Alternatives to chronic back pain surgery

(CNN) -- Back pain is categorized as chronic when it lasts three months or longer. While surgery may be necessary in some cases, doctors at Johns Hopkins say there are alternatives.

Physical therapy can help with back pain. Patients learn better posture gain flexibility and core strength-all of which helps their condition improve.

Yoga and meditation can help fight the emotional turmoil that comes from coping with chronic back pain. Mindfulness exercises can train your mind to not focus on the physical discomfort.

Changes in your diet and other lifestyle modifications may also help relieve back pain.

Other non-surgical options include massage and acupuncture. Nerve ablation where nerves are destroyed to ease pain and anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants might help.

Also, give up the smokes. Johns Hopkins says nicotine has been known to make pain worse and slow down the healing process.

These tips may help you avoid surgery and the long recovery process. Remember to discuss any course of action with your doctor.