Which Conservative Treatments Can I Use to Help With Back Pain?

May 19, 2021

Americans experience back pain in many different forms that stem from a number of causes, such as straining of the muscles from exercise, poor posture and extended periods of standing or sitting.

There are three main forms of back pain that one can experience: 

  • Axial
  • Referred
  • Radicular

Most people experience axial back pain, also known as mechanical pain, at some point in their life. Axial pain is typically caused by muscle strain and is isolated in one area of the back.

Referred pain in the back is caused by an injury or condition in a different part of your body. The pain may move around the spinal area and vary in intensity. Effectively treating referred pain requires identifying the true source of the problem.

Radicular pain can be caused by serious injuries or conditions that cause the spinal nerve to get compressed. This type of pain can radiate from a patient’s back into their legs and spine and may causes inflammation to the spinal nerve root.

Conversative Back Pain Management Therapies

Back pain can be treated in many ways, often with a conservative treatment. Conservative treatments do not require surgery.

Conservative treatments for back pain may include medications, injections or physical therapy. Non- surgical treatments require less downtime from everyday life and are considered by many patients to be a more practical pain management technique.

There are three main ways that people can combat back pain with conservative treatments.

Medication and Topical Treatments

One of the first pain management tools most Americans turn to when they experience chronic or acute back pain are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), or over-the-counter medications.

NSAIDs like ibuprofen and Tylenol can be effective for temporary relief. Stronger medications can also be used. A medical professional may prescribe muscle relaxers, anticonvulsants or even antidepressants for back pain, depending on your symptoms.

Topical ointments and creams can also be obtained both over the counter and as a prescribed treatment.

Hot and cold pads may also be soothing for some people experiencing chronic or acute back pain. Ice is often recommended for people who have suffered injuries or acute pain and inflammation, while heat is preferred to reduce muscle stiffness or pain.

Pads, gels and creams may be applied to the skin and are meant for localized pain. Unfortunately, this method is not as effective for people that have more severe spinal nerve damage.

Before you attempt to manage your own pain with medication or topical treatments, it’s likely in your best interest to speak with a physician, especially if you suffer from any pre-existing conditions.

Physical Therapy

If you have ever been in a serious car accident or suffered debilitating injuries of any form, you most likely had to undergo some type of rehabilitation to regain your full strength and range of motion.

Physical therapy can work in the same way for back pain. While it can be tough and painful at first, physical therapy can be a highly effective solution for some patients in the early nerve and joint pain stages. The purpose of prescribed physical therapy exercises is to decrease pain, regain strength and increase stability and function.

A physical therapist may use a combination of passive and active treatments to manage back pain.

Passive treatments are actions that a physical therapist uses on a patient without requiring the patient to move. Examples of passive treatments include things like electrodes, heat and ice packs and ultrasounds.

Active treatment usually entails physical exercise involving stretching, muscle building and low impact movement for spine rehabilitation.

Physical therapy is a common conservative treatment for back pain and many injuries of the body. It is best to talk with a physical therapist about methods that would work for you based on how long you have been experiencing pain, if it comes and goes and how you sustained the injury.


Injections may be an effective non-invasive outpatient treatment for patients who need to target a specific area of back pain.

Injections have been used by pain management specialists for decades to combat back and leg pain due to their track record of success. Most injections administered for back pain contain a combination of medications and anesthetics that are administered as a shot to the spinal area. Injections can reduce inflammation, control pain and improve mobility and function.

Injections are useful for a temporary increase in movement and may be used to improve physical therapy sessions. They also reduce the need for oral medications.

These outpatient treatments, used in combination with other therapies, often enhance a patient’s progress. There are several types of injections that you can receive, including lumbar and cervical epidural steroid injectionsnerve root injectionstrigger point injections and even regenerative medicine injections.

Get a Customized Non-Invasive Back Pain Management Plan in Carrollton or Marietta

Non-Surgical Orthopaedics, P.C. offers many different back pain management therapies to ensure we can develop a non-surgical solution that works for patients with all types of back pain. We specialize in spine care and pain management that can target many forms of back pain with completely non-invasive options.

Our specialists develop customized treatments for every patient. To see the types of injections we provide, visit our website or contact us at 770-421-1420 with any questions.