Lower Back Pain


Medically reviewed by Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Lower Back Pain Treatment

There are many options for treating13 lower back pain. Treatment may be aimed at alleviating discomfort, remedying the underlying cause of your pain, or both.

Some common treatments for the signs, symptoms, and underlying causes of lower back pain include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These over-the-counter pain medications help reduce inflammation around painful areas, allowing them to heal. They can also be used to provide temporary relief of mild-to-moderate discomfort associated with lower back pain.
  • Muscle relaxants: If spasmed muscles are contributing to your lower back pain, these medications can help you relax and can lower pain levels significantly. However, because these medications can cause dizziness and drowsiness, they are not usually recommended for long-term use.
  • Narcotic painkillers: These may be necessary for a short time (usually less than a week) to help you handle acute pain. Narcotics must be used under a medical professional’s supervision.

Lower back pain medication

Your provider may prescribe the following medications for lower back pain:

May be prescribed

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Aside from medication, physical treatments and therapies are often helpful in reducing or eliminating lower back pain. These may include:

  • Physical therapy: Physical therapists can help reduce your pain and teach you techniques to manage (or prevent) pain on a daily basis. Once your pain levels have decreased, a physical therapist can give you a series of exercises and stretches that will help loosen and strengthen your lower back. These can help eliminate pain and keep it away long-term.
  • Physical activity: Low-impact physical activity can help your back heal. It’s important for patients with lower back pain (especially those with injuries) to continue to move in ways that are comfortable until the pain has decreased or resolved. After this, they can then begin exercises that will help regain strength in the back.
  • Surgery: Some lower back pain can only be alleviated by surgery. Your healthcare provider and specialists will help you decide whether surgery is the best option for you, as well as which surgeries would be the most helpful. It’s important to remember that you will still need to rehabilitate your back after a surgical procedure.

Stretches and exercises for lower back pain

There are many exercises and stretches that can be used to reduce lower back pain. These may also help keep your back limber and strong, decreasing the likelihood of new or further injury.

It’s important, however, that you speak with your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise program. Depending on the cause of your lower back pain, you may need to avoid all forms of stretching and exercising for a period of time.

Some exercises and stretches14 that may help alleviate lower back pain include:

  • Knee to chest: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Pull one knee gently into your chest and hold it there for roughly 30 seconds.

    Lower that foot and pull the other knee to your chest, repeating the stretch. Lower that foot, then pull both knees into your chest. Hold again, and release. Repeat as needed.

  • Bridge: Like on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your gluteal muscles and your abdominal muscles to raise your hips off the floor. Try to maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.

Hold for 5–10 seconds, or as long as is comfortable (depending on your ability and strength levels). Practice this until you can comfortably perform 50 repetitions a day.

  • Chair rotations: This can be done on any chair—whether at your desk or at work.

Cross your right leg over your left one. Using your left elbow, push against the outside of your right knee, twisting as you do so (don’t twist past your comfort level!).

Hold for at least 10 seconds, then do the same on the opposite side. Repeat as needed—usually at least 3–5 times on each side, once or twice each day.

If any exercise worsens your pain during or after performing it, stop right away. Don’t push yourself past what is comfortable.

Contact your physical therapist or healthcare provider before performing any new stretches or activities to ensure that you are doing them right and not going to cause further harm. A professional will also be able to inform you of any alternatives that you can substitute these exercises with, instead. Trust your judgment and stop if you think that is the best choice for your body.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.