Back Pain is a Common Health Problem

Written by eHealth Navigator

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives. Back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain. Acute back pain comes on suddenly and usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Back pain is called chronic if it lasts for more than three months.  Back pain accounts for 10% of visits to primary care physicians and about $86 billion a year in healthcare spending.

Most back pain goes away on its own, though it may take awhile. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, heating, icing, and resting can help. However, staying in bed for more than 1 or 2 days can make it worse.

If your back pain is severe or doesn't improve after three days, you should call your health care provider.  However, be aware many patients are getting overly aggressive treatments for their back pain according to a study published July 29, 2013 in JAMA Internal Medicine says.  Physicians today increasingly are giving patients with back pain narcotic drugs, ordering expensive imaging tests or referring them to other physicians rather than offering them the recommended first line of treatment.

What are common back pain causes:
1.  Herniated disc
2.  Muscle strain
3.  Ligament strain
4.  Arthritis
5.  Osteoporosis

How can you manage back pain:
1.  Rest for 24 to 48 hours
2.  Use heat or ice on back muscles
3.  Avoid being in the sitting position
4.  Take an anti-inflammatory

What are back pain warning signs of a serious medical issue:
1.  Weakness of the legs
2.  Incontinence
3.  Fever, chills, or sweats

What are common back pain psychological risk factors:
1.  Stress
2.  Anxiety
3.  Depression

You should seek medical attention if you experience back pain following an injury.

Last Updated on Sunday, 2 November 2014 11:01PM