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Alternative Therapies


Lt Col Jerman
Along with traditional treatment for low back pain, providers may suggest some effective alternative therapies. Captain Laydon, what can you tell us about these therapies?

Capt Laydon
Well, Dr. Jerman, several alternative therapies, such as types of massage, acupuncture, and yoga, have been shown to benefit people experiencing chronic low back pain. Progressive relaxation, which involves the deliberate tensing and relaxation of muscles in order to release muscle tension, has also proven effective for some people.

Spinal manipulation, when performed by a qualified professional such as a chiropractor, physical therapist, or an osteopathic physician, can also offer relief in some cases. A healthcare provider’s staff can usually provide a list of qualified practitioners in your area.

Dry needling is another treatment that works well with chronic low back pain. Dry needling works through several different mechanisms to reduce pain and muscle spasm and restore normal muscle function. Many physical therapists, physicians, and chiropractors are trained in dry needling.

In a small number of chronic low back pain cases, surgery may be indicated. Your provider can discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of the surgical options available. Most spinal surgeons will want their patients to attempt several weeks or months of physical therapy prior to operating.