Back Pain Treatment

Treatment for Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back pain can be treated with or without surgery. In the vast majority of cases, treatment does not require surgery. Doctors will almost always try non-surgical treatment before recommending back surgery. In a very small percentage of cases -- when back pain is caused by a tumor, an infection, or a nerve root problem called cauda equina syndrome -- prompt surgery is necessary to ease the pain and prevent further problems.

(Click Back Surgery for more information about back surgery as a treatment option.)
There are a number of non-surgical chronic treatment options for back pain, which include:
  • Hot or cold packs
  • Exercise
  • Medications
  • Devices
  • Behavioral modification
  • Injections
  • Complementary and alternative therapy.

Hot or Cold Treatment for Back Pain

Hot or cold packs -- or sometimes a combination of the two -- can be soothing to chronically sore, stiff backs. Heat can:
  • Reduce muscle spasms
  • Alter the sensation of pain
  • Dilate the blood vessels, which will improve the supply of oxygen that the blood takes to the back.
Cold may reduce inflammation by decreasing the size of the blood vessels and the flow of blood to the area. Although cold may feel painful against the skin, it will numb deep pain. Applying heat or cold may relieve pain, but it will not cure the cause of chronic back pain.

Exercise as a Back Pain Treatment

Although exercise is usually not advisable for acute back pain, proper exercise can help ease chronic pain and perhaps reduce its risk of returning. Exercises that may be helpful for specific causes of back pain include flexion, extension, stretching, and aerobic.
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Back Pain Treatments

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