Conventional Healthcare

Most back pain can be treated without surgery. Treatment involves using analgesics, reducing inflammation, restoring proper function and strength to the back, and preventing recurrence of the injury. Most patients with back pain recover without residual functional loss. Patients should contact a doctor if there is not a noticeable reduction in pain and inflammation after 72 hours of self-care.

Although ice and heat (the use of cold and hot compresses) have never been scientifically proven to quickly resolve low back injury, compresses may help reduce pain and inflammation and allow greater mobility for some individuals. As soon as possible following trauma, patients should apply a cold pack or a cold compress (such as a bag of ice or bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel) to the tender spot several times a day for up to 20 minutes. After 2 to 3 days of cold treatment, they should then apply heat (such as a heating lamp or hot pad) for brief periods to relax muscles and increase blood flow. Warm baths may also help relax muscles. Patients should avoid sleeping on a heating pad, which can cause burns and lead to additional tissue damage.

Bed rest — 1–2 days at most. A 1996 Finnish study found that persons who continued their activities without bed rest following onset of low back pain appeared to have better back flexibility than those who rested in bed for a week. Other studies suggest that bed rest alone may make back pain worse and can lead to secondary complications such as depression, decreased muscle tone, and blood clots in the legs. Patients should resume activities as soon as possible. At night or during rest, patients should lie on one side, with a pillow between the knees (some doctors suggest resting on the back and putting a pillow beneath the knees).

Medications are often used to treat acute and chronic low back pain. Effective pain relief may involve a combination of prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies. Patients should always check with a doctor before taking drugs for pain relief. Certain medicines, even those sold over the counter, are unsafe during pregnancy, may conflict with other medications, may cause side effects including drowsiness, or may lead to liver damage.

  • Over-the-counter analgesics, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen), are taken orally to reduce stiffness, swelling, and inflammation and to ease mild to moderate low back pain. Counter-irritants applied topically to the skin as a cream or spray stimulate the nerve endings in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold and dull the sense of pain. Topical analgesics can also reduce inflammation and stimulate blood flow. Many of these compounds contain salicylates, the same ingredient found in oral pain medications containing aspirin.
  • Anticonvulsants — drugs primarily used to treat seizures — may be useful in treating certain types of nerve pain and may also be prescribed with analgesics.
  • Some antidepressants, particularly tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and desipramine, have been shown to relieve pain (independent of their effect on depression) and assist with sleep. Antidepressants alter levels of brain chemicals to elevate mood and dull pain signals. Many of the new antidepressants, such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are being studied for their effectiveness in pain relief.
  • Capsaicin, “Sports Creams” and Other Creams and Ointments Recommendations: D.12.e.ii Capsicum is recommended for treatment of acute and subacute back pain, or temporary flare-ups of chronic LBP.
  • Opioids such as codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine are often prescribed to manage severe acute and chronic back pain but should be used only for a short period of time and under a physician’s supervision. Side effects can include drowsiness, decreased reaction time, impaired judgment, and potential for addiction. Many specialists are convinced that chronic use of these drugs is detrimental to the back pain patient, adding to depression and even increasing pain.
ThermaCare Lower Back & Hip Heat Wraps
ThermaCare Lower Back & Hip Heat Wraps

Designed to fit your lower back and thin enough to wear discreetly under your clothing, ThermaCare allows you to move freely while delivering therapeutic heat to relax your tight back muscles.

ThermaCare Lower Back & Hip Heat Wraps, Large-XL, 2-Count Boxes (Pack of 3)

A wonderful product for those of us with recurrent lower back pain whether it be from muscles or actual degeneration of the spine.

Salonpas Pain Relieving Patch - 120 Patches
Salonpas Pain Relieving Patch - 120 Patches

For temporary relief of minor aches & pains of muscles and joints associated with simple backache, arthritis, strains, bruises and sprains.

Salonpas Pain Relieving Patch - 120 Patches

They also really help with lower back pain.

Sunbeam King Size Heating Pad
Sunbeam King Size Heating Pad

The Sunbeam Heating Pad has patented technology that self regulates to prevent hot spots and provides consistent, therapeutic heat. The digital led controller makes for easy, precise use.

Sunbeam 938-511 King Size Heating Pad with LED Controller

Very soft to the touch, heats well and nice size.