What is the best way any of you have come up with to deal with lower back pain?
A lot of options here, but should be based a good medical evaluation first. In younger patients, for example, I tend to ask and probe about possible ankylosing spondylitis which is rare but carries significant long-term risks that it's good to identify it early. Unfortunately, at least in the NYC area, it's difficult to find a good primary care physician. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in some well-done studies -- as has sham acupuncture, actually -- but hey, if it works, it works.
My own bias is that we lump a lot of things into "back pain", which sort of obscures what the cause is -- and the treatment should fit the cause. What I tend to suspect is that a lot of back pain are actually sprains, or the late complications of sprains. Sprains tend to heal in weird ways, leading to effectively scar tissue / abnormal ligaments with in appropriate levels of either tightness or else "give" in the affected joint. Physical therapy can often help sort through the specific problems and line up specific stretches and exercises to restore the appropriate amount of flexibility and support in the affected part of the spine.
I would suggest acupuncture to deal with chronic back problems. I've heard of people having incredible results after seeing chiropracters for years and then switch to acupuncture and found relief. If you live in the NYC or Long Island area, I can recommend some people
This might be a dumb question, but do you actively work your lower back muscles? And even more importantly, do you do a lot of core work? I know this isn't really answering your question about how to "deal" with it, but if you have a strong core to begin with, it will greatly reduce lower back pain.
I think the first and most important step is to map out the cause of your back pain. Then you can first think about dealing with it properly. The causes can be quite complex and far from obvious.
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