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If you suffer from back pain, you are not alone. Nearly 70% of all people in the United States say that back pain interferes with their lives on a daily basis. About 40% of those who experience back pain say that they use exercise to try to deal with it. The same number of people who use exercise as a way to manage their low back pain never seek out the help of the best doctors or physical therapists.

Now National Public Radioandnbsp;is reporting on the ways in which using yoga and massage can be more helpful for dealing with back pain than taking medication. They report that back pain is one of the biggest reasons people go to local doctors or to health clinics around the country. Many people who suffer from this look to drugs to help alleviate the pain. This makes a lot of sense because that is what some medications were created for, to help with pain.

Recently, however, the American College of Physicians (ACP) changed its recommendations for dealing with back pain. They issued a new set of guidelines for patient treatment that says people should seek help from yoga, massage or exercise before they look to medication to help with the pain. Even the best doctors say this is a major shift in how pain is being handled. Most say they see this as a positive step for them and their patients.

Researchers looked at at least 150 different studies on the different modalities that are used for treating back pain to see what works and what does not. Dr. Nitin Damle, president of the ACP, said that the pain they were looking at was more of the “Garden variety back pain you might get after shoveling a little too much or over-exercising.” He says that most people get their backs back to normal after just a few days. He also says that most back pain has a way of working itself out on its own. He said, “he body will adjust, the inflammation will go down.”

It is important to note that this remedy may not be appropriate for someone who has been in a big accident or who suffers from pain or numbness that goes down one or both legs. That should be looked at right away.

One of the reasons the best doctors were interested in offering relief without using drugs is all of the problems that come along with narcotic and other pain medication. Some medication can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure, while anti-inflammatories are well known for causing stomach problems that include stomach bleeding or gastritis. While some drugs cause the blood pressure to drop, other medications can cause it to go up, which can also be dangerous.

The new methods, that are being pushed by the ACP, focus more on helping the healing process. They include heat wraps, acupuncture, chiropractic care and spinal manipulation and massage. These are all great ways to help the muscles that are causing the pain relax. It also works on the tendons and joints to get people faster relief from back pain and discomfort. Some people find a lot of relief when they do yoga or tai chi. Some mindfulness meditation and other techniques aimed at reducing stress and fostering relaxation can help with back pain.

When people do not get relief from the therapies that are not medication based, the ACP recommends they try over the counter drugs such as naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil). The best doctors no longer recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol) for back pain because it does not help with the inflammation, which can contribute to the back pain that many people experience. The Annals of Internal Medicine recently published research showing the efficacy of muscle relaxants for back pain.

Damle said, “Only in rare circumstances should opioids be given and then only at the lowest dose possible and for the shortest period of time. We are moving away from simple fixes like a pill to a more complex view that involves a lot of lifestyle changes.”

As bad as back pain can be, it is good to know simple lifestyle changes can make it better.