Painful Back Treatment
The treatment for back pain depends on the underlying cause. For mild pain, such as an acute back strain or sprain, rest is important initially, but prolonged bedrest may delay recovery. Anti-inflammatory medications are very effective for relieving back pain. As the pain resolves, physical therapy should be started as soon as possible. Back stretching and strengthening exercises can reduce pain and speed recovery. Severe injuries may require surgery to repair damaged tissue. Most causes of mild back pain resolve within 1-2 weeks, while moderate to severe back pain may take months to resolve.
Treatment for musculoskeletal back pain includes:
- Rest the back:
- Avoid activities that cause back pain.
- Avoid bedrest.
- Return to walking as soon as possible.
- Apply cold compresses:
- Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours, for the first few days.
- Apply warm compresses:
- Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours, after 3 days
- After 2-3 days, start:
- Back stretching exercises
- Back range of motion exercises
- Acetaminophen for pain
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
Additional treatment for back pain may also include:
Painful Back Specialist
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat back pain:
Continue to Painful Back Home Care
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- Marriott A, Newman NM, et al: Improving the evaluation of benign low back pain. Spine 1999 May 15; 24(10): 952-60. 
- van Tulder MW, Koes BW, Bouter LM: Conservative treatment of acute and chronic nonspecific low back pain. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials of the most common interventions. Spine 1997 Sep 15; 22(18): 2128-56.