Non-Surgical Treatments for Back Pain

Back pain can last for weeks or months. Chronic back pain can severely impact on the sufferer’s quality of life, and it may leave them unable to partake in even basic activities. If you have back pain you should speak to a medical professional to develop a treatment plan. Correct treatment can reduce pain and discomfort and can help to reduce the likelihood of reoccurrence. The most suitable treatment may depend on the type of back pain which is being suffered. The following treatments are non-surgical options to help treat forms of back pain.

Remaining Active

Those who are suffering from back pain should try to maintain a minimum level of activity. Although bed rest was previously advocated for people who were suffering from back pain, most doctors now believe due to research into back pain that this can do more harm than good for people who are not suffering from a set medical issue. Try to build up activity levels over time until you are able to return to a full range of motion. It is OK to keep pushing on through low levels of pain, but do not continue moving if the pain is too extreme.

Walking, swimming and yoga are great ways to keep active without putting too much strain on the body.

Exercises and Stretches

Special exercises and stretches can be used to reduce and relieve back pain. The stretches that you need to do may depend on the cause of the back pain. Exercises and stretches can help to free trapped nerves and relieve the symptoms that are associated with slipped discs. A GP will be able to give you basic advice on the types of exercises and stretches that might be right for your needs.

Some GPs run specialist exercise classes which are designed for people who are suffering from back pain. Alternatively, you may want to work with a physiotherapist to develop an exercise and stretch routine to help with your symptoms.


Try to stay as relaxed as possible if you are experiencing back pain. Keeping tension in your muscles can cause the pain to worsen. Feeling stressed out about pain is also likely to lead to delays in the healing process. Stress often manifests itself as physical symptoms. Individuals can engage in many different pastimes to help them to reduce their own stress levels and help themselves to relax.

People who are struggling with the psychological effects of their conditions can also seek support from their GP, who may be able to offer stress management advice. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can also be useful for those who are struggling to stay positive and relaxed about their ongoing back pain.

Heat or Cold Packs

Heat or coldness sometimes helps to relieve pain in an area. The pain may react differently to each, so you may need to experiment to see what effect they both have. If you do not have access to a medicinal ice pack, you may wish to use frozen peas. Place a tea towel or thin cloth between the ice and your skin to prevent cold damage. Microwaveable heat pillows and similar items are widely available.

Proper Medication

The most common type of medicine to be prescribed to back pain patients are Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen. The real benefit of NSAIDs is that they help to reduce inflammation as well as reducing pain. One of the benefits of using Ibuprofen is that it is available from sources like supermarket and pharmacies without the need for a prescription. However, NSAIDs are not suitable for some people, especially those who have sensitive stomachs. They should not be relied on for extended periods unless they have been recommended by a medical professional. Paracetamol (not a NSAID) is not usually useful for long term pain management.

Medical professionals may also choose to prescribe muscle relaxants. These relaxants aim to take most of the tension out of the muscles, which can help to reduce the pain which comes from prolonged muscle tension. Muscle relaxants must only be used in recommended doses, because they can have unintended consequences when used in larger doses.