Ever since homo sapiens started walking upright, we humans have had back pain. It accounts for 10 percent of all visits to primary-care doctors.
Fortunately, for around 85 percent of you, its a temporary discomfort, and simple steps can get you up and moving comfortably again.
The current clinical guidelines for treating average back pain say you should stick with physical therapy and/or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen and the pain reliever acetaminophen. (Remember: Take them with lots of warm water!)
Most folks can banish their discomfort within three months by using these two simple tools. But if you or your doctor push to do more and get faster results, you can end up on a merry-go-round of unneeded scans and drugs. This isnt any good for you, and it drives up the cost of health care.
Now, we dont want to see anyone with serious back issues denied the advantages of advanced medical screening, testing and treatments, but usually, you and your doctor should first see if you can ease your pain with OTC medications, heat and/or ice, and physical therapy.
In addition, if your back pain is related to chronic stress, try meditation twice a day for 10 minutes (instructions are at sharecare.com).
Extra weight also can cause back pain. We suggest you eliminate the Five Food Felons (no added sugar or sugar syrups, no saturated or trans fat and no grain that isnt 100 percent whole) and exercise daily (strive for 10,000 steps a day). Then youll be able to see how much better you feel as you lose weight.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of The Dr. Oz Show, and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.