4 Alternative Treatments for Chronic Back Pain

4 Alternative Treatments for Chronic Back Pain

Back pain can present at any moment and often has no mercy regardless of your age, weight or physical activity. Yes, there are many preventative methods you can apply to stave off back pain but when it comes to a deep, structural struggle you may need some outside help to stop the pain.

Most will go directly to their conventional medical doctor who may prescribe muscle relaxants, pain relievers, physical therapy and sometimes even surgery. Before going down this path you may want to consider these 4 alternative treatments for chronic back pain first.

Sometimes all it takes is anything from a minor adjustment, a dedicated few minutes per day or becoming more proactive and following a complete change of course to take control of your chronic back pain challenge.

A Quick Glance at Back Pain

Acute back pain is a painful bout that may last a few hours to as long as a week or so and then disappear. Chronic back pain is a painful nag that is always there or continually returns.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) reports that:

  • Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives
  • Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
  • Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work.  In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
  • Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.

With these statistics even minor back pain could lead to something more serious.

Lighten Up

Losing weight can be a real struggle but the benefits are undeniable. Dropping just four pounds can relieve your spine of sixteen pounds of pressure. In a Hong Kong study of over 2500 subjects it was found that risk of degenerative disc disease (DDD) escalates between 30-79% when one is overweight. In many cases, losing weight could heal DDD within six months.

Stretch Your Frame

Yoga may sound like an impossibility but many class levels offer you the opportunity to open up your body’s natural healing capability.

Simon Dagenais, co-author of the textbook “Evidence-Based Management of Low Back Pain” suggests that long term improvement of chronic back pain, “comes from patients’ having realistic expectations, managing their own pain and exercising regularly,”. Walking, stretching or taking a gentle yoga class are good choices to incorporate into your daily routine.

Needle It

Acupuncture has been around for over 4,000 years and for good reason. The slight insertion of hair thin needles (yes, there can be minimal discomfort but it dissipates quickly) has been shown to release the body’s natural analgesics (pain killers). It can also remove “stuck energy” that Chinese medicine believes is a blockage that causes all disease.

About two sessions per week for six weeks could result in significant improvement. Each session lasts between 30-45 minutes.

Go Ohm

Stress is a major factor when it comes to so many ailments and some practitioners believe that just labored breathing from stress can cause chronic back pain. A specific meditation called mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) may be an excellent reliever.

Developed at the University of Massachusetts, MBSR is a combination of mindfulness meditation (pushing away those inner, ego voices and letting go), body awareness (concentrating on the pain and visualizing its removal) and yoga (deep, proper breathing and stretching). It can be practiced for anywhere between ten minutes and one hour per day but staying with the program has resulted in alleviating various health challenges such as chronic back pain.

In a study by researchers at the University of Washington, published in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) it was concluded that,

“Among adults with chronic low back pain, treatment with MBSR [] compared with usual care, resulted in greater improvement in back pain and functional limitations at 26 weeks…These findings suggest that MBSR may be an effective treatment option for patients with chronic low back pain.”

These 4 alternative treatments for chronic back pain may help you avoid unnecessary doctor’s appointments, pharmaceuticals, x-rays, MRI’s and possibly even surgery. It is a way to take control of your body and mind to attempt to heal yourself naturally.