Back Pain – Treatment Without Surgery

There are basically four main objectives when dealing with back pain. They are to reduce as far as possible the level of the pain and to do so as quickly as practicable, to facilitate the individual in going about their every day lives, to assist the individual in dealing with any remaining pain and to evaluate the range of treatments available for their longer term health. Both clinicians and patients in the main unsurprisingly approach the treatment of back pain regarding surgery as a last resort; patients usually fear it and surgeons realise that operating in such a delicate situation brings with it its own risks .

A difficulty faced by clinicians is that it interventions sometimes work for individuals and sometimes not, despite the patients presenting with, on the face of it, similar conditions and often there will be a certain amount of trial and error in finding the best solution for the individual. As a guide though it is commonly reckoned that only about 4 or 5% of those presenting with back pain will need corrective surgery .

Relief Without Surgery

Many patients seem to benefit greatly from the various forms of heat therapy especially in those milder cases where the problem is muscular based. Some find that a hot bath, whirlpool or even the old fashioned hot-water bottle give good levels of relief whereas others find that they get better relief making the area colder by the use of ice packs.

Some patients benefit greatly from undertaking a course of massage, but a word of caution here in that an inexperienced therapist can run the risk of making matters worse. Some have also found that acupuncture and/or pressure point massage can be useful, but, once again this should only be undertaken by an experienced practitioner

Finally, medications can have an important part to play ranging from simple paracetamol through muscle relaxants to anti-inflammatory drugs.

The More Passive Approach

Careful and gentle exercise has been shown to be effective in alleviating pain, however this really only ought to be with the supervision of a professional to avoid making matters worse. Broadly speaking, a degree of stretching and physical exercise is considered to be a necessary part of virtually all treatment programmes. All the same, it usually turns out that exercise is useful for prolonged back pain but is less so for acute pain. Further it is also reckoned that exercises to increase mobility in the back are not as effective for acute situations as simply going about one’s every day business as normal while being careful of any risk of exertion.

It has also been shown that manipulation and exercise of the muscle groups surrounding and supporting the spine by a trained osteopath, chiropractor or physical therapist can be very beneficial in some cases.

There are a number of approaches which have varying degrees of success but these are outside of the scope of this short article but it is perhaps worth mentioning The Alexander Technique which is widely reckoned to be useful for the relief of those with chronic back pain.

Ken Lewis, a former CEO of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, has practised as an alternative therapist since 1991 during which time he has helped many with a wide range of problems. He particularly focuses on the endorsement of methods proven to be effective in alleviating both physical and psychological issues. For further effective help in curing your back pain, go to

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