Back pain is a thief. It can rob you of a good night's sleep, an honest day's work or the ability to give a child a piggyback ride.

An estimated 50 percent to 80 percent of American adults will have back pain at some point. For some, it will set up shop slowly. For others, it will come on suddenly and with great force.

Back pain can be crafty, using many circumstances to get into your life – a traumatic accident, a simple sprain or strain, fibromyalgia, arthritis of the spine, a fractured vertebra or ruptured disc.

Fortunately, no matter the cause, you can find back pain relief and, in many cases, keep back pain from returning.

Sometimes, fighting back pain requires quick and aggressive action. If you have an infection, tumor of the spine or a condition called cauda equina syndrome (in which the nerve roots that supply the bladder and bowel are compressed) you may need surgery right away. But in most cases, you have time to try several options.

"About half the time, back pain gets better within two weeks," says David Borenstein, MD, clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. "About 80 percent of the time it improves within two months."

Whether you've been in pain just a few days or beyond the two-month point, the following suggestions may help you ease your pain. Try a few of these 15 options to get back at back pain. As the old saying goes, "Living well is the best revenge."

Use heat. For some people, nothing soothes a sore back like heat. In a recent study published in the journal Spine, researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – New Jersey Medical Center (UMDNJ-NJMC) discovered that the continuous (eight hours daily) application of low-level heat (104 degrees F) eased acute back pain better than either of two commonly used drugs, ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

Heat may be dry or moist. Dry heat sources include heat lamps, heating pads or "wearable" disposable heat packs such as ThermaCare wraps or Grabber MyCoal. Moist heat sources include warm baths and washcloths soaked in warm water. See which works best for you.

Soaking in a warm tub can be a good way to apply heat to all parts of the body at once -especially if you ache all over with fibromyalgia or if you have arthritis in several joints as well.

If you find that pain and stiffness are worst in the morning, try warm-water therapy when you wake up. If pain increases through the day, a warm soak before bedtime might make it easier to get to sleep. Some people, including those in the UMDMJ-NJMC study, find that continuous heat administered by a wearable heat pack eases pain and stiffness all day.