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Back Pain Information

  • Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. In fact, about 3 in 4 adults will experience back pain during their lifetime! The term back pain includes pain affecting the neck, midback and low back. There are many conditions that can cause back pain, such as sprains and strains, arthritis (osteoarthritis), disc disorders, and spinal stenosis...
  • Back pain usually is described as either acute or chronic. Acute back pain may begin suddenly with intense pain but typically lasts fewer than three months. Usually, chronic back pain is persistent, steady, and ongoing--sometimes lasting several years. Pain may spread into other parts of the body such as an arm or leg, and may cause muscle spasms, numbness, tingling, and weakness.

    Some back pain can be "self-treated". For example, by applying hot or cold packs, using over-the-counter medications, and even by improving posture. However, a physician should be consulted if pain persists, gets worse, or if arm or leg numbness or weakness, or loss of bowel or bladder control is noticed.

    Most back pain is treated non-operatively; often by physical therapists or chiropractors. Patients are usually pain-free within a few weeks. If back pain is disabling or more serious symptoms are present, surgery may be considered. Remarkably, much spine surgery is done through very small incisions, with patients going home the same day or within 48 hours of surgery.

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