Back Pain

Are antidepressants also pain relievers?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Antidepressant medications are frequently prescribed for chronic pain, particularly neck or low back pain and certain types of arthritis — though other treatments are usually tried first. An analysis of past research considered how effective antidepressants are for these types of pain, but the results are not encouraging.

Are early detection and treatment always best?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The culture of American medicine has long believed and supported the idea that more early detection and treatment is best. But some testing is costly, invasive and carries needless risks, and some conditions go away on their own. Early detection and treatment can be lifesaving — just not for every health issue.

The health effects of too much gaming

While playing video games can be a fun pastime, and there are some potential benefits, there are health risks associated with too much gaming. They include repetitive stress injuries, vision problems, sleep deprivation, depression, and possibly addiction to playing.

CBD for chronic pain: The science doesn’t match the marketing

CBD, a non-psychoactive component in cannabis, is emerging as a promising pharmaceutical agent to treat pain and other conditions. Unfortunately, few studies in humans have examined its effectiveness, and the cannabis industry’s profit motive is driving a wave of dubious claims about what CBD can do.

5 ways to ease pain using the mind-body connection

Mind-body therapies can help you reframe awareness of pain, whether recent or chronic, and rethink your response to it. There are several different techniques, some of which involve guidance or working with a therapist; others require nothing but focus and a small amount of time.

Pain and neuromodulation: What’s all the “buzz” about?

Neuromodulation therapies use a targeted stimulus to help people manage pain. This can be in the form of an electrical stimulation device or a pump containing medication, either of which can be implanted in the body.

Straight talk on planking

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Your core muscles are your body’s foundation, and the plank pose is a great exercise to do to help build core strength—it’s challenging but not complicated. Here’s everything you need to know to plank correctly.

I’m in pain, so why is my doctor suggesting a psychologist?

David Boyce, MD

Contributor

The negative emotions that come from coping with chronic pain can lead to depression, and that very depression can lead to worse pain. Understanding the connection between pain and emotional health with the help of a psychologist can address these issues, and there are evidence-based therapies that can help as well.

Should you see a chiropractor for low back pain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Nearly everyone has experienced some sort of back pain, but unfortunately there is no single best treatment for it. Researchers seeking to evaluate the worth of chiropractic care as an option for back pain treatment studied military personnel, but the study did have some limitations.

What to do with that foam roller at the gym?

Steve Calechman

Contributor

While there is limited research on foam rollers, small studies suggest they may help with muscle and tissue tightness, sore muscles, and range of motion.