Natural Solutions for Low Back Pain
Most adults suffer from some kind of back pain. About 80% of us have experienced this common problem and millions of people have chronic pain on a daily or weekly basis. The costs of back pain are high: we spend about $240 billion a year in the US on treatment and lost productivity on the problem.
Medical care isn't the best option for most back pain sufferers. Most doctors aren't trained in musculoskeletal problems, and medical solutions don't help to get to the root of what actually causes most back pain. Medical treatment for back pain consists of medications, physical therapy, and—in the worst case scenario—surgery.
Over the last few years, more and more people are looking for affordable and natural solutions for their healthcare, including musculoskeletal problems like back pain. Fortunately, research shows that there are many options for back pain that don't involve risky drugs or surgery.
Here are some documented natural treatments for low back pain:
One of the most common reasons for people to visit a chiropractor is for low back pain, and for good reason: the scientific research is clear that chiropractic is effective for acute1 and chronic back pain.2 Research also shows that chiropractic costs less than medical treatment, helps prevent future episodes with maintenance care, and can help people prevent surgery.
Millions of people use massage therapy for back pain relief because massage works for musculoskeletal pain.
When working with low back pain, the role of our musculature and fascia can't be ignored if you want to get to the root of the problem. Massage therapy works by relieving muscular tension, breaking up scar tissue, and restoring balance to the lumbar spine.3,4
Most people aren't familiar with Pilates and think that it's just a fitness fad, but Pilates has an established reputation in the scientific literature for its rehabilitation effectiveness, especially for patients with back pain.
The basic philosophy of Pilates is core strength and balance, and many case of back pain are caused by deficiencies in both of these elements. Research shows5 that core strengthening exercises are effective at recovering from and preventing back pain episodes.
Yoga has been used for thousands of years as a way to improve both physical and psychological health, and many patients use yoga as a way to relieve back pain.
A Croatian study6 found that yoga was effective at relieving back pain and helping with anxiety and depression, which are issues that complicate recovery from pain. A 2017 study7 found that a workplace yoga program can be an effective way to not only help workers with back pain, but it also reduced disability and decreased the number of sick days in workers due to pain.
There Are Choices!
Don't let back pain affect your life. The research shows that there are healthy options for back pain that don't involve medications or surgery.
- Paige NM, Miake-Lye IM, Booth MS, Beroes JM, Mardian AS, Dougherty P, Branson R, Tang B, Morton SC, Shekelle PG. Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. 2017;317(14);1451-1460. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.3086
- Descarreaux M, Blouin JS, Drolet M, Papadimitriou S, Teasdale N. Efficacy of preventive spinal manipulation for chronic low-back pain and related disabilities: a preliminary study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2004;27:509-514.
- Preyde M. Effectiveness of massage therapy for subacute low-back pain: a randomized controlled trial. CMAJ. 2000 Jun 27;162(13):1815-20. PubMed PMID: 10906914; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1231369.
- Trampas A, Mpeneka A, Malliou V, Godolias G, Vlachakis P. Immediate Effects of Core-Stability Exercises and Clinical Massage on Dynamic-Balance Performance of Patients With Chronic Specific Low Back Pain. Journal of Sports Rehabilitation 2015 Nov;24(4):373-83. doi: 10-1123/jsr.2014-0215. Epub 2014 Dec 4.
- de Araujo Cazotti L, Jones A, Roger-Silva D, Ribeiro LHC, Natour J. Effectiveness of the Pilates Method in the Treatment of Chronic Mechanical Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2018 May 9. pii:S0003-9993(18)30291-0. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2018.04.018.
- KuvaÄiÄ‡ G, Fratini P, Padulo J, Antonio DI, De Giorgio A. Effectiveness of yoga and educational intervention on disability, anxiety, depression, and pain in people with CLBP: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2018 May;31:262-267. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.03.008. Epub 2018 Mar 15. PubMed PMID: 29705466.
- Hartfiel N, Clarke G, Havenhand J, Phillips C, Edwards RT. Cost-effectiveness of yoga for managing musculoskeletal conditions in the workplace. Occupational Medicine (Lond). 2017 Dec 30;67(9):687-695. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqx161. PubMed PMID: 29202204; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5927122.