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Back Pain Relief: Best Ways to Treat Chronic Back Pain

A man holding his lower back using both hands due to pain

Chronic pain in the back can be a challenging condition to manage. Fortunately, there are several effective treatments to provide back pain relief. One is the Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy. It uses a battery-operated device to deliver electrical impulses to the nerves in the body. Accordingly, people can also take over-the-counter pain medications. Also, physical activity and exercise sessions play a crucial role in the treatment of severe pain in the back.

Back pain is a common condition that affects people of all ages. This can occur due to a variety of factors, such as injuries, poor posture, or underlying medical conditions. The constant pain can significantly impact daily activities, work productivity, and overall quality of life. Hence, finding the proper pain treatment is crucial for long-term pain management and improving well-being. This article will present TENS, medications, and physical therapy as the best ways to treat the back ailment.

TENS for Back Pain Relief

One medical treatment for back pain relief is TENS therapy. It utilises a portable device to send low-level electric pulses to the body via electrode pads. Accordingly, this electrical stimulation works through several mechanisms to provide relief. Firstly, it triggers the release of endorphins. These are the natural chemicals of the body that act as natural painkillers.

The Pain Gate Theory is another principle through which TENS operates. According to this theory, electrical stimulation ultimately blocks the transmission of pain signals to the brain, reducing the perception of intense pain. Furthermore, TENS therapy can enhance blood flow in the treatment area. This can aid in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, contributing to the healing process.

Moreover, the electrical stimulation can stream in low and high frequencies. High-frequency TENS usually utilises above 50 Hz. This is beneficial for treating acute pain. On the other hand, low-frequency TENS uses below 10 Hz. This is particularly beneficial as a chronic pain management tool. Nevertheless, it is crucial to consult health experts before undergoing TENS therapy.

Advantages of TENS Over Other Methods

  • Non-invasive: it does not require invasive procedures like surgery or needles.
  • Drug-free alternative treatment: TENS eliminates the need for over-the-counter medications. Thus, it mitigates the risk of the potential side effects and dependency.
  • Customisable: it allows people to control the treatment. The users can adjust the frequency, intensity, and duration of the electrical stimulation based on personal needs.
  • Portable: TENS are usually lightweight and compact. Hence, it enables people to incorporate the therapy whenever and wherever needed.
  • Cost-effective: it eliminates the need for frequent visits to health professionals or healthcare providers. Also, it saves time and effort.

A man experiencing back pain while working

Medications for Back Pain Relief

When it comes to back pain relief, pain medications can play a crucial role. One category of pain relief medication is the Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). These medications work by reducing inflammation, which is often associated with back ailment caused by muscle tension, spinal stenosis, or arthritis.

Another class of medication is muscle relaxants. This can help alleviate muscle spasms and address the associated ailment. In cases where pain symptoms like shooting or burning accompany the discomfort, certain medications targeting nerve pain may be prescribed. This may include anticonvulsants and antidepressants, which can modify the processing of pain signals in the nervous system.

For individuals experiencing persistent pain, opioid medications may be considered as a short-term relief option. Opioids work by binding to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord. However, due to the potential tolerance, dependence, and addiction, the use of opioids is carefully monitored. Nevertheless, before starting any medication regimen, it is vital to consult a healthcare professional.

Risks and Side Effects of Medication

While medications can provide relief, they also carry specific considerations and potential adverse effects. NSAIDs can pose risks such as stomach irritation, ulcers, and an increased risk of bleeding. Additionally, these medications may affect kidney function, particularly in individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions. Also, muscle relaxants may cause dizziness and impair cognitive function.

Moreover, nerve pain medications may have side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, and weight gain. Some of these medications may pose a risk of mood changes. Accordingly, opioid medications carry significant risks. This includes the potential for tolerance, dependence, addiction, and respiratory depression.

A woman doing a stretch to ease back pain

Physical Therapy for Back Pain Relief

Physical therapy is a highly effective back pain relief approach. Professional physical therapists employ a variety of techniques to alleviate discomfort, improve mobility, and enhance overall function. Through tailoring of exercises, manual therapy, and education, physical therapy aims to address the root causes of back ailment and prevent its recurrence.

Physical therapists often use targeted exercises to strengthen the muscles supporting the spine, including the core muscles. These exercise programs are meticulously designed to meet the specific needs and goals of an individual. Also, manual therapy techniques such as mobilisation can address joint and soft tissue restrictions. These treatments help restore mobility and alleviate muscle tension.

Accordingly, education forms a crucial component of physical therapy. Therapists can equip a person with knowledge about proper body mechanics, ergonomics, and posture. Another vital aspect of physical therapy is the incorporation of modalities. This may include ice packs or cold packs, heat packs, or electrical stimulation. Hence, these modalities can help alleviate back discomfort.

Best Stretches and Exercises

One effective stretch is the knee-to-chest. This involves lying on the back and bringing one knee toward the chest, holding the position to feel a gentle stretch in the lower back and hips. Another beneficial stretch is the hamstring stretch. It involves extending one leg while keeping the other bent and then gently leaning forward to feel a stretch in the back of the thigh.

Core-strengthening exercises, such as plank and bridge, help improve the endurance and strength of the abdominal and back muscles. Also, incorporating flexibility exercises such as yoga can be beneficial. This can increase blood circulation and reduce muscle tension.


In conclusion, finding back pain relief is crucial for improving overall quality of life. Fortunately, there are various ways to treat back discomfort. This may include TENS therapy, medications, and physical therapy. TENS is a popular treatment approach that involves the use of a small device to stream electrical impulses to the body. This works based on Pain Gate Theory, the release of endorphins, or improving blood flow. Also, the electrical currents can stream in low and high frequencies.

Medications are also common for providing relief. This may include NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, nerve pain medications, and opioids. Furthermore, physical therapy is another relief approach. This may involve exercises, manual therapies, or education. People may try exercises and stretches like knee-to-chest stretches and flexibility exercises. Nevertheless, TENS offers advantages over other treatment methods due to its non-invasiveness, drug-free, portability, and cost-effectiveness. People who opt to purchase TENS may look for the online retailer iTENS Australia.

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