Most Will Experience Back Pain, but What Can be Done

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Whether working in the garden or shoveling snow, back pain can happen at any time of the year.  It is important to know what to do and what to expect.  For many people back pain is a constant thing, there is help for those individuals as well. 

Most low back pain is acute, or short term, and lasts a few days to a few weeks. It tends to resolve on its own with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. The majority of acute low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back (the spine, muscle, intervertebral discs, and nerves) fit together and move.

A recent poll found 40 percent of Utahns had no idea where to go when their back isn't feeling well, and bed rest is often a bad idea. Doing nothing sometimes does not help, laying in bed is sometimes the worst thing you can do for a back problem.

What to do when you experience a back injury?

Get in to see your doctor or physical therapist soon after the injury. Treatment started quickly after the injury has a better chance for quicker results. Most of the time bed rest is one of the worst things you can do after a back injury and leads to longer more severe pain. 

What causes of back pain?

There are many causes of back injury however it is very common to occur when lifting something with poor body mechanics. There is usually a combination of factors related to flexibility, core strength, and general posture. People who get back pain vary from elite athletes with high demands on their back, to sedentary individuals who lack the strength and posture to properly support their spine. 

Do most people need an MRI for their back pain?

Your doctor can determine the need for an MRI however, an MRI is not necessary for the vast majority of people suffering from back pain. Imaging often does not show the cause of back pain and treatment is typically best determined by a physical exam.   

What can be expected when someone is treated for back pain?

Therapists will identify motion restrictions as well as areas of weakness in supporting muscles. Treatment often consists of the therapists proving techniques to restore joint mobility as well as specific exercises targeted at the core muscles.  Early restoration of joint mobility has been shown to yield very positive improvements. Posture and proper instruction in lifting mechanics is very important as well.  For a sudden bout of low back pain resolution can often be expected between 4-6 weeks

What can People do to prevent back pain?

Weight management and keeping a good fitness level is important. Maintaining proper lifting techniques and avoiding repetitive bending and lifting through the back is also important.  Back braces should never be worn long term as they create dependency and weaken the muscles making it more likely to have a more serious injury.  

TOSH Back and Neck Center in Murray can help. It's kind of an InstaCare for back and neck pain patient. The center tries to see most patients within one to two days. The idea is to get people in immediately, diagnose their pain and get them the help they need in less time.

Staffed by a nurse practitioner, a physical therapist and an educational psychologist, the TOSH Back & Neck Center uses a multi-faceted approach to evaluate and treat patients. Rapid, triage-style assessments help determine the source of pain, and patients can then immediately transition to the appropriate spine care specialist who establishes a plan for pain management through medication, physical therapy and education. Because the center is located within TOSH, patients are able to obtain same-day or next-day access to the facility's state-of-the-art diagnostic services, including X-ray, MRI and CT scanners.