The phrase Alternative Medicine refers to a range of treatments that are not typically classified as part of traditional "Western medicine".

For treatment of back pain, chiropractic treatment is probably the most common form of alternative treatment. Alternative medicine may also include such treatments herbal medicine, biofeedback, homeopathy, and acupuncture, all of which are not classified as standard practices in the Western medical system. Alternative medicine, also known as complementary medicine or integrative medicine, also may refer to any medical treatment without the use of drugs.

The philosophy of alternative medicine usually emphasizes the promotion of wellness, healing and prevention through self-awareness of the mind and body, as well as exercise, nutrition, and other forms of self-care.

Often, alternative medicine practitioners will work together with medical practitioners. For example, chiropractors and medical spine specialists often refer patients to each other and/or work together in the same clinic.