We’ve all heard or exclaimed, “Oh, my aching back!” But how much do we know about low back pain? Take this quiz to find out.
True or False:
1. Many people experience low back pain.
True. Back pain affects eight out of ten people at some point during their lives, according to the American Pain Foundation.
2. Low back pain can take you out of commission.
True. Low back pain is one of the most common reasons that people miss work, and the pain can be debilitating.
3. Low back pain requires surgery.
False. Low back pain almost always gets better without surgery.
4. It never goes away and you must see a doctor.
False. Acute low back pain may persist anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. In the words of Marin Grabois, MD, professor of anesthesiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, “We’ve lifted something heavy the wrong way, we’ve bent the wrong way, or maybe we’ve been hit in the back, 90 to 95 percent or more of those incidents resolve. The patient doesn’t see a doctor.”
5. It’s usually muscle strain.
True. Low back pain is most often caused by strained muscles or tendons or sprained ligaments, many times related to an accident or sports injury.
6. There are no treatments for back pain.
False. The four treatment categories for low back pain are 1) medication 2) various types of non-invasive therapy, like physical therapy 3) interventional procedures including injections that are used to relieve inflammation or determine the source of the pain and if these procedures don’t help 4) surgical options may be discussed.
False. Staying active, exercising regularly, not smoking, not lifting anything too heave, wearing comfortable shoes with good arch support, maintaining a healthy weight and having good posture may prevent back pain.
To learn more, you can read a transcript of the PainPathways Facebook chat with Dr. Paul Christo, Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins Medicine in the Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology. Dr. Christo hosts “Aches and Gains” with Dr. Paul Christo, the first national talk show on overcoming pain that airs weekly on SIRIUS XM Radio-Family Talk 131. You can listen to his podcasts on his website. Here’s one on low back pain: