DO YOU HAVE BACK PAIN?

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"Oh, my aching back!" Even if you've never said it, odds are you have heard it and you will eventually say it. Back pain is one of the most common painful conditions men and women face. When it occurs, you want relief. You want the aches to stop and your life to start again.

The good news is that thanks to pioneering advances, treatment for low back pain has undergone changes — changes that get people back on their feet sooner and that help prevent back pain from returning.

As treatment options expand, though, it's important to choose the therapy that's appropriate for your specific problem. If the treatment doesn't fit the injury, recovery can falter or fail.

With back pain, the advice to "keep calm and carry on" is almost always wise. Take time to assess your options. But that doesn't mean doing nothing. There's much you can do to ease the aches and speed healing from the start. The report will inform you about your choices in pain relievers, advise you on seeking professional advice, and explore which treatments offer the greatest help for sprains and strains, for disk disease, spinal stenosis, fractures, and other less common back problems.

www.health.harvard.edu