How Do Most People Manage Their Back Pain?

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: May 6, 2019


As we’ve talked about on the blog in the past, back pain is one of the most common conditions that people deal with on a regular basis. Since it is such a common condition, it stands to reason that millions of people are seeking treatment for their spine pain. But how are most people trying to treat their back discomfort, and how should the be treating it? We answer those questions and more below.

How Do People Treat Their Back Pain?

So how are most people trying to treat their back pain, and are they really pursuing the best options? According to a recent survey of more than 2,000 Americans, here’s how back pain sufferers care for their spine pain:

  • 60 percent use over-the-counter pain medications.
  • 56 percent contact their primary care physician or a spine specialist.
  • 54 percent head to the Internet for answers.
  • 45 percent end up getting a prescription for pain medications.
  • 40 percent turn to alternative therapies, like yoga, massage therapy or inversion therapy.
  • 38 percent tried physical therapy.
  • 24 percent tried chiropractic care.
  • 17 percent tried acupuncture.
  • 11 percent tried surgery for their spine pain.

Exploring The Findings

Let’s take a closer look at the good and the bad when looking at these findings.

  • The Good – The good news is that 56 percent of Americans are turning to a physician for assistance managing their condition. An internet search can sometimes be helpful, but it does not compared to an in-person, individualized diagnosis of your specific condition. This helps to ensure you are treating the true cause of your pain and not just a symptom. It’s also good that more than one in three individuals with back pain are pursuing physical therapy. While it won’t address every back condition, the vast majority will benefit from a regular strength training and physical therapy routines. It’s also interesting to note that about one in 10 underwent surgery. Surgery often yields great results, but rarely is it a first option, so it would be worthwhile to know how many people who chose surgery tried some other conservative methods first.
  • The Bad – Two findings that are a little eye opening are the fact that more than half of people turned to OTC painkillers and the internet for answers. These can both be helpful options, but they should not be your only treatment methods. Passive treatment and crowdsourced information is unlikely to yield the best results, and while they can be helpful for minor back pains, you may want more active treatment and a professional opinion for more serious pain. It’s also a little concerning to see that more people received opioids than those who pursued physical therapy, yoga or other active treatment solutions, but we also don’t have the full picture of everyone’s condition. We obviously prefer active over passive treatment options, but patients need to be evaluated on an individualized basis.

So if you’re looking for answers to your back pain, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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