Q&A: Back pain

Chronic Conditions | August 10, 2017
I have been struggling with back pain for weeks. What should I do?

Pain is the body’s way of alerting you that something is wrong. Backache is one of the most common complaints doctors hear. Luckily, many cases of back pain are due to muscle strain that, with treatment, can resolve in just a few weeks. Other causes of back pain can be more serious. A herniated disk, an injured vertebra, a slipped disk, or arthritis can cause back pain that requires more complex treatment.

Here are some ways to help alleviate back pain:

  • Keep moving. Light activity, like walking, is often the best medicine for back pain.
  • Maintain good posture. You can greatly increase the pressure on your back by simply leaning over the sink incorrectly.
  • Use relaxation techniques. Research shows that practices such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can do wonders.
  • Apply ice and heat. Cold packs and heating packs can comfort the strained area. 

There is no magic pill for chronic back pain. Some people need core strengthening while others may need stretching and other exercises to improve flexibility. Still others might require surgery or more advanced care. A medical provider can help you determine what is best for you.