Alternative Therapy for Back Pain
There are a wide variety of alternative treatments for back pain. Most of the studies of these therapies have proved inconclusive. Some people will claim certain treatments will cure anything, especially if they have a financial interest in it. However, many people have obtained benefits from the treatments described below.Traction involves using pulleys and weights to stretch the back. The rationale behind traction is to pull the vertebrae apart to allow a bulging disc to slip back into place. Some people experience pain relief while in traction, but that relief is usually temporary. Once traction is released back pain is likely to return. Corsets and braces limit the motion of the lumbar spine, provide abdominal support, and correct posture. They are of most use after certain surgeries.
Various injections can be used to relieve chronic back pain if medication and other non-surgical treatments fail. Some of the most commonly used injections include nerve root blocks, facet joint injections, and trigger point injections. Prolotherapy is a treatment in which a sugar solution or other irritating substance is injected into the periosteum, the fibrous tissue covering the bones, in order to strengthen the attachment of tendons and ligaments.Spinal manipulation is done by chiropractors and osteopathic doctors. With manipulation, a practitioner will use their hands to mobilize, adjust, massage, or stimulate the spine or surrounding tissues. The purpose of spinal manipulation is to restore joint mobility by applying a controlled force into joints that have become restricted in their movement. Spinal manipulation is not an appropriate treatment for osteoporosis, spinal cord compression, or arthritis.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) uses mild electric impulses to stimulate the nervous system in the pained area. It is thought that TENS may elevate the levels of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-numbing chemicals, in the spinal fluid.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that is based on the theory that a life force called Qi flows through the body. If the flow is impeded, the body can become ill. Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles at precise locations to unblock the flow of Qi, relieving pain and restoring health. Some studies have indicated that inserting and then stimulating needles (by twisting or passing a low-voltage electrical current through them) may foster the production of endorphins.
Acupressure is similar to acupuncture in that it seeks to unblock the flow of Qi.
The difference between acupuncture and acupressure is that no needles are used in acupressure.
Acupressure is more like massage therapy, where a therapist will use their hands, elbows, feet and knees to apply pressure to certain precise portions of the patient’s body.Another type of massage, Rolfing, uses strong pressure on deep tissues in the back to relieve tightness of the fascia, a sheath of tissue that covers the muscles. It seeks to improve posture and structure by manipulating the body’s myofascial system