Back pain is one of the most common complaints when people go to the doctor, and it’s responsible for millions of lost hours in work time and billions in insurance claims. If you are suffering from back pain, here are some treatments you can try at home, as well as what you can expect if you go to your healthcare provider for help.
Be aware that many of the treatments your physician can offer come with side effects or significant risks. There is a new type of back pain treatment, however, that you may want to explore if your back pain becomes chronic. This innovative area of medicine is safer and produces longer-lasting results for serious back pain than you’ll find elsewhere.
If your back pain comes from overdoing physical activity, such as after spring cleaning or a weekend softball tournament, rest might be all you need. The idea is to stop what you’re doing that’s causing pain and take the pressure off your spine and the muscles around your back.
Ice and heat
Ice can be helpful to stop swelling and ease acute pain after a sudden injury. Heat is better when swelling isn’t involved, but you want to ease muscle tension and relieve stiffness in your back.
You may turn to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also known as NSAIDs) that you can get without a prescription at your local pharmacy or grocery store. But be forewarned that even these over-the-counter medications, often called “conservative treatments,” should be used with caution. They can cause gastric upset, high blood pressure, and increased risk of cardiovascular problems.
A TENS unit delivers tiny shocks to your back via electrodes. It reduces pain by interrupting nerve signals between the back and the brain. You can purchase devices online or at your pharmacy, or your insurance may cover more sophisticated models you can only get at the doctor’s office.
When back pain is caused by lack of support, sometimes addressing that fixes the problem. Some common back support items include:
- Lumbar cushion for your vehicle or office chair
- Back belts (which don’t offer real support but do remind you to take care of your back, such as when lifting objects)
- Ergonomic office chairs and equipment
- Firmer mattress and pillows
- Orthotic inserts for support that starts at your feet
Acupuncture is a centuries-old form of traditional Chinese medicine that uses fine needles, along with a few other natural techniques, to quell pain. The needles are inserted in specific points on the body. It can be highly effective, but you need regular treatments for long-term back pain.
Chiropractors specialize in conditions related to the alignment of the spine. They can sometimes help with back pain if it stems from misalignment or muscle spasms near the spine. Like acupuncture, you have to attend appointments regularly if you have chronic back pain.
Massage is great to relieve stiffness, work out knots in your muscles, and promote the production of endorphins and other “feel good” chemicals your body produces naturally. It’s not a cure for back pain, but it can help if you have pain that flares occasionally.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy if muscle weakness, poor balance, or other factors that can be remedied with exercise are contributing to your back pain. Typically, you learn the exercises at an appointment with a physical therapist and then perform them on your own at home according to a given schedule.
Some physicians use steroid injections to help with back pain, although this shouldn’t be a long-term treatment. While cortisone injections reduce inflammation and can be helpful to complete a course of physical therapy, for example, they’re not recommended for repetitive use, which would be required every few months or so. And even one injection carries risks.
For people with chronic back pain that intrudes on every aspect of their life, prescription drugs can seem like the answer. However, these medications only mask your pain and can be highly addictive. They also cause a range of negative side effects, from constipation to sedation.
You might feel like surgery is your only resort, especially if your doctor recommends it for a disc problem or degenerative joint disease. But surgery is expensive, risky, and not guaranteed to fix your pain. In fact, in some cases, patients are left with nerve damage or even worse pain.
An Alternative Treatment for Serious Back Pain
A better option than most of the physician treatments above is regenerative medicine. At RegenerWave Clinic, we use this treatment for many joint and back problems as part of a holistic approach to wellness that works on gut health, hormones, nutrition, and other pillars of health.
Regenerative medicine uses your body’s natural healing abilities to treat serious back pain. We inject exosomes, which are similar to stem cells but more ethically derived, into the area causing you pain. Those cells replicate and produce long-lasting pain relief by easing inflammation, increasing immunity, and building new tissue where it’s needed for cushioning. The results can last for months or even years, without any of the risks of surgery or pharmaceuticals.
Although regenerative medicine isn’t usually covered by insurance, it can ultimately be less expensive than other treatments once you consider copays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses, not to mention continued lost work time. This area of medicine is taking off right now, and scientists are finding applications for it for everything from cancer to diabetes.
If you have tried some of the treatments listed here to no avail and are ready for a different type of therapy, an appointment at RegenerWave Clinic can determine right away if regenerative medicine is right for you. We discuss your medical history, perform a physical exam, and take any images we need for a diagnosis. Then, we put together a plan for treating your back pain as well as managing any other health concerns that can be helped by our functional medicine approach.
Don’t let back pain take your life away from you. Call RegenerWave Clinic today at 954-510-3150, or get in touch online to let us know how we can help.