The first thing to do when you have severe or chronic back pain? Rule out serious spinal or nerve injury. Once you’ve gotten a clean bill of health, conventional treatments like muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory pain relievers can help, but they have side effects. “Try nondrug remedies, including core strengthening exercises and movement therapies such as the Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais Method,” says David Leopold, M.D., of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, Calif. These movement therapies improve posture and teach you how to be more aware of how you move. “It’s important to learn to use your whole body, since back pain can be affected by how you use your shoulders or how you get out of a chair,” Dr. Leopold explains. Find a certified instructor at the American Society for the Alexander Technique or the Feldenkrais Method.