Most who suffer from chronic or recurrent low back pain are very familiar with the treatments Conventional Medicine offers. Pharmaceuticals, or medications, are common. Since inflammation is the final common pathway for so much low back pain (see below), we often choose anti-inflammatory drugs, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (Advil, ibuprofen, aspirin) and occasionally steroids (especially in acute disk herniation). Medicines that block the pain signals at the brain, such as narcotics and tramadol, also are helpful. Muscle relaxants have long been controversial; they travel to the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) and produce a strong sedative effect. Likely, they help healing and recovery from an acute spasm by inducing rest.
Manipulations are also common in Western Medicine. Chiropractic care, gentle manipulation of the spine, can relieve chronic and acute low back pain by initiating spinal realignment. Proper alignment permits the back and spine to properly distribute weight. Physical therapy, especially for sprains, strains, herniated disks and some types of degeneration, also improves and maintains proper spinal alignment and back/core muscle strength. Massage, cranio-sacral, Reiki, Feldenchris and other hands on modalities also play a strong role in relaxing muscles, improving alignment and decreasing pain. More severe problems may require steroid injection around the nerve roots or spine or surgery.