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What are treatments for acute back pain?

Based on the information gathered in your medical history and physical exam, your doctor may provide a range of treatments for acute back pain. The most common treatments include:

  • Education and activity recommendations. Your doctor will talk with you about avoiding bed rest, staying active and practicing good body mechanics.
  • Medications for pain relief. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription-strength anti-inflammatories (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) or acetaminophen. For more severe cases, your doctor may recommend a short course of muscle relaxers to help reduce muscle tension and increase the ability to move. Acute back pain rarely requires treatment with steroids or narcotics.
  • Referral to a physical therapist. A physical therapist can create and supervise an individual program of exercises to increase your flexibility and strength. So if your doctor refers you to physical therapy, don't delay your visit. Early treatment tends to produce better results than later treatment. (If your insurance doesn't cover physical therapy, ask your doctor for exercise recommendations.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.