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Back pain plagues most people at some point in their lives. Learn to pinpoint the causes and how to best treat the pain.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 75%-85% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Of course, knowing you are not alone with your aching back doesn’t make it any easier.
Pinpointing the cause of your back and spine problem is the first step, followed by knowing how to treat the pain and prevent further injuries.
Back pain can be the result of problems with the structure of your spine (including vertebrae and disks) or problems with your muscles, ligaments or nerves.
Back pain can stem from:
Additional risk factors include age, excess weight, having a family history of back pain and sitting for long periods.
Most back pain will get better in a few weeks. If yours doesn’t improve in that time, or if the pain is the result of a serious accident or injury, see your health care provider.
If the back pain is minor, home treatment will often suffice. You might try:
If the back pain is serious, your health care provider might recommend:
Additional approaches to pain relief include massage, acupuncture and relaxation techniques.
In a small number of cases, surgery may be required. It is considered a last resort treatment.
Visit your health care provider for a thorough exam and treatment plan.
Half of the people who experience back pain will have more than one episode within a year, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
Follow these tips to prevent back pain from recurring or happening in the first place: