A depiction of lower back pain relief from diclofenac and a Voltaren logo

Back Pain Treatment & Management Methods for You

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Needing back pain relief is never a walk in the park. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. It can keep you frozen. In one position. On the couch. Inside. Desperately trying not to move a muscle lest you poke and prod the back pain beast.

That’s why getting some back pain relief can feel so urgent. We’re here to help. Whether it’s medication, pain management techniques or home remedies, we’ve gathered all you need to... know about back pain treatments.

Back pain, particularly lower back pain, is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.1 At one time or another in their lifetime, most people will experience back pain. In fact, 92% of people will have back pain at some point.2

Some common causes of back pain include:

  • Strained, pulled, or torn muscles
  • Trauma after injury, like a fall

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A man lifting a child in the air without back pain

Back pain treatment

Back pain treatments can take many forms, depending on the type and severity of the back pain you experience. Some treatments to consider are:

  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • At home treatments, like exercising, massage, heat patches, and ice packs
  • Surgery

Medications for back pain

Depending on the type of back pain you have and how mild or severe it is, you may want to consider taking medication. All these work as lower back pain treatments and upper back pain treatments alike. In severe and/or long-lasting cases, your doctor may prescribe you a prescription medication. However, in other cases, over-the-counter medications may do the trick. (Note: Voltaren is used for the relief of pain associated with recent (acute), localized muscle or joint injuries such as sprains, strains or sports injuries (e.g., sprain of ankle, strain of shoulder or back muscles). This is typically as an adjunct to other measures, such as rest, for the relief of discomfort associated with such injuries.)

Topical pain relievers

Guidelines now reccomend topical diclofenac as a first line of therapy to relieve pain. Over-the-counter Voltaren Emulgel Back & Muscle Pain can be applied to your skin over the affected area. It contains diclofenac, an effective NSAID, which is absorbed into the skin. Like some pills, Voltaren is an effective anti-inflammatory that treats pain at its source.

Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen

Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen are often used for back pain relief. They are many people’s first go-to because they are often readily available on-hand at home. Like oral pain relievers, Voltaren relieves pain and provides ...local relief at the site of muscle and joint pain.

Muscle relaxants

In some cases of mild to moderate back pain, over-the-counter muscle relaxants are available and as their name implies, they relax your muscles to relieve pain.

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Back pain treatment at home

In many cases, acute back pain treatment can take place at home, without consulting a doctor.

  1. Rest
    Sometimes, all your sore back needs, is some good rest to heal. Lifting heavy objects and sports injuries are likely culprits when it comes to back pain. Resting and refraining from these activities can give your back much-needed recovery time. So, kick back. And do…nothing!
  2. Stretch it out
    Stretches are great for both relieving and preventing back pain caused by muscle strains.3 Added bonus: you can even do them while sitting at your desk or watching tv. Some stretches are targeted for lower back treatment. Others are targeted for upper back pain treatment. Regular stretching routines, like yoga, can be helpful in preventing back pain, as well as treating it. Put together a stretching regimen that works for you and your pain.
  3. Keep it cold
    Applying ice to your sore back can help reduce inflammation. Be sure to wrap your ice pack (or bag of frozen veggies – that works too!) in a thin towel before applying it to your skin.
  4. Mind your posture
    Bad posture is a big contributor to back pain4 – whether it’s slouching in a chair at dinner or rounding your shoulders to see a phone/computer/tablet screen. Check in with yourself periodically throughout the day to make sure your hips are aligned under your shoulders and that your shoulders are properly rolled back.
  5. Wear good shoes
    Wearing supportive footwear provides a good base for carrying around your body weight and maintaining healthy posture. If you experience back pain, it’s advised to keep your heels to under 2.5 centimeters.
  6. Keep it warm
    Heat can help muscles relax, reducing back pain. Whether you use a hot water bottle at home or go the indulgent route and sit in a hot tub, relaxing your back muscles can help healing.
  7. Exercise
    Being inactive can make back pain worse. Light exercise increases blood flow to the injured area, helping support healing. When your pain subsides and you feel you can, get in some light exercise. Go for walk. Swim a few lengths in a pool. Do some yoga. Anything low impact should do the trick. Just remember to go at your own pace and listen to your body. If you feel intense or shooting pain at any time, dial it back.
  8. Massage
    Therapeutic massage can help with back pain relief. Massaging the affected area of your back can relieve pain and restore functionality.

If you are struggling to cope with and manage your back pain, or if it is long lasting, then you should visit your doctor. Your doctor will examine your back and ask you questions about when you started to feel back pain, where the pain is, if it feels better or worse at certain times and whether you have had it before. Together you will put together a back pain treatment plan.

Your doctor may refer you for further tests to determine the cause of your back pain. Your doctor might also share advice on how to relieve your back pain and may recommend pain relievers, the use of heat or ice, and light exercise such as walking.

Voltaren products for back pain relief

If you have back pain, Voltaren may be just the relief you’re looking for. Voltaren has several products suitable for relieving back pain from strains or sports injuries – read the labels on the products and talk to your pharmacist to find the right one for you.

