is more helpful than other activity or treatment for low back
pain.11 There are different types of yoga. Talk to your
doctor or physical therapist before you start a yoga program.
Here are some other treatment choices to think about:
Learning about your back:
Back school teaches you all about back care, how to stand and sit, and how to move your body in a safer way. It also teaches you how to prevent long-term back problems.
A pain management clinic is a place where you can learn how to cope with
chronic pain. You also can get treatment there.
Spinal cord stimulation uses an electrical current to treat chronic pain. A doctor puts an
electrical generator under the skin. This device sends pulses through electrodes placed in the
spinal canal. There is not strong evidence that it works.12