Recent Blog Articles

Back Pain Archive


Here’s something completely different for low back pain

Published July 6, 2017

With recently revised guidelines recommending that people with low back pain not take medication, it’s natural to wonder: what should I do, then? There are many options, among them heat, massage, yoga, and acupuncture.

Over-the-counter pain relievers and your heart

Published May 15, 2017

As the evidence mounts linking use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with increased risk of heart failure or cardiac arrest, consumers need to be aware of the risks involved in taking these medications.

If you have low back pain try these steps first

Published April 3, 2017

The American College of Physicians has released revised guidelines for the treatment of low back pain, and their recommendations for the most common types of pain do not include medications.These forms of low back pain usually get better over time and treatment should begin with therapies like heat and massage.

Some medications don’t help back pain as much as we thought

Published March 2, 2017

With back pain affecting so many of us, it’s eye-opening that a new review of dozens of studies is reporting that many people who took NSAID medications did not feel any better, or felt only slightly better, after treatment.

Opioid drugs may not help with long-term low back pain

Updated August 11, 2016

Opioid painkillers are commonly prescribed for chronic low back pain. However, a new study suggests that the drugs offer only modest, short-term relief, and should probably be used in conjunction with nondrug therapies or different drugs. 

Opiates no solution to back pain

Published June 20, 2016

As the treatment for chronic pain morphs into more opiate prescriptions, the rate of addiction and its consequences continues to climb. This doesn’t mean we should stop treating pain or that everyone prescribed opiates will become addicted. But it should give us pause and make us realize that just taking a pill doesn’t fix chronic pain – and doing so cause harm us in the long run.

Medication-free options to treat your low back pain

Updated June 1, 2016

News Briefs

Image: Moldboard/Thinkstock

A small study published in March 2016 in The Journal of the American Medical Association appears to support two nondrug options for treating chronic lower back pain. Researchers found that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), which includes yoga and mindfulness meditation (focusing on the moment), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which redirects pain-related thoughts and behaviors, were better at lowering back pain than usual care (other treatments received, if any).

Researchers randomly assigned more than 300 people (average age 49) to usual care or to eight weekly sessions of either MBSR or CBT. Six months later, researchers found that 45% of both the MBSR and CBT groups had less back pain, compared with 27% of the usual-care group, and about 60% of both MBSR and CBT participants had more back function, compared with 44% of those getting usual care.

Study shows mind-body approaches better than pain relievers for sore backs

Updated May 10, 2016

Research We’re Watching

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be effective in treating chronic back pain, but it requires regular visits with a psychotherapist and can be expensive. A team from the University of Washington designed a study to determine whether mindfulness stress reduction—a technique that can be learned and practiced on one's own—is as effective in relieving pain and restoring function as cognitive behavioral therapy or conventional treatment with drugs and physical therapy.

The researchers enrolled 342 people ages 50 to 70—two-thirds of whom were women—who'd had back pain for an average of more than seven years. They randomly assigned the participants to one of three equal groups: one group was taught to practice mindfulness stress reduction, the second received cognitive behavioral therapy, and the third received conventional treatment as needed.

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