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Treatment Options

Common treatments of upper and lower back pain include everything from bed rest to surgery. REMEMBER: Pain is NOT the natural state of the body, nor is it a "normal" side effect of aging. Pain is the body's way of telling you something is wrong! The best solution is to identify the cause of your pain and correct it-not simply mask the symptoms.

Any of the following treatments can be effective, but most have associated risks of which you should be aware. For this reason it is best to consult with a trusted healthcare practitioner, especially if pain is severe or prolonged.

  Bed Rest

However sensible getting off your back may seem, studies show that bed rest is NOT superior to remaining (conservatively) active to treat a low back injury. In fact, prolonged bed rest can actually lead to increased stiffness and pain and a reduced ability to function. Periodic short rests can be helpful and your healthcare provider may advise a reduction of normal activity.

  Heat and Ice

Immediately after an injury, ice your back for about 15 minutes at least 3 to 4 times a day to reduce or prevent inflammation and swelling. After 2 to 3 days, if symptoms persist, use a heating pad for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 or 3 hours. Then, if pain continues, see a healthcare professional.


Non-prescription pain relievers such as acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol) or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS (i.e. ibuprofen) may be helpful for temporary relief, but are NOT advisable for chronic pain or long term use. Tylenol has recently been linked to liver disease and ibuprofen to bleeding ulcers. Doctors often prescribe stronger drugs for pain, but of course, these have other risky side effects including mental or physical impairment, behavioral effects, and addiction. Extreme caution should be used when undergoing any chemical therapy for pain.


Most back pain problems can be treated effectively without costly and risky surgeries. In fact, one recent study shows that up to 40% of back surgery patients report a DIS-satisfactory result within 4 years of treatment. For this reason, other more natural, less invasive treatments should be explored or exhausted before choosing surgical intervention.


Chiropractic is a natural form of treatment that operates on the premise that the body is designed to heal itself. Chiropractors actually have more training than a traditional general or family care physician. Chiropractors use gentle spinal adjustments to correct spinal misalignment and relieve pressure on sensitive nerves. They often combine this form of treatment with other non-invasive modalities such as muscle stimulation, ultrasound, massage, and physical therapy to relieve symptoms and rebuild core strength and maintain permanent correction. The chiropractor's goal is always to correct the problem, not simply hide the symptoms.

Who else wants to experience lasting pain relief?!

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