You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

G Cover

Living with back pain

Treatments for a hurting back are often only moderately effective; research suggests new ways to manage the discomfort

A spinal injection to treat back pain that is linked to more than two dozen deaths in the recent meningitis outbreak — due to contamination of the drug with a fungus — has focused the spotlight on an oft-used steroid treatment that’s only modestly effective at reducing pain in most patients. This raises the question: Is there a better treatment for the 10 percent of Americans affected by low back pain?

No doubt, spinal injections that block inflammation, over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers, and physical therapy can bring considerable short-term relief, and often back pain heals on its own. But for those with lingering symptoms, back pain cures remain elusive.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week