My Back is killing me! Acute and Chronic Back Pain: Treatments

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This is part five of a five part series on Back Pain. Click here to read part 1. Click here to read part 2. Click here to read part 3. Click here to read part 4.



The main goals of back pain treatment are pain relief and restored movement. The following may help in reducing/soothing the pain:

  • Ice pack
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Heat packs (after inflammation has gone down)
  • Physical therapy treatments include:
  1. Massage
  2. Ultrasound
  3. Whirlpool baths
  4. Individually tailored exercises


Some practitioners suggest using TENS units (Transcutaneous electrical nerve simulator) to help soothe back pains.  Spinal manipulations by Chiropractors and Osteopaths have proven effective for acute lower back pain. However the same cannot be said for treating chronic back pain. Research has shown that acupuncture also may bring relief for chronic back pain sufferers.


  • Physical Therapy: This helps to relieve pain, promote healing of injured area and restore normal function and movement. Physical therapy works by focusing on the prevention of injuries and disabilities.



  • TENS: This is a back pain treatment that uses low voltage electric current to relieve pain. It is typically performed with a small battery operated unit that is connected to electrodes. The electrodes carry an electric current to the skin.


TENS when properly used is a safe method for treating back pain. However it must be used only when suggested by your health care provider. TENS works differently for different people.


  • Acupuncture: This form of treatment involves inserting thin needles at certain points in the body. Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese medicine that offers pain relief by stimulating the nervous system to release chemicals into muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals either alter the experience of pain or produce bodily changes that promote a sense of well- being.


Acupuncture is generally safe when performed by an experienced trained acupuncturist. This treatment has been shown to have fewer side effects as compared to other standard treatments. Side effects like infections or punctured organs are rare.



This article is for information only.  Please seek medical advice if you notice any symptoms.


Next week: Winter Series- How to combat winter aches and pains.

Content sourced from WebMD and photo courtesy Flickr


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Comments 19

    1. Thank you Bernard! We appreciate the kind words!

      We are always posting on various topics, check back for more articles in the future.

      Meaghan- Pro Active Health Group

  1. I like the idea of using physical therapy to help manage chronic back pain because it works to prevent and rehabilitate. I’ve just been taking painkillers but that isn’t doing anything except give me the ability to go throughout my day. Is it realistic to hope that after working with a PT for a while that my chronic pain will be “cured”?

    1. Hi Tara!

      A combination of PT, chiropractics and massage should be able to help you manage your chronic back pain and get through your daily life pain free. Every body is different, however, at Pro Active Health Group we strive to tailor our treatment plans to suit each patients needs.

      It is realistic to assume that with the right combination of treatment, hands on care and self care that chronic pain can be eliminated.

      Thank you for reading!

      Meaghan- Pro Active Health Group

  2. I was doing some stuff for my mom and ended up hurting my back. I’ve never hurt my back before, so I’m not sure what I need to do to help it heal correctly. I guess I should try icing it and using heat pads first, and if it doesn’t get better from there, do physical therapy and see if that can help.

    1. Hi Jason!
      We’re sorry to heard you’ve injured your back, we have lots of experience treating back pain at our clinic and our therapists are trained to give you the most appropriate solutions tailored specifically to you and your needs.

      Please feel free to make an appointment by calling the clinic at 905-488-1223, we would be happy to book you in for an assessment.

      -Meaghan – Pro Active Health Group

  3. I’m sure that all of us have had back pain in some form or another. Now if it’s severe to where you can’t really move, then you probably should get professional medical help. Something like physical therapy would be a good idea to help get rid of this.

    1. Hi Trisha,

      we would not recommend using one after the other. Feel free to read our blog post on Ice vs Heat to learn more about when you should use different temperature sources! You can also book and appointment with one of our therapists who would be happy to help treat your injury!

      Thank you!
      Meaghan Pelley
      Pro Active Health Group

  4. Hi there! This post couldn’t be written much better!
    Going through this post reminds me of my previous
    roommate! He constantly kept talking about this.
    I’ll send this article to him. Fairly certain he’s going
    to have a very good read. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of back pain treatments available. I know that my back has been killing me lately too just like your article says and I’ve been looking for relief all over the place. I haven’t tried physical therapy yet, so that might be an option I explore. Thanks for the great advice and tips!

  6. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but
    after going through a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
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  7. You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found
    most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

  8. This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that acupuncture has fewer side effects than other back pain treatments. I’ve been having some problems with my back, and it’s making it difficult for me to sleep at night. I want to get that taken care of so I can feel well-rested again, so I’ll definitely look into trying acupuncture so there aren’t any negative side effects that I have to deal with. Thanks for the great post!

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