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How to deal with chronic back pain without resorting to drugs

Sep 25, 2012, 8:21 a.m.
There are several options for home treatment of chronic back pain; acupuncture being one of them.

It is impressive that many people want to deal with their chronic back pain without resorting to drugs. Instead of using drugs that could become a problem, try doing exercises to relieve back pain. Consider using some of the following activities to strengthen your back and to improve your mobility while you reduce pain. Be sure you have your doctor's approval first to ensure that you do not accidently aggravate any existing back problems.

There are several options for home treatment of chronic back pain, according to experts at WebMD.com and elsewhere. Common recommendations include being gentle in your approach to help reduce stiffness and increase flexibility of the back.

Management of a painful back condition can often be achieved by using one or more of the following treatment methods:

Mind-body -- use therapies such as relaxation, biofeedback, hypnosis, meditation or guided imagery while resting quietly

Acupuncture -- this alternative medical treatment has been successful for many as the technician uses needles carefully placed into pressure points of the nervous system that can result in reduced pain

Chiropractic manipulation and massage -- these techniques affect blood flow and muscles in addition to loosening up stress upon nerves

Therapeutic touch -- Reiki healing and touch are older techniques that can reduce pain

Diet, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies -- this basket of alternative medicine can indeed be used by some people as a replacement for drugs. Consult with your doctor before adding supplements or making drastic changes to your diet. Some foods and supplements can change the effect of prescription drugs; you do not want to erase a good benefit or increase a bad side effect accidentally.

The main point to remember about chronic back pain is that you must avoid doing anything that might cause additional damage. Pain is the body's way of telling you that something is wrong; in danger or needs attention. Pain-killing drugs work on the brain and central nervous system but only mask the sensation of pain. Drugs offer fast relief; alternative treatments may offer long-term relief and recovery. By gently strengthening muscles around the painful area, you may help the body hold bones in place and gain relief.

Resuming normal activities is a reasonable goal when there is chronic pain. It is important to avoid things that might aggravate a painful condition. Smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, twisting, straining or sitting on soft surfaces should be avoided. Follow your doctor's orders with regard to use of cold or hot packs, and posture. Lying down may require the use of supportive pillows under bent knees or between your legs to achieve pain relief and comfort for sleeping. Too much bed rest can be wrong; again, always consult with your physician before embarking on any new plan for chronic pain relief. Some conditions may become permanent nightmares if you move the wrong way, overdo exercise or take the wrong supplements.

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