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The secret to treat and prevent back pain

Posted at 12:20 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 12:20:12-04

The remedy for back pain used to be rest, rest, and more rest, but new guidelines say the key to beating back the pain is staying active.

Christopher Eyke, an orthopedic surgeon with Orthopedic Associates of Muskegon and member of the Mercy Health Orthopedic Team says that by staying active, you can both prevent and treat back pain.

Most people, four out of five patients, experience some kind of back pain in their lifetime. Causes of pain can be something very minor from leaning over to pick something up, to a traumatic motorcycle accident.

Symptoms of back pain don't always show up right away, sometimes symptoms show up six to 12 weeks after an accident. Symptoms of back pain can be anything from a dull ache, to a shooting pain.

The process of an evaluation for people with back pain usually starts with a visit to the doctor's office. They'll get your medical history and a physical examination, then based on their findings they'll treat the pain with physical therapy, pain medications, spinal injections, or in rare cases surgery. However, according to Eyke, about 90 percent of people will have resolved their symptoms without receiving any treatment.

Generally, doctors limit resting to just a few days, but after that they encourage people with back pain to be active and as healthy as possible. Eyke says laying in bed isn't good for the body because it causes stiffness and soreness, which doesn't show improvement when treating back pain.

Eyke has a simple rule to follow to help ease back pain: if it's good for you it's good for your back, and if it's bad for you it's bad for your back. So things like staying a healthy weight and exercise are good for your back, but smoking nicotine is bad for your back.

If there's still pain after six weeks, call your doctor and schedule an appointment to check for any medical issues. For more information, visit mercyhealthorthopedics.org.