Sometimes, the debilitating back pain that you’re experiencing is so intense that you would do just about anything to make it go away for good. Unfortunately, identifying and addressing the underlying causes of back pain is not always a straightforward task, especially when you decide to take this matter into your own hands. You should always discuss your treatment options with your chiropractor.

Those who, for some reason or another, avoid doctor visits, often end up exploring a combination of less effective, and potentially dangerous, treatments for back pain, including medication and DIY cures. In reality, lack of information leading to misguided decisions can worsen the problem and affect your overall state of health, potentially triggering further complications. Here are a few things that you should know about four of the most common treatments for back pain:

1. Pain Meds. Many people complaining about frequent painful episodes make a habit of taking pain medications. Painkillers merely address the symptoms of a health concern, without actually tackling its cause. Moreover, these pills could lead to a serious addiction problem and affect several other systems or organs, including the stomach and the liver.

An article published by The New York Times reveals that opioid medication used to address the symptoms of chronic pain could be linked to a broad spectrum of side effects, including lethargy, hormone production depression, and sleep apnea. This type of painkiller may also cause a strong psychological dependency, without actually doing a good job at improving the condition they were taken for to begin with.

2. Surgery. Many patients are intimidated by the implications of back surgery, given the potential risks, pain and expenses that this type of procedure may involve. Even so, some consider giving it a try, tempted by the permanent positive changes that a surgical procedure may help them achieve. In fact, recent statistics indicate that out of the 56 million U.S.-based individuals complaining about back pain, only 5% of them actually need surgery. According to the same source, back surgeries can fail to achieve their goal for one simple reason: the surgeon may never actually manage to pinpoint the true source of pain. As a result, the patient may feel the same (or worse) after the surgery and lose his or her hopes for a full recovery. Given its side-effects, long recovery time, and permanent results, surgery should be seen as a last-resort option by patients struggling to overcome the impact of chronic back pain.

3. Braces. Many patients consider the idea of wearing back braces and just taking it easy. As it turns out, this is not the best approach to alleviating back pain. While staying in bed all day and wearing some sort of armor to protect your body may sound like a great plan to you, in reality, an effective pain relief plan is based on a number of factors, including limited bed rest (those who wear braces and stay in bed for hours in a row have a more difficult time with daily operations and experience more pain than the ones who stay active);  correct posture; spinal adjustments performed by a skilled chiropractor; and a moderate, personalized workout designed to strengthen your core. While braces can and should be worn while conducting strenuous activities, they should only be used for less than 15 minutes at a time. By wearing back braces all day, you may actually end up weakening your muscles and reducing your core strength.

4. MRI. Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans (MRIs) enable doctors to identify abnormal spinal structures and pinpoint the main causes of back pain. These imaging tests enable specialists to investigate and address anatomical causes of discomfort. A physician can correlate the patient’s symptoms with the results of the MRI to come up with a proper clinical diagnosis. While MRI scans are an effective tool used by healthcare providers to diagnose a wide range of health concerns, they are usually required only when conservative treatment fails to deliver the expected results, and the doctor is contemplating a more aggressive and radical back pain treatment, such as surgery or steroid injections.

Instead of opting for back pain treatments involving potentially dangerous medication or contemplating the idea of going under the knife, you may want to follow a different path to a smoother, risk-free recovery and start exploring the benefits of chiropractic care aiming towards a perfectly aligned mind, body and spirit. Chiropractic sessions target the body as a whole, and can improve your general state of health and wellbeing by boosting your pain-coping capabilities, straightening your spine, and allowing you to battle daily stressors in a more effective manner.