Is Your RA Causing Back Pain? / Alternative Medicine for Back Pain

Alternative medicine for Back Pain

Alternative Medicine for Back Pain

Back pain affects 80% of the US population at sometime during their life. Back pain can be caused by RA. There is growing evidence that alternative medicine for back pain can help. Keep reading to learn more about back pain  and treatment options.

What are Causes and Risks For Back Pain ?


  • Injury causing muscle or ligament strain
  • Ruptured or bulging spinal disks
  • Skeletal anatomy irregularities
  • Osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis or other forms of arthritis

Risk Factors:

  • Over weight or obesity
  • Immobility
  • Poor body mechanics when lifting objects
  • Depression (people with depression seem to have more back pain)
  • Age-related spinal degeneration
  • Risk through activities that cause back stress
  • Arthritis

What are Traditional Treatments for back pain:

  • Acute Back Pain is defined as back pain of a short duration (less than 4 months). It is most often treated with home remedies like heat, over-the-counter pain medication or topical analgesics. Some people use homeopathic topical treatments. If the pain does not go away within 72 hours, you should seek physician care. Traditionally, physicians take  X-rays to confirm the cause of the pain. They then treat the acute back pain with pain medications and muscle relaxants.
  • Chronic Back Pain is defined as back pain that does not go away with simple treatments and has lasted more than 4 months. Traditionally, physicians have treated this pain with  prescribed exercises and medications like:
  1. Analgesics and NSAIDS
  2. Anticonvulsants for certain types of nerve pain
  3. Antidepressants that have a secondary pain treatment value ( independent of depression)
  4. Short-term narcotics

When appropriate, surgery is a last resort treatment. Surgery is recommended for patients who have tried other treatments with no success or for people who have nerve involvement causing severe pain or disability that cannot be treated without surgery.

Alternative Medicine for Back Pain

Many people with chronic back pain are faced with surgery or a lifetime of pain medications to solve their chronic pain. Traditional medicine in this country has been reluctant to embrace alternative medicine for back pain.  Today government organizations like National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine have begun to support research studies on alternative medicine for back pain. Most of these studies compare surgery or long term pain medications for back pain with alternative medicines treatments like:

  • physical therapy
  • chiropractic therapy ( not recommended for RA)
  • massage therapy and
  • acupuncture

Most of these studies have concluded that there is evidence that some moderate pain  improvement is experienced by

  • people who are treated with spinal manipulation from a trained professional
  • people who are treated with acupuncture
  • people who have massage therapy from a trained professional
  • and even by people who begin a carefully adopted set of yoga poses

Many traditional medical physicians are beginning to refer their patients to alternative medicine services because there is now a lot of evidence that alternative medicine for back pain:

  • is just as effective as drugs or surgery
  • is less costly than traditional treatments
  • is safer than drugs and surgery.

Have you tried alternative medicine for back pain? Did it work? Share your story in the comment section below.



Brunner & Suddarth, Textbook of Medical and Surgical Nursing (2008), p.2392-2397.



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