Voltaren products for back pain relief include:

Voltaren Emulgel Back & Muscle Pain with a No Mess Applicator


Voltaren Emulgel Back & Muscle Pain with a No Mess applicator delivers pain relief with the additional benefit of a No Mess Applicator. This applicator allows easy, clean application of the gel directly on the painful area.

Voltaren Emulgel Extra Strength


Voltaren Emulgel Extra strength allows you to go 12 hours between applications. It penetrates deep to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Voltaren Emulgel Back & Muscle Pain


Voltaren Emulgel Back & Muscle Pain relieves pain and reduces inflammation. It brings local relief for pain and swelling (inflammation) in the back & muscle.

How does Voltaren work to relieve back pain?

Voltaren gels are clinically proven to beat pain. They contain an NSAID, diclofenac, and you can buy them over the counter from your pharmacist.

Diclofenac diethylamine works to inhibit prostaglandin production in the body that cause pain and inflammation. By reducing their effects, diclofenac diethylamine helps to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

The gel is applied to skin over the injured area. Diclofenac accumulates in the skin which acts as reservoir. The Voltaren Emulgel Joint Pain Regular Strength and Voltaren Emulgel Joint Pain Extra Strength penetrates deeply into the skin to enhance delivery. of the active ingredient, diclofenac, to the joint or inflamed area.

The Emulgel technology is a combination of a gel and cream providing a cooling effect when applied to the skin. If you massage the Emulgel into your skin when you are rubbing it in, this motion can provide additional soothing benefits to the painful/inflamed area.

Using Voltaren gels

Using Voltaren gels for back pain couldn’t be simpler. Here’s how to use Voltaren Emulgel Back & Muscle Pain with a No Mess Applicator:

  1. Open your tube of Voltaren gel.
  2. The first time you use the tube you’ll have to break the tamper-evidence seal. To remove the seal before first use, remove the transparent protective cover and then unscrew the applicator. Use the star-shape groove located at the side of the applicator to remove the tamper evidence seal of the tube. Screw the applicator back on the tube before dispensing the gel.
    To open, simply pull up the white part of the applicator and squeeze the gel through onto the applicator pad to apply.

  3. Squeeze out a small amount (consult the table below for further dosing information)
  4. Gently rub into the skin above where you are experiencing pain.
  5. Apply Voltaren gel as often as the label says.
  6. Regain your joy of movement. Feel better.

How to use

Voltaren Emulgel Extra Strength

For adults between 18 to 65 years:
Apply gel 2 times a day. The amount of gel applied (2 g for each application) should be measured using the dosing card supplied in the product carton. For each application the gel should be squeezed from the tube and measured up to the 2 g line on the dosing card. Do not use more than 4 g per day.

Voltaren Emulgel Back & Muscle Pain

For individuals 16+:
Apply gel 3 to 4 times a day on the affected area. The amount needed will vary depending upon the size of the painful or swollen area: 2 g to 4 g (1 g equals a strip approximately 2 cm long) gel will be sufficient to cover a 400 to 800 cm2 area. Do not use more than 4 times in 24 hours.

Use for up to 7 days for the relief of pain associated with recent (acute), localized muscle or joint injuries such as sprains, strains or sports injuries (e.g., ankle sprain, shoulder strain or back muscle pain). This is typically in addition to other measures, such as rest, for the relief of discomfort associated with such injuries.

As soon as your pain subsides, stop using Voltaren gels for back pain. If your pain and swelling (inflammation) do not improve within 7 days, or if it gets worse, please consult your doctor.

Do not apply to skin with conditions such as cuts, open wounds, or on skin that has a rash or eczema. Discontinue the treatment if a skin rash develops after applying the product.

A brace or non-sealed, breathable wrap or sports bandage commonly used for injuries like sprains can be used together with Voltaren, but do not apply Voltaren gel under occlusive (i.e., plastic, airtight, or watertight) dressings.

For further details regarding precautions to take when using Voltaren, please read the FAQs below, and refer to the product label and leaflet, and if in doubt consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How much Voltaren to apply to relieve back pain

The amount needed will vary depending upon the size of the painful or swollen area, and whether or not you are using a regular strength or extra strength product. Please see the section above on how much to apply.

When you start feeling relief from back pain, you will be well on your way to experiencing the joy of picking up your favourite toddler for a hug, saying yes to tearing up a dance floor with much-missed friends, or even just sitting in your favourite chair putting a puzzle together. You will be on the path to regaining your joy of movement.

A woman sitting on bedroom floor and stretching her leg

Exercise and your body.

Learn more about the benefits of exercise and how staying fit can help you to stay healthy and relieve pain.


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Explore Voltaren’s products for pain relief

Voltaren Emulgel Joint Pain Extra Strength


Voltaren Joint Pain Extra Strength is specially developed with an easy open cap which flips open with the use of a thumb or finger. And you can go 12 hours between treatments/applications.

Voltaren Emulgel Joint Pain Regular Strength


Voltaren Emulgel Joint Pain Regular Strength is specially developed with an easy open cap which only takes a light grip and a single twist to open.

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Health, wellness & your pain

Pain is rarely just physical nor is it always solved by taking medicine alone. Voltaren is your ally in helping you take more control of your pain journey, from the way to sleep, to what you eat, mental wellbeing and complementary pain relief therapies.