Modern Treatments For Back Problems

There has always been back pain, even before modern medicine could pinpoint causes and professional treatments for it. Many of the causes of back pain—poor posture and heavy lifting—have effected humans since our caveman days. Since those days we have come up with a variety of treatments to reduce back pain. Most of the amateur efforts to treat back pain have targeted the symptoms of back pain, which is effective but not permanent.

Symptom focused back pain treatment is traditionally divided into two purposes: reducing pain and swelling and strengthening back muscles. Today we still treat these symptoms but the methods have become more modernized and tailored to fit the different causes of back pain. Not all treatments work for all patients, which is why back rehabilitation has evolved to improve medical outcomes. 

Back pain affects millions of people every single year with the pain ranging from mild to agonizing chronic back pain. Very severe back pain can often leave the sufferer with limited or no mobility, which is why there are so many back pain treatments. Even patients with the same underlying problem causing back pain, may require different treatment plans.


Modern back pain is now being treated with a combination of Eastern and Western medicine, with both agreeing that rest is an essential part of the healing process. Rest allows the sprained or strained muscles to relax and reduce the pressure, but it also allows the muscles surrounding the back to rest as well. Over time the tension of injured back muscles can cause secondary tension in surrounding areas, which can exacerbate the back pain.

Two to three days of rest is recommended before beginning any vigorous treatment options. While rest is important, too much rest can have a devastating effect on back muscles as they will weaken further and inhibit mobility.

Quick-Fix Treatments

During the rest period of back pain treatments many patients require something more than rest and relaxation. For those patients, modern back pain treatments often include pain medicine and anti-inflammatory medication. Specifically, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication is often advised or prescribed because it reduces pain and swelling to allow the recover process to begin.

These medicines are available over the counter for mild back pain, but may require a prescription for those with debilitating back pain. Be sure to follow the instructions for taking these medications and ensure there are no counter-indicators with other medicines if you take aspirin for pain relief.


Physical therapy, sometimes referred to as ‘PT’ is one of the most effective modern treatments for back problems. While physical therapy is not new, per se, it has evolved to produce specific stretches and exercises to relax and strengthen the muscles in the back. Between technological advances and greater anatomical knowledge, physical therapists can create full workout schedules to target your specific back pain.

Physical therapists may advise use of equipment such as resistance bands or back pillows to strengthen the muscles and alleviate pressure.

Massage Therapy

Although massage has been used for years for relaxation, it has now become a modern method for treating back pain. Massage therapy has proven effective to reduce the tension in muscles, thereby reducing the pressure that causes back and nerve pain.

There are a variety of massages including Swedish, deep tissue and Thai that can prove effective depending on the type of pain you experience.

Eastern Medicine

While both Eastern and Western medical experts agree that rest is essential to a swift recovery, Eastern medicine offers many treatment plans that have gained widespread popularity among back pain sufferers.

Acupuncture and acupressure are two of the most commonly used back pain treatments as they both focus on returning the flow of energy back to normal. Balancing positive energy has been shown to improve muscle balance that often leads to back problems.

Some Eastern medicine professionals recommend Tai Chi has a form of physical therapy. This ancient Chinese martial art is not only improves the flow and balance of energy, but it provides plenty of strengthening movements for the back.

In the modern age of back treatments there is always one of the most advanced forms of treatment: surgery. For most back pain sufferers this is a last resort when other types of treatment have failed due to the complications and side effects associated with therapy. In many instances back surgery is not a cure and requires multiple surgeries to correct the problem. 

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Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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