Low back pain is a common problem that almost everyone will have to face at some point in their life. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, poor posture, and medical conditions. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available to help manage the pain and improve quality of life. The most common treatments for low back pain include bracing, anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, practical treatments, and surgery.
Bracing provides additional support to the spine and can be an effective treatment for back pain. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are the most commonly recommended medications for back pain and have been shown to be one of the most effective medications. Cortisone injections and practical treatments (such as osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation) can relieve pain and aid the healing process. Surgery may also be an option for chronic back pain if there is a known cause confirmed by imaging and if other treatments haven't helped.
In addition to these traditional treatments, there are a number of alternative treatments for back pain that can often be as or more effective than these traditional treatments. These include acupuncture, massage, biofeedback therapy, laser therapy, electrical nerve stimulation, and other non-surgical spine treatments. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained by consulting a doctor who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history. A systematic review of evidence including recently published research could provide a better understanding of the comparative effectiveness of treatment options for acute and chronic low back pain, and could be used to update existing clinical recommendations that may be outdated.
The Back Pain Consortium, created through HEAL, will conduct studies to better understand the mechanisms of common pain conditions, such as chronic low back pain, develop better diagnostic and treatment tools, and identify, prioritize and test therapies that reduce the need for opioids in millions of Americans.