Do Conventional Back Pain Treatments Even Work?


Back pain is one of the most common reasons for doctors visits in the US. It’s also one of the most unpleasant, painful conditions you can deal with in your life. But how do you know what to do about it? Most conventional treatments for back pain don’t work very well, if at all. Surgery doesn’t help much and can be dangerous; steroid injections are only helpful in short-term situations; physical therapy works but only temporarily; and taking opiods (painkillers) comes with serious side effects like addiction or overdose potential. If you’ve tried all these treatments but still have ongoing chronic back pain, there’s another option: a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications include ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen sodium (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac sodium topical gel 1%/2% solution (Voltaren Gel), etodolac ointment 0%/5% solution (Lodine Ointment), ketoprofen cream 0% solution/0.5% solution/1% solution/2%; mometasone cream 0.1%; piroxicam cream 1%; sulindac cream 3%; naproxen sodium suppository 50 mg; and rofecoxib tablets 25 mg./50 mg./100 mg./150 mg.

Surgery doesn’t work.

Despite the popularity of back surgery, there is no evidence that it helps. A 2006 study found that patients who had surgery were actually more likely to have chronic pain than those who didn’t.

In fact, many people who have a disc herniation in their lower back will experience only minor pain and discomfort for a few weeks or months before it goes away on its own—and they may never need any treatment at all! In addition to being ineffective, back surgeries can cause serious complications such as nerve damage (which can result in lifelong numbness), blood clots (which can be fatal), infections and other complications like internal bleeding. The risks are often not communicated clearly enough when patients decide whether or not to undergo surgery for this common condition; instead, optimistic estimates about recovery times tend to be given without mention of potential problems or unsuccessful outcomes resulting from the procedure itself.”

Opiods are addictive, and they’re not that helpful.

Opioids are the most common treatment for back pain. They can be effective at reducing the intensity of your symptoms, but they’re not very good at helping you function better. The problem is that opioids are addictive—your body can develop a tolerance to them after a while and you’ll need more and more of the drug to get the same effect over time, which is why doctors will often prescribe them in combination with other medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). Even though your pain may feel better when taking an opioid, using these drugs can cause all kinds of side effects: constipation, nausea, drowsiness and confusion are just some examples.

Steroid injections also don’t help much.

It’s also worth noting that steroid injections don’t work well for back pain. In fact, they may even be dangerous. There are some studies that show patients receiving steroid injections experience more pain than those who do not receive the treatment. This doesn’t make sense considering their purpose is to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

The reason these treatments don’t work very well is because there is no single cause of back pain; it can come from a variety of sources including poor posture, arthritis or muscle strain—all of which require different types of treatment methods (physical therapy, medication, etc.). The bottom line: your best bet is to see a physical therapist who specializes in treating your type of injury

Physical therapy is more effective than these other treatments, but only in the short term.

The good news is that physical therapy can help people with lower back pain. It can also be more effective than surgery and other treatments, including opioid drugs. According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, “a comprehensive approach that includes exercise therapy” is the best option for treating chronic back pain.

Physical therapy is most effective when used to treat acute or chronic low back pain caused by musculoskeletal injury or degenerative disc disease (the most common cause). Other forms of treatment such as acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic care are sometimes recommended for acute low back pain but have not been proven to be effective for long term relief from this condition.

Better to try physical therapy first!

Physical therapy is a good first step to take when dealing with back pain. It can help you learn how to better manage your pain and strengthen your back, as well as improve your overall health.

If you’re comfortable with the idea of physical therapy, then it’s probably worth trying before turning to surgery or other invasive treatments.


You may have to try a few different treatments before you find something that works for you, but the important thing is to keep trying. You don’t want to get stuck with chronic back pain just because your doctor doesn’t know what else to do!

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