Treating back pain without drugs
Sandra Hermiston and Ross McLaughlin, CTV Vancouver
Published Friday, June 2, 2017 6:00AM PDT
Back pain is one of the main reasons people visit their doctor. In fact, the Canadian Chiropractic Association says 85 per cent of working Canadians can expect to experience back pain at some point during their lifetime.
But before you ask your doctor to prescribe medication to ease the pain, you may want to try a more natural and hands-on approach to find relief.
There's growing research that suggests drugs and surgery may not be the best solution for your bad back. In a Consumer Reports survey of over 3,500 back pain sufferers, it found more than 80 per cent of those who had tried yoga or tai chi, or saw a massage therapist or chiropractor had pain relief.
“Traditionally, these non-drug therapies had been considered alternative or complementary to mainstream medicine. But the truth is we’re seeing from the evidence that they work just as well, if not better,” said Teresa Carr with Consumer Reports.
But many non-drug therapies like yoga and tai chi classes aren't cover by extended health benefits and MSP. So you may want to try some options that are often covered first, like acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic care.
For back pain lasting less than three months, many doctors recommend first trying non-drug measures including heat, acupuncture, massage, and spinal manipulation before resorting to medications.
And if you’re thinking about doing yoga or tai chi at home, you may want to wait. Both exercises are fine for shorter-term pain if you are familiar with the moves, but you shouldn't start a new program until the pain has receded enough for you to walk and move around reasonably comfortably.