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Oh, My Aching Back!

If you have lower back pain, you are not alone. About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days. In a large survey, more than a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past three months.

Men and women are equally affected by low back pain, which can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person incapacitated. Pain can begin abruptly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time due to age-related changes of the spine. Sedentary lifestyles also can set the stage for low back pain, especially when a weekday routine of getting too little exercise is punctuated by strenuous weekend workout.

Most low back pain is mechanical in nature. In many cases, it is associated with spondylosis, the age-related wear and tear disease that occurs in the joints, discs and bones of the spine.

Treatment for low back pain generally depends on whether the pain is acute or chronic. Conservative (nonsurgical) treatment can include hot and cold packs, over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medicines, strengthening exercises and physical therapy. Other therapies include spinal manipulation and mobilization, traction, acupuncture, chiropractic, biofeedback, nerve block therapies, steroid injections, and TENS. Surgery is an option when other options fail.

If you have questions or concerns about your symptoms now, see a Mercyhealth health care provider at Virtual Visit Now.

Mercyhealth Virtual Visit Now gives you remote access to the best of health care from your phone, tablet or computer. Our Virtual Visit Now team can help you feel better from the comfort of your own home. After assessing your symptoms, they’ll recommend treatments that can include simple comfort measures, prescription medicine or an office visit.

Virtual Visit Now is not available for emergency care. If you need emergency care, please call 911.

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