- Ricka Robb Kohnstamm
Which are the most effective approaches for chronic back pain?
Not so long ago, people suffering from chronic back pain were counseled to lie still in bed and wait for the pain to “subside”… often, it didn’t. Typical treatment now may include surgery and opioids, but those treatments are not always effective and are expensive. And, as we all know, extended opioid use can have devastating side effects.
So, what are the options?
Studies demonstrate that active approaches like yoga and psychotherapy can positively impact chronic lower back pain and are worth trying before moving to the more aggressive options. Passive approaches like acupuncture and massage can also help.
Image: Courtesy of Jill Paschal Yoga
“Our best understanding of low back pain is that it is a complex, biopsychosocial condition — meaning that biological aspects like structural or anatomical causes play some role but psychological and social factors also play a big role," Roger Chou, a back pain expert and professor at Oregon Health and Science University, summarized.
Allina Hospital’s recent study of the use of acupuncture in the ER demonstrates that acupuncture is effective in acceptable and effective for pain and anxiety reduction in conjunction with standard medical care.