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What to do about back pain?

There are so many different treatments for back pain that it becomes difficult for patients to know where to go. Healthcare interventions can be hard to understand, so let’s look at some of the best research available. The American College of Physicians published a research paper in 20171 outlining some of the best treatments for low back pain. Let’s unpack their recommendations:

For acute low back pain (less than 12 weeks), the best treatments are:

  • Heat

  • Massage

  • Acupuncture

  • Spinal manipulation

For chronic low back pain (over 12 weeks), the best treatments are:

  • Exercises

  • Spinal manipulation

  • Acupuncture

  • Yoga or tai chi

  • Stress-reduction, progressive relaxation

  • Low level laser therapy

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy

As you can see, there is no “one size fits all” treatment for low back pain. However, a team-based approach with different healthcare providers should be the first line of treatment. As a chiropractor, combining soft-tissue therapy, spinal manipulation, and corrective exercises often yields the best results for my patients. Of course, every patient is different, which is why a thorough case history, assessment, and diagnosis are important prior to treatment.

Yours in health,

Dr. Gaelan Connell, BHK, DC


  1. Chou, R., Qaseem, A., Snow, V., Casey, D., J. Thomas Cross, J., Shekelle, P., . . . American Pain Society Low Back Pain Guidelines Panel. (2007). Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: A joint clinical practice guideline from the american college of physicians and the american pain society. Annals of Internal Medicine, 147(7), 478-491.

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