Back pain is classified as the symptom. The typical cause for pain in the lower back is due to injury or a disease to the nerves, bones and/or muscles in and around the spine. Pain that arises from an abnormality of either the chest, pelvis or organs are also sometimes experienced in the lower back. This is known as referred pain. Even a normal pregnancy can result in back pain due to a number of reasons, such as stretching of the ligaments in the pelvis, strain placed on the lower back or irritating the nerves.

Common causes of back pain will include:

  • Strain, injury or overuse
  • Herniated disc
  • Aging
  • A spine condition that the person was born with
  • Arthritis
  • Illness
  • Compression fractures

Medical Treatments For Back Pain

The initial treatment for relief of lower back pain from is usually accompanied by an assumption that pain in around 90% of patients, will subside naturally within a month. Today there are various treatment options available. All remedies should always be discussed with a health-care provider.

Home-care is usually suggested for an initial treatment when it comes to low-back pain. Bed rest is still extremely valuable with many of the experts suggesting that bed rest and decreased activity should be kept to two days. Application of local heat or ice provides relief in certain patients, while ibuprofen and acetaminophen are useful to control the pain.

Medications For Lower Back Pain

The medication treatment choices will depend on an accurate diagnosis of your lower back pain.

Here is a list of the more common drugs used to treat low back pain:

NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are one of the mainstays for medical treatments to achieve relief from back pain. These include ketoprofen, naproxen, ibuprofen along with a host of other varieties.  

COX-2 inhibitors like Celebrex (celecoxib) which are members that are more selective of the NSAIDs. Even though increased costs may be a negative aspect for some, incidences of bleeding that could be potentially fatal inside the gastrointestinal tract is far less with COX-2 inhibitors compared to traditional NSAIDS.

Acetaminophen is regarded as effective for the treatment of acute pain.

Opioid analgesics are considered the drug of choice for controlling pain for acute back-pain. Using these medications is linked with a number of adverse side-effects that include sedation, dependence, nausea, a delay in reaction time, along with clouded judgement. Some studies have supported this medication for only temporary relief from pain over the short-term.

Steroids are of benefit for the treatment of acute sciatica. Injections containing steroids into an epidural space can decrease the duration of the symptoms or to improve function yet are at this stage not recommended for back pain that is not accompanied by sciatica.

Surgery For Lower Back Pain

Surgery is rarely a consideration for back pain that is acute unless cauda-equina syndrome or sciatica is present. Surgery is a consideration for people that have a specific type of progressive nerve issues which have come about from herniated discs.

Other Therapies

  1. Spinal Manipulation

Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation is usually more beneficial for people in the first few months of their symptoms. Manipulation is said to be more beneficial for people that have nerve-root issues.

  1. Acupuncture

The latest evidence at this stage is not in support of acupuncture for treating lower back and acute pain, as studies that are scientifically valid have not been made available. The use of this treatment is still controversial. 

  1. TENS

TENS which stands for transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation, works with providing electrical pulses of stimulation through the use of surface electrodes. When it comes to acute pain in the back, there is at this stage no proven benefits. However, two studies have resulted in inconclusive results. One of these studies did show an advantage that was slight after the first week for TENS, yet then no differences at the third month and then beyond. To date, there is no recorded benefits for patients who suffer from sciatica.

  1. Exercise

When it comes to acute lower back pain, there is also no specific evidence that supports that specific exercises are effective to decrease pain or improve function compared to the other types of conservative therapies. When it comes to chronic pain, studies have discovered benefits from the exercises that are focused on strengthening. Physical therapy is often optimally guided by a specialized therapist.

Stretches For The Relief Of Lower Back Pain

Stretching exercises in some cases can be beneficial for lower back pain. Here is a list of some of the more effective stretches:

  1. Child’s Pose

This is yoga posture that works on gently stretching muscles in your lower back, that are usually contracted when you are in pain.

How To Do It

Start the pose on hands and your knees, with the hands positioned under the shoulders and the knees positioned under the hips. Now reach out to the front, extending the arms and then placing the palms onto the floor. Slowly lower your hips towards the heels, dropping your chest and head downwards as the arms extend further. If you feel like the stretch is too painful, use a pillow under your stomach which will lower the stretch caused to the lower back muscles. Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds.

  1. Cow Or Cat Stretch

This is a dynamic movement which will move the muscles in your lower back in 2 directions, which builds onto the Child’s Pose to assist in lengthening the contracted muscles and to soothe soreness.

How To Do It

Begin on hand and your knees, with hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips. Make sure your spine is in a parallel position to the floor. Now round the back, stretching the mid-back between the shoulder blades, similar to how cats stretch when they round their backs. Hold this position for 5 seconds, followed by relaxing and allowing your belly to fall downwards into a position that arches the lower back gently and hold for another 5 seconds. Repeat the movement for at least 30 seconds.