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Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common medical complaints. It can affect anyone. Although it is common, there are many myths about the causes and treatment of back pain. Here's information to help you know what to expect with your back pain care.

Myth: Most back pain is caused by injury or heavy lifting.

Fact: People who have jobs where they sit all day are just as likely to have back pain as those who do very physical jobs.

Myth: Back pain is usually disabling.

Fact: Back pain can be intense, but it is rarely serious or disabling. In fact, 7 out of 10 people typically get better in 2 weeks. Nine out of 10 typically get better in 4 to 6 weeks with or without treatment.

Myth: Rest – and not working – is the best medicine for back pain.

Fact: Early movement and return to all your usual activities, including work, usually helps speed up healing. It also helps prevent deconditioning (loss of strength).

Myth: Slipped disks require surgery to repair.

Fact: Surgery is rarely needed to repair even herniated disks. Most get better on their own or with spine therapy.

Myth: You need narcotics for back pain.

Fact: Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medicines. Narcotics are rarely used and can actually make the pain worse. They also cause drowsiness and constipation and have a risk of addiction.

Myth: MRIs and CT scans can identify the source of pain.

Fact: There are many pain-producing tissues in the back, including muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints and disks. Most of the time we can't identify the exact cause of the pain. Even sophisticated tests like MRIs and CT scans aren't of much help. In fact, MRIs are often abnormal in people who don't have any back pain at all.

Learn more about back pain relief

HealthPartners Designated Medical Spine Centers and Specialists Network
Has your doctor recommended an evaluation with a Designated Medical Spine Specialist before a consultation with a spine surgeon? Find information here.
To learn more about low back pain, visit the Health Information Library.  
Best Choice Providers

Find a provider who has been recognized for quality care and service:

Behavioral Health Preferred Providers: Low Back Pain
Chiropractic - Update coming soon
CT and MRI
Injection Therapy
Pain Management
Physical Therapy (Acute)
Physical Therapy (Chronic)