Choosing Wisely

5 Ways to be Smart About Back Pain


Stay active and walk.


Use heat.


Sleep on your side or your back, with a pillow between or under your knees. 


Take non-prescription pain relievers.


Try hands-on care, like physical therapy, yoga or acupuncture.

Don’t rush to MRIs, CT scans or X-rays. 

They have risks, cost a lot, and usually won’t help you feel better faster. You’ll only need one of these tests if your pain lasts more than a few weeks or you have certain symptoms. Talk to your doctor to find out if you need one — or if you can just wait to see if you get better with time.


This information is to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use this information at your own risk. 

©2016 Consumer Reports