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Back pain is quite common in industrialized countries. It can affect you at any age and for a wide number of reasons. Severity ranges from mild to incapacitating and there are many treatment options.

There are numerous causes for back pain, which makes it necessary for a proper diagnosis before considering treatment options.

Your lower back pain could be originating from your bony lumbar spine. It could also be due to inflammation in the discs between your vertebrae, or it might have something to do with the ligaments around your spine and your discs, or your spinal cord and your nerves. Additionally, it might be linked to tissue injury in your lower back muscles or your abdominal muscles.

In short, there are so many causes that you might need to see one or more allopathic or alternative health care practitioners to get the help you need.

Where to Get Help  

Fortunately, there is much you can do about back pain. If your doctor is unable to help you with medication, he or she doctor might refer you to a surgeon for sciatica surgery. Other options are to visit a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, or a massage therapist.

A doctor might suggest the use of heat or cold packs, pain medications, and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). This is the first person you should see, as they will be able to provide a diagnosis based on x-rays or medical tests.

A surgeon will review your x-rays to see if a disc herniation is causing sciatica, which is a painful condition when the nerves from the lower back are radiating into the legs. Besides the pain from the irritated nerves, another symptom of sciatica are sensations of “pins and needles.” When it comes to surgery, you might have either a discectomy or microdiscectomy. In both types, a surgeon will remove the part of the herniated disc that has been pressing up against the sciatic nerve. The least invasive surgery is microdiscectomy.

A chiropractor will perform a spinal adjustment. This is spinal and manual manipulation to treat lower back pain. Often patients report that they experience great relief after their muscles, bones, and joints have been manipulated with a spinal adjustment.

An acupuncturist will insert needles into specific acupuncture points to reduce sciatica. These needles increase endorphin production and induce muscle relaxation. The pain of needle insertion is minimal because the needles are extremely thin. Regular acupuncture needles range from 0.22 to 0.33 mm. The thinnest needles are a Japanese version called “moshin-hair” needles, which are thinner than a single human hair. You also don’t need to be concerned about contamination. Needles are only used once since its illegal for an acupuncturist to reuse them.

A massage therapist will use hand pressure to release endorphins and relax tight lower back pain. Usually, when the back pain is severe, massage only provides temporary relief. A therapist may suggest more massage work or that you use a foam roller for self-massage if the pain returns.

Different Types of Back Pain

There are many causes of back pain. It could be a result of pregnancy or poor posture or sedentary behavior. It could also be due to sciatica, referred pain, osteoporosis, or arthritis. And it could be due to a slipped disc, when the soft disc between the vertebrae is pushing or extending over the edge, resulting in a pinched nerve.

Advances in the Field of Back Pain Therapy

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, advances in back pain treatment will arise from an improved diagnosis of lower-back pain issues and advances in surgical technology and techniques.  More broad-scale improvements may also arise from a collaboration between different parties. For instance, politicians and industrial leaders could improve working conditions while psychologists and physicians might contribute to treatments.

Steps to Take

The first thing you need to do is to see a physician to find out the cause of your back pain. Effective treatment may be as simple as taking muscle relaxants. If a doctor is not able to help, then try alternative treatments, like visiting an acupuncturist, chiropractor, or massage therapist. Surgery is only necessary if your back pain is due to a herniated disc, in which case the other methods of healing will either prove temporary or ineffective.