More upstate New Yorkers with back pain are undergoing surgery and taking prescription medication such as opiate painkillers even though noninvasive treatments, such as simple exercises and over-the-counter drugs usually work.
In their lifetimes, more than 80 percent of upstate New York adults will experience low back pain, nearly two-thirds will experience neck pain, and some will endure chronic suffering. Surgeries for the treatment of back pain among upstate New York adults saw a 10 percent rise in utilization from 2010 to 2013.
If you have proper posture, chances are you’ll have a healthy back.
According to Choosing Wisely, an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation related to spine pain, most people with lower-back pain feel better in about a month, whether or not they have an imaging test. People who get an imaging test for their back pain do not get better faster. Sometimes they even feel worse than people who took over-the-counter pain medicine and followed simple steps, like walking, to help their pain.
But when back pain does come on, it can affect more than just your back. Seven in ten low back pain sufferers said it affects their daily lives. While many back pain cases don’t require an ER visit, an MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or surgery, you should see a doctor ASAP if your back pain includes:
Recommendations from Choosing Wisely include:
If you have low back pain, doctors advise staying active, limiting bed rest, using pillows between or beneath the knees when you sleep, applying heat for pain management, taking over-the-counter medications when needed, consulting your primary care provider or alternative non-surgical treatments provider (such as physical therapy and chiropractic care) if needed and remaining relaxed to avoid worsening pain.
Back pain is not a disease in search of a cure. It’s a part of life that needs to be managed.
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