Natural Therapies for Back Pain

Many of us suffer from occasional or chronic lower back pain -- and many want to grab a pill and alleviate the pain as quickly as possible.  New guidance released from the American College of Physicians suggests trying to avoid the drugs -- both OTC and prescription -- and use alternative methods instead.

Sumathi Reddy writes in the Wall Street Journal, "Skip the meds. Lower back pain—one of the most common reasons for a doctor’s visit—is best treated with alternative, natural and psychological therapies..."

"Low back pain is one of the top reasons people go to see their doctors in the US, and the leading reason for missing work anywhere in the world," as Vox author Julia Belluz explains.

Because of all the attention given to opioids and the potential for addiction, doctors are hesitant to prescribe pills unless absolutely necessary.  The current guidelines suggest they should only be "...considered an option if the doctor and patient have a discussion about the known risks of the drugs and if used at the lowest possible dose for the shortest period."

The American College of Physicians new recommendations include massage, yoga, heat therapy, stretching, tai chi, and acupuncture.

Reddy includes a reassuring statistic in her WSJ article that "...most back pain will resolve on its own in a few days or weeks without any treatment."

Alternative medical therapies (such as chiropractic and acupuncture) are sometimes covered on certain health insurance policies, but usually as an added benefit for an additional premium.  You can talk to your agent or carrier to find out more.