ZocdocAnswersWhat alternative healing practices can reduce my back pain?

Question

What alternative healing practices can reduce my back pain?

Will acupuncture work? I'm a 33 year old construction worker. Back always hurts.

Answer

I am sorry to hear that your back is so painful. Have you seen your doctor about this? It is likely that you should be evaluated by your primary care doctor, if you have not yet, to rule out any serious problem with your back, such as a badly pinched nerve or bulging disc. You should especially mention any concerning symptoms like numbness or tingling or weakness running down the legs. If your doctor determines that there is no serious problem with your back requiring medical workup, then you may benefit from some gradual back strengthening exercises. This is probably the form of "alternative therapy" that has the most evidence behind it that it works. Back exercises work by stretching spasmed muscles and strengthening overall tone and balance to relieve pain and prevent future injuries. Physical therapy or massage therapy may also add some additional benefit to back exercises, by promoting relaxation and by helping to release muscle spasms. Paying attention to your posture while working, and getting some coaching from physical therapy on how to safely lift heavy objects will be important. If you have done all of these first steps and still are looking for other alternatives then acupuncture may be an option, but I would not start there.

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