Many treatments have been suggested to relieve back and back-related leg pain and new ones emerge all the time. Because people with back pain are often desperate for relief, they’re willing to try just about anything.
While some treatments have been scientifically evaluated and are known to work, many more are widely used without any good evidence that they make you better. This doesn’t mean they won’t work for you —it just means that there isn’t enough evidence to predict the effect every time. There are many reasons why it’s hard to know what does and doesn’t work:
- Back pain is very different from person to person and it usually can’t be traced to a particular cause.
- Because most back and back-related leg pain gets better over time, it’s hard to know whether a certain drug, exercise or other treatment made the difference or whether recovery was natural and would have happened anyway.
With this in mind, you may decide to try one or more of the therapies listed here. If a method works for you—for whatever reason—that’s a good thing. Here are a couple of points to keep in mind:
- Always ask your health care provider to explain why a particular treatment is being recommended, what the benefits are, what the risks are, and when they think you should start to feel some improvement. Make sure you are aware of the full cost of the treatment.
- If a treatment isn’t making a difference within a reasonable amount of time, based on what you’ve been told, discuss this with your care provider. Consider whether or not this is the right treatment for you, or whether you want to try something else.
- Although there is a wide range of responses, something that hasn’t reduced your symptoms significantly within six weeks or after a dozen treatments is very unlikely to help.
IMPORTANT Back pain treatments do NOT cure back and leg symptoms. But they can reduce your symptoms, improve your quality of life and speed your recovery.