A 2012 combined analysis of data from several studies concludes that acupuncture is a reasonable option to consider for chronic low-back pain.
How acupuncture works to relieve pain is unclear.
Current evidence suggests other factors—like expectation and belief—that are unrelated to acupuncture needling may play important roles in the beneficial effects of acupuncture on pain.
A 2016 review of studies conducted in the United States found evidence that acupuncture can help some patients manage low-back pain.
Massage might provide short-term relief from low-back pain, but the evidence is not of high quality. Massage has not been shown to have long-term benefits on low-back pain.
There is some evidence that progressive relaxation may help relieve low-back pain, but studies on this topic have not been of the highest quality.
Spinal manipulation appears to be as effective as other therapies commonly used for chronic low-back pain, such as physical therapy, exercise, and standard medical care.
Studies have shown that yoga can be helpful for low-back pain in the short term and may also be helpful over longer periods of time.
A 2014 evaluation of research on herbal products for low-back pain found preliminary evidence that devil’s claw and white willow bark, taken orally (by mouth), may be helpful for back pain.
Cayenne, comfrey, Brazilian arnica, and lavender essential oil may be helpful when used topically (applied to the skin).
Studies of prolotherapy (a treatment involving repeated injections of irritant solutions) for low-back pain have had inconsistent results.