A number of alternative treatments may ease symptoms of back pain. Always discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor before starting any new alternative therapy.
A chiropractor hand-manipulates your spine to ease your pain.
A practitioner of acupuncture inserts sterilized stainless steel needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Some people with low back pain report that acupuncture helps relieve their symptoms.
If your back pain is caused by tense or overworked muscles, massage might help.
There are several types of yoga, a broad discipline that involves practicing specific postures or poses, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques. Yoga can stretch and strengthen muscles and improve posture, although you might need to modify some poses if they aggravate your symptoms.
Positive health behaviours
- Sleep is ‘medicine’ and engaging in healthy sleep habits such as regular sleep times, reducing screen time and avoiding alcohol /caffeine before bed can improve sleep quality. Getting more than 6-7 hours sleep a night is important. If you are having trouble sleeping, relaxation techniques and regular exercise may be helpful: check out the Mindfulness Meditation module. if this fails to help, then specific medicines that help stabilise your mood may help you get restorative sleep.
- A healthy diet is also important as there is growing evidence that abdominal obesity (fat around your belly) is associated with back pain and can cause inflammation. Sometimes losing weight is really difficult and this requires assistance from a health professional.
- Smoking is another predictor for persistent back pain, so getting assistance to quit is a great idea.
See also: “Considerations and Recommendations for Back Pain“
Simple analgesia as a standalone treatment
- Current evidence challenges the use of paracetamol to manage low back pain. However, there may be occasions when you doctor may suggest combining paracetamol (max 8 tablets a day or Panadol Osteo 6 tablets a day) and anti-inflammatory (preferably coxibs) medicines to help settle your pain.
Combining these may offer better pain relief, with lower doses required and fewer side effects.
- You should always discuss this first with your GP or pharmacist to see if there are any reasons why you cannot use anti-inflammatories.
- If you have asthma or gastrointestinal (gut) problems, these are not recommended, as they can cause you harm.
- Sometimes you need an extra medication when using anti-inflammatories to help protect your stomach especially if you have gastrointestinal problems.