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5 Ways to Relieve Back Pain

This information is provided by Choosing Wisely®, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation, and Consumer Reports®, with thanks to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Does your lower back hurt? Your first impulse might be to see a doctor for an imaging test such as an MRI, CT scan, or X-ray. But you probably don’t need any of those tests. Here’s why:

  • They won’t help you feel better any faster.
  • They have risks, including exposure to radiation.
  • They aren’t cheap.

Most people can get over lower back pain in a few weeks by trying these five steps:

5 Ways to Relieve Back Pain

  1. Stay active and walk.
  2. Use heat.
  3. Take non-prescription pain relievers like Tylenol®, Advil®, or Aleve® as appropriate.
  4. Sleep on your side or your back, with a pillow between or under your knees.
  5. Ask your doctor about acupuncture, massage, yoga, or physical therapy*.

There are still times when you might need an imaging test. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms to find out if you need one—or if you can wait to see if you just get better with time.

Interested in reading more articles like this? Visit the website that BCBSRI created in partnership with Consumer Reports and Choosing Wisely.

See the original report from Consumer Reports and the American Headache Society at ©2016 Consumer Reports.

*Some of these services may not be covered by your BCBSRI health plan. Please check with Customer Service for any questions.

Please note: Choosing Wisely, Consumer Reports, Advil, Tylenol, and Aleve are registered trademarks of their respective owners.