Back pain

Back pain

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Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Most people have back pain at least once.

Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent or relieve most back pain episodes. If prevention fails, simple home treatment and proper body mechanics often will heal your back within a few weeks and keep it functional. Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain.

Signs and symptoms of back pain can include:

Most back pain gradually improves with home treatment and self-care, usually within a few weeks. If yours doesn’t improve in that time, see your doctor.

In rare cases, back pain can signal a serious medical problem. Seek immediate care if your back pain:

Contact a doctor if your back pain:

Also, see your doctor if you start having back pain for the first time after age 50, or if you have a history of cancer, osteoporosis, steroid use, or excessive drug or alcohol use.

Back pain that comes on suddenly and lasts no more than six weeks (acute) can be caused by a fall or heavy lifting. Back pain that lasts more than three months (chronic) is less common than acute pain.

Back pain often develops without a cause that your doctor can identify with a test or an imaging study. Conditions commonly linked to back pain include:

Anyone can develop back pain, even children and teens. These factors might put you at greater risk of developing back pain:

You might avoid back pain or prevent its recurrence by improving your physical condition and learning and practicing proper body mechanics.

To keep your back healthy and strong:

Avoid movements that twist or strain your back. Use your body properly:

Because back pain is so common, numerous products promise prevention or relief. But there’s no definitive evidence that special shoes, shoe inserts, back supports, specially designed furniture or stress management programs can help.

In addition, there doesn’t appear to be one type of mattress that’s best for people with back pain. It’s probably a matter of what feels most comfortable to you.

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Back pain

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