If back pain is short-term, painkillers work best. If it is long-term back pain, a combination of painkillers, exercise and manual therapy is the most effective, according to NHS Choices.
Treatment of back pain depends on factors such as the duration of the pain, the severity, and the preferences and needs of the patient. Painkillers and home treatments work well for short-term back pain. Painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and codeine can be administered. Some painkillers can have side effects; prolonged use of NSAIDs can affect how the kidneys function. Signs of improvement should be seen within six weeks, states NHS Choices.
Contrary to previous thought on the subject, those who move around have a better chance of improving faster than those who stay in bed, explains NHS Choices. Light activities, such as walking in the house or to the shop, are recommended. A lifestyle involving exercise goes a long way when it comes to recovering from back pains.
For back pain that lasts more than six weeks (chronic), painkillers can be administered alongside other methods. Exercise classes with a qualified instructor help to strengthen the back muscles and improve posture. Exercises such as aerobics and stretches are also advisable. Manual therapy may be recommended and involves massage, mobilization and manipulation carried out by physiotherapists, osteopaths or chiropractors, explains NHS Choices.