Back Pain Treatment

Complementary and Alternative Treatments Used to Treat Back Pain

When back pain becomes chronic, or when medications and other conventional therapies do not relieve it, many people try complementary and alternative treatments. While such therapies won't cure diseases or repair the injuries that cause pain, some people find these therapies to be useful for managing or relieving pain. Complementary therapies include:
  • Manipulation
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Rolfing.
Spinal manipulation refers to procedures in which professionals use their hands to mobilize, adjust, massage, or stimulate the spine or surrounding tissues. Osteopathic doctors and chiropractors usually perform this type of therapy, and it tends to be most effective in people with uncomplicated pain and when used with other therapies. Spinal manipulation is not appropriate if you have a medical problem such as osteoporosis, spinal cord compression, or inflammatory arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis), or if you are taking blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin (Calciparine® or Liquaemin®).
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) involves wearing a small box over the painful area that directs mild electrical impulses to the nerves. The theory behind TENS is that stimulating the nervous system can modify the perception of pain. Early studies of TENS suggested it could elevate the levels of endorphins (the body's natural pain-numbing chemicals) in the spinal fluid. However, subsequent studies of its effectiveness against pain have produced mixed results.
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Back Pain Treatments

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