Ways to Treat Chronic Lower Back Pain


By Dr. Jake Fisher

Up to 80% of individuals will experience low back pain in their lifetime. It is estimated up to 10% will end up developing chronic low back pain. This is considered any pain lasting greater than 12 weeks. Most cases of low back pain can resolve on average in about six weeks. However, flare ups are likely to occur if the person does not take the proper actions necessary to recover. The following are some action steps you can consider that have been shown to have positive outcomes with people suffering from chronic low back pain.

  1. Chiropractic Maintenance Care
    This is pre-planned manual therapy that is individualized tailored, clinician-controlled, preventive care treatment plan for patients with persistent and recurrent chronic low back pain. In a recently published randomized clinical trial, it was found that patients who utilized maintenance care once a month compared to symptom-guided treatment plans had up to 13 days less pain over a course of one year.
  2. Acupuncture
    Acupuncture originated in China 4000 years ago. This is based on traditional Chinese medicine that utilizes acupuncture needles placed in specific points along the bodies meridians to restore the proper flow of Qi. This form of treatment has been utilized in chronic low back pain patients for years. Key results in a published systematic reviewin 2020 concluded that acupuncture was better than no treatment for pain relief and functional improvements immediately after treatment in patients with chronic low back pain.
  3. Pilates
    Pilates is a system of exercises that incorporate whole body movements that focus on lumbopelvic control and trunk stability. It was created by Joseph Pilates in 1920 as a form of rehabilitation during World War I for bed ridden patients. Pilates continues to be applied in the rehabilitation setting today for chronic low back pain individuals. In 2016 there was a systematic review published that concluded that there are significant improvements in pain and function in patients who suffer from chronic low back pain who participated in Pilates for 6-12 weeks.
  4. Therapeutic Aquatic Exercise
    These are individualized pool-based exercise routines that that can help strengthen muscles with minimal risk of injury. Water’s buoyant properties help alleviate some of the load and pressure on your joints and spine. You will be able to perform a wider range of movements to end range more easily. Water also provides external resistance, so you don’t have to pick up heavy barbells. Water provides hydrostatic pressure that helps increase cardiac output, removal of metabolic waste, and reduces time it takes to get oxygen to fatiguing muscles. In a randomized clinical trial patients suffering from chronic low back pain who participated in pool-based training had less pain and improved function after 3 months.