It's one of the main reasons people see a doctor-- back-pain, and in the U.S. it accounts for more than 24 million visits a year. But before you ask your physician for a prescription drug to ease the pain, Consumer Reports says a more "hands-on" approach could help you find some relief.
In a Consumer Reports survey of over thirty-five hundred back-pain sufferers nationwide, it found more than 80-percent of those who had tried yoga or tai chi, or saw a massage therapist or chiropractor said it helped them. Traditionally, these non-drug therapies had been considered alternative or complementary to mainstream medicine. But Consumer Reports is seeing from the evidence that they work just as well, if not better.
But, Consumer Reports' survey found that insurers are far more likely to cover prescription drugs and doctor visits than non-drug treatments like yoga. CR advises that your insurer will be more likely to cover some of these non-drug pain treatments if you first get a referral from your doctor.
And for back pain lasting less than three months, the American College of Physicians recommends first trying non-drug measures including heat, acupuncture, massage, and spinal manipulation before resorting to medications.
Consumer Reports says that yoga and tai chi are fine for shorter-term pain if you are familiar with the moves, but you shouldn't start a new program until the pain has receded enough for you to walk and move around reasonably comfortably.